Ministry Appreciation Month…Patching the Leaks

Ministry Appreciation Month…Patching the Leaks

Did you know that it’s Ministry Appreciation Month?  Over at (in)Courage, they’re celebrating with a blog carnival.  Pop on over there, read the prompt and join in the fun!  All of us have someone whose ministry has made a difference in our lives, someone whose faith and dedication has left an impression on us.  A pastor, a Youth Minister, a sister-in-Christ who has walked you through some tough times….Here’s a chance to tell the world about them!  Link up to the post at (in)Courage and then spend a little time reading the encouraging stories that others have posted.

When I sat down to write about someone who has ministered to me and made a difference in my life, one particular family popped into my mind immediately.  The Hahn family moved here to The City from Colorado to plant a church in this much-needed mission field.  They’d moved to Colorado, in fact, from the Midwest on another church plant years before.  When we were new at the church, the Hahns were there for us.  They were patient with us.  They opened their home to us in small groups, shared meals with us.  Over the years, the Hahns have become a second family to us and we’ve loved and appreciated their friendship more than words can express.  Linda is my sweet friend, mentor, and sister in Christ and I would love to do a whole post on her wisdom, patience, and strength.  I could write a second whole post on the five Hahn kids and how they are amazing examples of teens and young men and women who serve God.  But since Phil is the official Children’s Minister at our church, I’ll narrow it down to him.

Phil Hahn does a great job running the Children’s Ministry program at The Rock, and he is also is in charge of the physical aspects of our church buildings.  Let me tell you a little bit about  our church…we’re a church that’s made up of a body of believers first, and the building we meet in is…well….just a building.  In fact, up ’till recently, it was just a building with a roof that leaked like a sieve every time it rained or snowed!  For years, Phil spent countless hours on ladders, rigging up ingenious water systems above the acoustic tiles to channel the water into funnels, PVC pipes, and finally into sinks and buckets all around the church.  When it rained, water poured into the church and he worked nonstop to find and fix the leaks.  Rube Goldberg had nothing on Phil, if you removed the tiles that hung above the church  you’d find a tangle of pipe, plastic, duct tape, wire and creative odds and ends that kept the water from falling through…old mixing bowls, bits of tarp, yards of PVC.  Once after an election, recycled political signs were re-purposed into parts of this creative waterway. Often, he’d be attending a river pouring into the building in one area, when a whole new watercourse would break loose in another area.  Tiles soaked through, grew too heavy and finally fell to the floor in a disgusting, wet explosion of disintegrated pulp.  He’d simply finish the first leak and move on to the next, and the next, and the next.  Every time it rained or snowed, Phil would spend late nights up in the ceiling devising ways to route the water and clean up the mess, and early in the morning he could be found cleaning up the new leaks that had sprung the night before, shoring up his water-catching system many feet above, and then hiding it all with fresh tiles.

That’s the heart of a servant, friends.  All of Phil’s hard work was put into something that was outwardly invisible, a system that directed the water in a proper direction rather than a destructive one, a system that…for all the hours he spent on it…very few people ever saw or even knew about.  On Sunday morning, the worst of the leaks were fixed and people were able (by and large) to sit in church and concentrate on the sermon, not on the stream of water trickling down the back of their neck.  Phil’s lack of sleep, the sacrifice his family made in supporting him through the late nights and hours away from home, were hidden behind the hanging tiles.  Through it all, he continued to run the Children’s Ministry and find time to help people out, lead small groups, and do many other things to help build the church…both literally and figuratively.

A good minister is like that…channeling the rainwater away from people and the Living Water to people, serving invisibly,  working tirelessly.

Thanks, Hahns, for all your hard work!

Our church building now has a new roof, and I suspect that nobody appreciates that more than the Hahn family.  We are working on getting a new church building, which is greatly needed here in The City where there is truly a great need for Christian churches and where God is busy doing amazing things. We could use all the help we can get in raising the money for a new building [shameless plug for our Roots Campaign  ;o)] Here’s a video clip for you to enjoy…and you can meet Phil, who plays Eugene in this video (and a few others).  He’s the one with the moustache, bow tie, and suspenders.  (And no, he doesn’t usually dress like that!)

You’ll want to pause the music in the sidebar before you play this!

Roots: Growing Deep for Further Reach from The Rock Church on Vimeo.

