Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.  Proverbs 14:10  (NIV)


Chemotherapy is hard, and sometimes lonely. Even those who have known this path, no matter how much they love you, cannot walk exactly where you walk. One close friend, overwhelmed by his mother’s long battle with cancer, couldn’t offer the support I needed.

Though I accepted this, sharing my frustration felt like an accusation. I needed to tactfully clear the air between us. Hoping I’d have enough energy left, I arranged to see him after my next doctor’s appointment.

Exhausted and apprehensive, I pulled into the cancer center’s parking lot and found a place in the back row, next to a landscaped area. I liked to park there because the wooded strip reminded me that God, who created these plants with love, created and redeemed me with even more love. It reminded me that there is a Friend like no other, who knows me intimately and still likes me, who knows just where the enemy’s arrows strike me, who has been this way before and takes every step with me now.

Ninety minutes later, too tired to feel His presence, I limped across the parking lot to my truck. “Oh, great!” I thought. “Something’s fallen on the windshield. Where will I find the energy to move it?” 

I unlocked the door, put my book on the seat, and leaned around to clear the debris—then stopped and wept. The debris was an arrangement of cupped leaf, lacy fern, and a large red blossom.

I looked, and no other vehicle was so graced.  Why my truck?

Because this was a love letter from the One who knew my need, the One who will never leave me nor forsake me.

Avi, thank You for being my surefooted Guide, but more, thank You for loving me, for wanting to share this journey with me, for wanting me to succeed, for wanting me to make it home safe. Thank You for adopting me. In Your holy name, Amen.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands. Psalm 138:8 NIV

Sanctity of Life Sunday snuck up on me again. Somehow I always associate it with spring, the season of rebirth.

Are you a world-weary seeker, lost and longing for peace? Are you a battle-weary saint like Paul, longing for home? Have you had too much time in this world?

Or not enough? Are you eager for more chances to make a difference, to make your life count? Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy died young, plans spinning in their heads until assassins’ bullets brought them to a crashing halt. Louis L’Amour, prolific writer, had more than fifty ideas on his storyboard when he died. (And I’d have read every one of them.)

These and countless others, gone too soon.

Too soon? It’s God who determines the number of our days, He who decides how long each life should be. No one has less time on this earth than he/she needs to fulfill God’s purpose for them.

But what about those children who had only a few prenatal weeks, those whose lives were cut short by human will?

No life is without purpose. God leads—and where He leads, long journey or short, He provides. No one is given an assignment and abandoned without resources. Even these little ones, millions strong, can touch lives, turn hearts to the One who will forgive—if only we ask.

Forgiveness for every sin—even that one.

But His forgiveness for anything is only part of the story. We still have to forgive ourselves. Do you imagine those babies entombed forever in bloody suction bottles? Or do you imagine them in Heaven, bitterly proclaiming our sin, angry over lost opportunity, crying out for vengeance against those who struck them down, against those who stood by silently?

No. They’re rejoicing over the glorious abundance of life in the arms of God—and longing to share it with us. When at last we meet them at home, their arms will swing wide in welcome, nothing left to forgive.


Avi, thank You for our forgiveness. Thank You for letting us serve You, no matter what abilities or disabilities we have, no matter the length of our lives. Help us to serve You faithfully. In Your holy name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4b  (NIV)

The picture over my living room couch beautifully illustrates the comforting poem, Footprints. A blue/silver beach scene: dunes, grasses, gulls, a stretch of soft sand churned by one set of footprints.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, that poem’s promise gave me focus. The need to gather information, make decisions, and prepare for my time of disability was overwhelming. Often, as I rushed past, I glanced at the picture, remembering that even this battle is the Lord’s. 

But the gold and browns of frame and mattes struck a discordant note with me. “I’ll be spending a lot of time looking up at that picture”, I thought, on my last free morning before major surgery. “I’ll at least replace the mattes.”

I put the picture behind my truck seat and headed for the frame shop—only to find it closed. I checked the picture and found it safe, then drove home. 

Though I had carefully avoided bumps, when I took it out again, the glass was broken across a lower corner. Swallowing my disappointment, I hung it in its place over the couch.

I did spend a lot of time looking up at those footprints that summer, groaning as all creation groans. When I couldn’t ignore the broken glass and clash of color, I focused on the poem and its message of hope.

Months later, as I looked up at the picture, insight dawned: How appropriate is this gift of broken glass! It completes the poem—for it’s a broken world He carries us through.



Avi, I have no words. Hear my groans as I call to You, and understand. I would rather be in Your arms in this broken world than in Eden without You. In Your holy name, Amen.   



Tuesday, January 6, 2015


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me twelve drummers drumming…

Dear John,                                                                                 1-6          


There are 23 fowl, eight cattle, 17 women, and 33 men camped out at my modest home. With twelve drums added to the bagpipes, the lowing of the cattle, the screeching of the birds, the milkmaids shouting to be heard over the clatter of dancing and leaping feet, I cannot hear myself think, nor can I find the privacy to try. You have waited too long. There is no need now for you to call on me. If you do come again, you will not find me here. Trent has proven himself much more considerate of my needs than you. I’m going away with him today to a more peaceful life. We’re taking the poor partridge; you and Matilda can have the rest.                                      











Monday, January 5, 2015


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me ten lords a’leaping…            

Jonathan,                                                                                   1-5

This is too much. You have overbalanced my table to the other side. Or would have, but these eleven leaping lords refuse to sit, or even to stop their acrobatics. My home is like a circus tent, and I shudder to think of further gifts from you. 

I do find one consolation in this madhouse (for such I fear my home is becoming). Trent has taken a hand to help me with my duties as hostess.                                                                        





Sunday, January 4, 2015


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love  sent to me ten ladies dancing…

Jonathan,                                                                                   1-4

Ten women in fancy dress have appeared at my door, saying that they’re to dance for me. They also say that they’re ladies, but this isn’t behavior appropriate for ladies. I’m beginning to wonder what sort of man you must be, and what sort of woman you believe me to be. I must insist that you apologize and come for these people. They will not leave, saying that you sent them. At least now there’s something to be done with so much milk and eggs.

One more thing distresses me greatly, Jonathan, and that is the unevenness of my table. There are more “ladies” than gentlemen, and you are desperately needed here.                                                

Hopefully, Alicia. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me nine pipers piping…

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       1-3

Nine pipers rang my bell this morning, at a most premature hour. I was startled from a sound sleep by the wailing of their bagpipes. I sent Matilda for another cold milk poultice. Trent, their maestro, was very understanding of my distress, and quieted them until a more reasonable time. He has been most courteous, which is more than I can say of you, Jonathan. Their presence is most highly improper, but they insisted, and have been tormenting their pipes in my parlor for two hours now. Jonathan, what must I do? I know they’re friends of yours, but in a house with unattended women… This is… This is scandalous, Jonathan! Please come. NOW, Jonathan.   




Friday, January 2, 2015


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me eight maids a’milking…

Jonathan,                                                                                   1-2

What are your intentions toward me? I hope not as strange as your courtship. The postman was here bright and early, at the crack of dawn, saying that these eight very large cows were accustomed to an early milking. Such a cacophony: the cattle lowing, the birds awakened and adding their bit, the milkmaids shouting to be heard! I’m accustomed to arising at a more reasonable time, and since your generous gifts have begun, I lie awake until the wee hours trying to solve these problems. Though Matilda made a cold poultice of milk to repair the shadows under my eyes, I hesitate now to ask you to come, not wanting you to see me at less than my best. Please call, Jonathan, and hurry, before I am overwhelmed by your generosity.         

Love, Alicia.


Thursday, January 1, 2015


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me seven swans a’swimming’…

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       1-1          

Thank you again for still another gift. One would think the postman would choose to take a holiday today, but he was so kind as to deliver the seven swans to the lake in the park across the street, as I have no place for their ablutions. Swans, as you know, need water. I have very much enjoyed sitting at my window watching them. Jonathan, when will you come to dinner? I shall prepare you a delectable omelet with my own hands, a LARGE delectable omelet of goose eggs. Bring me the gift of yourself.   

Love, Alicia.