Gratitude Journal….Beauty Voyeur

Gratitude Journal….Beauty Voyeur

The air is crisp and fresh, just a little too cold for these flip-flops and this baggy gray sweatshirt but it feels good, feels like a cool drink of water after a long, hot day.  I am in the yard, it is 7:15 and I have had a breakfast of today’s reading from the The One Year Bible: The entire English Standard Version arranged in 365 daily readings.  I have fed the animals, have done two loads of laundry.  Now, camera in hand, I am searching for bits of beauty to record, thankful blessings that represent what’s in my heart.  I try not to wonder what the neighbors will think, me out here again scouting for a picture to sum up a thousand words as they are standing at their kitchen windows, rinsing out a coffee mug, or getting into their cars and tuning their radio for the commute.  I am a crazy, beauty-seeking God-lover and this has blessed me, and I hope they ask one day what I’m doing out here…a beauty voyeur with a camera, snapping moments of grace and smiling away in the early morning light.  Today, as my fingers and toes grow cold in the almost-frost of this October morning, I find…

  400. Red roses blooming still
 401. The purple-blue that dots a carpet of green around the house
 402. Luminous yellow peering from behind the Weeping Mulberry
 403. Crimson stars…Oh, the brightness of that color!
 404. Just a touch of Sunrise Gold still hanging in the painted sky
 405. A rainbow of color in a single frame
406. Our doorbell, old-school verdigris against freshly yellow clapboard

 

 407. Oh, the new paint!  All but the rails and doors.
 410. The shiny-green shutters, and butter yellow

 

 411. The safe new coat this displaced-farmhouse wears, lead-free and winter ready

And more blessings counted….
412. The cottage, too, its pain nearly finished
413. Soup and Scripture, fellowship tonight
 414. That the garage is lead-free and requires nothing but a coat of paint
415. Family and Sunday Dinner
416. Dental insurance
417. Public Libraries
418. The smell of cinnamon 
419. The weather holding, still
420. New nickle knobs on kitchen cabinets

Join the beauty-voyeurs at….

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Stereoscopic Vision

Stereoscopic Vision

Youngest sits on her chair, perched dangerously near the edge.  She is swinging her feet under the chair, her ankles crossed, beaded flip-flops swaying back and forth, back and forth.  She is dressed in what she came downstairs in before we left, a pair of green camouflage capris, a pink fleece pullover with boldly colored flowers blooming all over it, a gray faux fur vest zipped up under her chin.  And the beaded flip-flops, swinging under her chair.  I had weighed my options, decided to let the outfit ride.  I noticed, as we ordered, that the fleece is inside out.

Our conversation goes as it usually does, ranging quickly from fairy tales to Indians to the merits of stereoscopic vision:  hunters and gatherers have eyes up front, runners wear them to the sides.  She sips a warm apple cider, tells a five minute joke with no punch line, smiles her brilliant smile that shows the new too-big teeth, the gaps between.  There has never been anyone so vivid, I think, as I watch her talk, watch her take it all in.  I am watching her loopy curls bounce, calculating the distance of her apple cider from the edge of the table, listening with one ear when I hear her say, “Jesus had two fathers, pretty much. We were talking about that in Sunday school.”  I nod, wondering where this is going.  “I thought you’d be interested in that, you know,” she continues.  “Since you have two mothers and all.  You know, kind of like Jesus.”

I don’t know where to go with that, what to say.  How do you explain these things, to someone whose reality is so different?  How do you explain the brokenness that is this world to someone who has seen so little of it?  Her world is mostly teddy-bear tea parties and dragonflies caught like iridescent jewels in the clear glass globe of a Mason jar.  I want her to hold on to that for as long as she can, to see the world through these simple eyes. I think of our earlier conversation, how she held one hand over her right eye, then her left.  Noted the difference, what you see with one eye covered.  I think of how it’s a balance of both that helps us see things right, stereoscopic.  I can see it one way, or the other, or with both sides.  I can show her to look at it that way, too.

“Jesus was lucky to have a dad like Joseph to take care of him, since he was God’s son and that wouldn’t have worked out so well here on Earth,”  I say.  She nods, curls bounce.  “And I was lucky that Granny and Pops got married, so that she could be my mom and your Granny.”  More bouncing  nods.  She is off again, the next subject on her mind is crowding out the last, impatient to be shared.

I close one eye, then the other.  Notice the shift, subtle but real.  See that it is both ways, really:  the struggle and the blessing, the brokenness and the healing.  I think of how perhaps this makes the difference, seeing forward, a blend of both…how this way you can be a hunter of blessings, a gather of grace.  How seeing one-sided makes you timid, afraid, waiting for disaster, always ready to run.

I hold the door for her, she walks out under my arm and into the drizzle of an October evening.  I think of how, so often, what you learn in the teaching is of greater value than what was taught.  Our conversation will flow past her, leaving her with some bits of information about eyes and how they work, with the vague memory of spiced cider and light rain.  I will take away from this a new appreciation for the gift of stereoscopic vision, for the way it can make you see things in a new light.

Filling the Emptiness

Filling the Emptiness

The heart’s an empty vessel, hollow walls that are open and wanting, waiting to be filled.  The condition of being human carries with it many symptoms, and this hole in the heart is one.  The feeling that you are the only one with this empty space inside, the assumption that everyone else has this space filled and this problem fixed is another.  We all are walking around, with outer husk preened and perfected, pretending to be whole, protecting the secret of the empty space inside.

Did God forget to fill it?  Why this open space, this secret longing that won’t be silenced?

We try to fill the void with what the world has to offer.  We search for the answers, we look to philosophy, we fill it with hours of experts talking on TV.  We take the empty space to the mall, let it window shop, fill it with the credit card.  We mistake its longing for boredom, and we try to fill the empty space with business.  We confuse the ache of openness for hunger, and we seek the cure in the refrigerator.   We think the hole is due to poverty and we try to fill with our bank account. We label the emptiness with a sickness and medicate it with alcohol, with drugs, with anti-depressants.  We assume the space is a need for self-actualization, we try to fill it with accomplishments, praise, perfection.  We fill it with sin, with secrets, with gossip.  We feel the guilt of this and try again to fill the hole with good works.  We fill it and fill it and fill it and wonder, daily, why it isn’t full.

C.S. Lewis said “Emptiness is at the center of my being” and I feel that, feel the pull and the draw and the vacuum that nature abhors.  Oh, it is our nature to hate the empty spaces and long for fullness.  But God is in the spaces in between, and the thing that makes music something more than noise is the places between the notes, the rests and pauses that bring order out of chaos.  This space is not an accident, this hole is not a defect.

The hole is God-shaped and God-given, the hole is meant to be God-filled and we can’t consume enough of anything else to dull the ache, to still the hunger.  The empty space in the human heart was created to hold the Creator and everything else is too small to fit, everything else is just more emptiness.

If the struggle has been long, if the path has been twisted, if the ache has broken you again and again, lay it down.  Each of us carries this with us always, this broken heart, this empty space.  Lay it down at the feet of the One who can fill it, the One who waits for you to ask for Him to fill you.  You don’t have to be good, you don’t have to have it figured out, you don’t have to know or understand anything more than this:  God fits in the God-shaped hole and everything else…sin or sanctuary, lust or control or wealth or religion…will fail you, will spill though and will not last and will leave you wanting. Fill it with the One Thing that can fit.

In, On, and Around…Ordinary

In, On, and Around…Ordinary

I am sitting here, in the dark, the computer screen throws out a strange kind of light and in this unnatural halo I huddle and type.  It is the quiet, in-between hour of the day, before the children wake and after I kiss my husband goodbye for the day, after I spend time in the pages of the Word and before breakfast, before they come downstairs with hair tangled and pajamas twisted, rubbing sleep from their eyes.  This quiet space is sacred, in an ordinary way.  A pause to let words flow, tumble, arrange and re-arrange.  The clock behind me measures out time, a sound like the echo of an old man with a cane walking down a tile corridor, the tap of the cane and the thump of the shoe.  Tick tock, tick tock.  

 Some days I use this time wisely, writing furiously.  Some days I put my slippers on and I photograph things in the yard, pajama bottoms peeking out and my huge gray hoodie zipped up under my chin.  Some days I waste time reading facebook, aimlessly skipping from blog to blog to blog, looking for what?  Some days the words that appear on the screen surprise me, sometimes I don’t know what I have to say until I see it there, black-on-white, cursor blinking back at me.

As I write I hear the traffic on the street outside pick up, I notice the sounds of neighbors starting their cars, doors slamming.  A dog is barking in the yard next door, begging his master back. I write as the sun starts to peek over the mountains to the East, and the window beside my desk starts to glow with the light of dawn, and the light seeps into the room and details start to emerge from the darkness.  I write and the coffee in my cup grows cold, I pick it up to take a sip and am surprised to find it’s gone. I write and hear the sound of small feet hit the floor above me, and the dog pricks up her ears because there is no earthly reason why a dog should leave the warm hollow of her bed until the children are awake, is there?

A friend told me yesterday that she admires the fact that I can write about the ordinary and make it seem like more, give it meaning.  I can do that sometimes, and I can live that sometimes, and I wish I lived that way always.  What we have is the ordinary, and what the ordinary is in truth is touched, blessed, gilded, gifted, breathtaking.  What it is, is Holy and why I write is to remember that.  Because I forget, all too often, and I don’t notice the quiet Voice whispering love into my ear all day long, don’t see the offered gifts of beauty being passed to me with tireless grace, one by one by one.

And now the first child is downstairs, and the dog has re-animated and is standing at the door waiting to go out, and enough morning has poured through the window that I can see the day’s work ahead of me, etched in a cold October light. I see the gift of a day before me, sacred and ordinary.

Writing from where I am, prompted by LL Barkat’s “In, On, and Around Monday” .

Gratitude Journal…the Blessing of Work

Gratitude Journal…the Blessing of Work

When work piles high, and everywhere you look there seems to be more to do, I remind myself to take a moment to see the day through grateful eyes.
Here, in The City, we are catching up with over-due maintenance on the Displaced Farmhouse.  There are piles of deadwood and tangles of rose thorns to be hauled away.  There are rain gutters, twisted into unusual shapes and lying in piles, waiting to be disposed of and replaced.  The big house has been painted (oh, Joy!) but the cottage is still not finished and we are scraping, scraping, painting fast to beat the weather.  And still there is school to be done, meals to be prepared, daily life to clean up after.  Oh, what a busy season this is and oh, in the thick of this I can sometimes feel like there will never be a break, never be a moment to rest.
But what can change my day, what can make these jobs joyful and this work meaningful is simple:  to count the work as a blessing, to see that we are lucky to have these chores to do, this house to clean, this mess to order.  We are blessed to have the food to prepare, the family to look after, the ability to do these tasks. I am blessed by this work, blessed in the doing of it and in the need for it and in the joy of its completion.
Counting these blessings today….

388. For fresh new paint
389. For working together
390. For the beautiful Fall weather
391. For the city’s Dumpster Day
392. For finding time to enjoy life’s little gifts
393. For friends who lend their help and their time
394. For the feeling of relief and satisfaction you have when you finish
395. For the beauty that surrounds, embraces, and sooths
396. For the smell of warm cinnamon
397. For simple changes that make a big difference
398. For the sound of crickets, winding down in the cool weather
399. For the smell of rain and the sky holding, just long enough

Count your blessings, too? Join the community at Ann Voskamp’s Holy Experience.

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What Would We Gain if We Lost It All?

What Would We Gain if We Lost It All?


The fire raged out of control, a single spark from machine gun fire ignited the grass range, gnawed through acres of dry brush, then built to a furious wall of ravenous, consuming flame. Phone calls came, reverse 911. Evacuate. Leave everything. Take your family to shelter.

What would you take? What would you lose? What would you gain, if you lost it all?

Our little displaced farmhouse is fine, sitting here on a city street with houses growing on the dirt that used to produce a softer, more palatable crop. But we have friends who left their houses, packed their cars and locked their doors and wondered if there would be anything to come back to. And, in this season of flame, many others have faced the same question. Could you walk away from it all? If faced with impinging disaster, what would you take with you?

This has had me thinking hard. How much of my time and energy is spent on all this…stuff? How much of my heart and effort do I pour into it? Keeping the house clean, fighting the entropy that creeps in around us….the squeaky door, the broken knobs on kitchen cabinets, the dust, the cobwebs, the mud on the carpet. Worrying about bills, pulling the weeds, making the ends meet. How many headaches have I faced because we have too much stuff? There’s no room to store this, the kids have too many toys, there are too many books to fit in the shelves. My husband works hard to pay the bills, so we can keep up with the mortgage, maintain the cars, fix the stuff that is broken, buy new stuff to keep up with our assumed “needs”.

What if it were all gone?

Jesus had a conversation with a rich young man, one who was concerned with earning eternal life. I find it interesting, first of all, that this young man’s first thought was earning, that his assumption was that eternal life was, like property, something he could secure by doing some sort of….”Good Thing.” Jesus smacked that assumption down. “There is only One who is good…” and He is a gift to accept, not a prize to earn. But what He asks from us costs more than anything the young man could have imagined. Leave everything. Sell it, give it to the poor. Follow me. And to those who had already done that, Jesus said: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

Ouch.

I’m not faced with losing everything, and for that I am (perhaps to my shame) very thankful. If I were, what would I take? Photos, the words on my hard drive, instruments, souvenirs from my children’s early days….not the most expensive or impressive items in the house, for certain. What really has me thinking is, what if? What if we were standing there, our small pile of “stuff” at our feet, looking at the ashes of everything else. How would that change us? What would we gain from having nothing?

Would we suddenly see things as they really are, without the clutter of all these things surrounding us? Would we realize that there really is nothing standing between us and a completely new, different life? Nothing stopping us from living life for what’s really important, from having our priorities honestly in line? Would we realize that there is no reason why we can’t leave it all, and head out in the direction that God wants us to go? That we can seek Him first much more easily if we are able to look past all the trappings of life and follow Him along the path that really counts?

Can you be truly Sold Out and still live in luxury?

It’s a hard question to face, isn’t it. How are we to live, now, so many years after that conversation between Jesus and the rich young man? And what if God is asking you to stay right here, to live right where you are and to do His work right where He has you. It’s easy to think of what leaving everything behind would look like if you were, say, called to do mission work in Africa. But what if you are being called to stay where you are?

Do you give up some comforts in order to give money to the poor? Do you make a commitment to give some of each paycheck to your church so that God’s cause can be furthered? Do you weed out the things that distract you from your calling? Downsize and economize and minimize? Train yourself to stop worrying about all the things and starting thinking about what really counts? Can you change your mindset completely, can you see the truth of poverty clearly, can you keep your focus on what really counts consistently despite all this wealth?

Can you give up the comfort of looking like everyone else, and stand out because of your beliefs?

I am pondering this. I am hoping that I don’t walk away from this question sad, like the rich young man, because of all my wealth.

I am hoping that I can keep in mind Heaven’s economy, where your wealth is measured not in what you have, but in what you have given.

Lord, help me understand how You want me to serve you, how to best use what blessings You’ve bestowed on me to Your purpose. Help me see the gain in loss, the richness in poverty, the glory in humbleness.

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Gratitude Journal…Backwards Blessings

Gratitude Journal…Backwards Blessings

Some days, things don’t look so beautiful. Some days, it’s hard to look around and see the blessings through the mess and the weeds. Sometimes you have to sift through and squint hard and do some re-arranging in your heart to find the place where a choice must be made, to see the positive side of things and count your blessings even when they come disguised as burdens.

Today, I am stealing a few quick moments to count the Backwards Blessings, the blessings that are carefully masquerading as irritating burdens that I’d just rather not deal with. I have a feeling that there are many of these hiding around my life, and I have a feeling it will be good for me to track them down and train myself to see them differently.


355. For the last of the crumbling deck rail
356. For the pile of tree trimmings and shrub-leavings
357. For the patience I am learning waiting for them to be out of the yard
358. For the fact that the city’s dumpster day happens to be next week, so it won’t be long now

359. For the full calendar and busy days
360. For the friends and fun that fill many of these squares
361. For the lessons on organizing my time that I still need to learn
362. For the fact that we are learning to work with it
363. For the many days we have the opportunity to serve You


364. For the dishes piled in the sink
365. Which provide a chance for reflection, hands in warm and soapy water
366. And which remind me that we have enough to eat
367. And we have friends to share a meal with
368. For the clutter of toys in the yard
369. Which means that children live here
370. And for the friends they have who come to share the fun

371. For the mess of peaches all over the yard
372. And the fact that we have these wonderful fruit trees
373. For the rows of happy yellow, captured in jars for the winter
374. And for the fact that this year, although it meant we didn’t pick them up right away, we were busy getting projects done

375. For the lead paint on the house
376. For the mess and tangle of equipment and supplies in the yard
377. For the grant program that is covering the restoration of the outside of the house, which we would not have been able to afford if the house had not been covered in lead paint
378. For the fact that soon, our house will be painted and will look fresh and new
379. For the fact that God provides, even when He does so in unusual ways that you don’t at first understand


380. For gluten intolerance
381. Which makes me aware of every bite I feed my family
382. And taught me to read labels and to make most of what we eat from scratch
383. And keeps me appreciating and considering what goes on our table

384. For the discomfort and expense of braces
385. That we are able to provide them for Middle Child
386. And that even though it is unpleasant now, it will bring a better smile in the future

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Pray Them Home!

Pray Them Home!

Remember this family? The family who was raising money to go to Ukraine and bring home their precious daughters, two beautiful orphans with Down Syndrome? An update is long overdue.

First of all, the baby’s little heart was operated on successfully at a hospital in Ukraine. Praise God! All the little bumps in the road leading up to the adoption have been smoothed, and these beautiful children are no longer orphans! As of September 8th, it’s official: Masha and Autumn (you knew them as Malory and Peach) have been adopted and will be coming home to America with their new family!

It has not been a quick process. They have been in Ukraine for over a month, away from their other three children. Now, just as everything is in line for them to (finally!) come home, baby Autumn has been hospitalized with a (hopefully mild) illness and they will have to wait until she is healthy again to come home.

God has moved mountains to get them this far! And I know He will bring them home soon. But it’s got to be tough for them right now…Let’s pray them the rest of the way home! Please pray that Autumn recovers quickly and completely, and that the rest of their journey to bring these precious babies home is totally uneventful.

And thank you, thank you for your prayers and help. Your prayers and donations have been a blessing and an important part of their story! Oh, what a joy to see….

Joyful laughter in her father’s arms


Peace and safety in her mother’s embrace.

And while we are at it…will you please join me in praying for the rest of the orphans? The ones who are not so lucky, whose time is running out. Please go and visit them at Reece’s Rainbow, look at their precious faces and pray that each one will find a loving family. These are God’s children, they are each as worthy of love and hope as your children or mine. Please pray that they will find life and love before it is too late.
Strength to Face the Day

Strength to Face the Day


The sun peers over the tops of mountains and stains the sky a blushing pink. I look out this picture window and watch the sky grow light, see the dark shapes there develop like a Polaroid picture as the sun rises, changes darkness to the familiar day-time shape of the front yard. Today is another full day, a day filled with more in it than I think I can accomplish and I look out the window, in part, because behind me there is a floor that needs vacuuming. a table littered with the remnants of a late-night date with some stubborn Algebra, the sticky remains of yesterday’s canning that escaped the mop somehow. Behind me, lining kitchen counters, are bowls and bags and boxes of peaches that need to be preserved today. And the school work is stacked and waiting, the to-do list is growing and some days I am overwhelmed by the fact that there is only one of me, and so many things that need my attention.

I could work, I am certain, from this moment when the sky cracks morning over mountaintops until it darkens again with dusk, and still not be satisfied with what I have done, with what I have left undone.

How do you run like this and not grow weary? How do you face the day, knowing that there is no rest in sight, knowing that tomorrow will be another race just the same as the day before? Feeling, as I sometimes do, that Sisyphus had no complaint compared to the mother of small children, compared to the owner of a home that, like your favorite Aunt, has been around long enough to be full of character and also to accumulate enough irritating physical complaints to fill a medical journal? Is it possible to keep this up, to finish the race at all?

I see the golden sun spill down the sides of mountains dotted with Autumn’s crimson, and I know: It all depends on where your strength comes from. My own strength, patience, and endurance would have expired long ago, of this I am sure. Looking at the day through the eyes of my human weakness it looks impossible, seems like work and only work. But I am not alone in the responsibility of this day, I have resources that I forget to tap into all to often. I belong to a God who is bigger than my to-do list, more powerful than the biggest sticky mess. Who is beyond the weeds and clutter and entropy of this world. One who knows how to fill me up, change my attitude, give me strength when mine fails and joy where I least expect it.

I turn from the comforting view of brightening sky and face the day: First thing on this long list is to spend time with the Word, drinking in courage and strength and sustenance for this day… daily bread for the soul. Here, in these worn pages, I find a little gift to hold today. A reminder that God sees my struggle and He is waiting, He is strength and power and He is waiting to fill me with that, to give me what I need to rejoice in the work of today and call it blessed.

Isaiah 40:26-31

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

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