Monday, July 23, 2012

I'd rather have Jesus....

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain,

Or be held in sin’s dread sway;

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;

I’d rather be true to His holy name.
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.
(Rhea F. Miller, 1922)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Prayers, Faith, and Healing

I wrote this post about prayer and healing six years ago shortly after Erik died.

Sep 17, 2006
There is a question that I think many of us have wrestled with since Erik's death.  There were so many people praying for Erik to be healed.  People all over the world were praying for healing, and yet God still took Him. Were our prayers in vain?  Why pray if God will ultimately do what He wills anyway?  I have wrestled with these questions and still do, but there have been a couple of things that have helped me to have perspective and most of all, to trust God.

I read a great chapter in an Elisabeth Elliott book entitled, "On Asking God Why."  This particular chapter was written by her brother, Thomas Howard. I believe he wrote it shortly after Elisabeth's second husband died of cancer.  He addressed the "what about all the prayers" question.  What about all the prayer vigils, the fasting, elders laying hands and anointing oil, etc.?  Yet, God remained silent and deliverance did not come.

Thomas writes of why is it that Jesus seemed to heal a complete stranger, yet even those in His closest circle were not healed.  For instance, John the Baptist was beheaded and James was killed in prison. What about Paul, who had a healing ministry and the handkerchiefs that were sent out from him that brought healing to others, yet he could not heal himself.  After much pleading, God still did not take away the thorn in his flesh. God is mysterious and His ways are unsearchable.

Thomas writes, "We prayed, with much faith or with little; we searched ourselves; we fasted; we anointed and laid on hands; we kept vigil. And nothing happened. Did it not? What angle of vision are we speaking from? Is it not true that again and again in the biblical picture of things, the story has to be allowed to finish?"  

Were the prayers lost?  Did they have any effect?  Thomas then says, "Hadn't they? How do you know what is piling up in the great treasury kept by the Divine Love to be opened in that Day.  How do you know that this death and your prayers and tears and fasts will not together be suddenly and breathtakingly displayed, before all the faithful, and before angels and archangels, and before kings and widows and prophets, as gems in that display? Oh no, don't speak of things being lost.  Say rather that they are hidden-received and accepted and taken up into the secrets of the divine mysteries, to be transformed and multiplied, like everything else we offer to him--loaves and fishes, or mites, or bread and wine-and given back to you and to the one for whom you kept vigil, in the presence of the whole host of men and angels, in a hilarity of glory as unimaginable to you in your vigil as golden wings are to the worm in the chrysalis."

Then just this weekend, one of my pastors, Nate, helped me to have a little perspective on the prayer issue.  We were talking and he said, "I guess it all depends on what the purpose of prayer is."

He added, "Is it to get our requests (which certainly God grants) or is it to know God?"

God wants us to ask Him for things, but ultimately He wants us to know Him.  I think many of us can attest to the fact that we have grown closer to the Lord through this and through our prayers for Erik's healing. Does that make it easier? No way, but that still doesn't change the truth that God is deepening our relationship with Him.

God is mysterious and His ways are unsearchable, but our prayers are not in vain.

I am clinging to Him and seeking to give Him the desires of my heart including praying for healing for friends who have health issues including cancer.  Is it easy? No.  Does God want me to trust Him? Yes!  I still wrestle and will continue to, but oh how I want to trust Him!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Less Than Perfect

How many times have I had this conversation with a young college woman who is struggling with body image? This time it was Panama City Beach, and the conversation took place with one of the girl’s who was attending the conference.

“I really struggle with body image,” she said. And as the conversation continued, she shared that she is “being bombarded with my thoughts.” “It’s so hard to not compare to the other girls especially the ones on the beach,” she confessed. I felt her ache.

On my way home from PCB, I was listening to the radio while the boys were watching countless DVD’s (thank you for DVD players!). A song by Pink came on titled, “Less Than Perfect.” When I listened to the song, I thought of the sweet college student who was struggling and the many who have felt this way.

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than
less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing
You are perfect to me

You’re so mean
When you talk
About yourself
You are wrong
Change the voices
In your head
Make them like you

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than
less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing
You are perfect to me

Why do we do that?
Why do I do that?
Why do I do that?
I think Pink does a great job of describing what many women have felt at one point in their lives. Less than perfect. We can have this phantom image of what we should look like and be like.

Pink says that we are so mean when we talk to ourselves. We can think some pretty wrong thoughts about ourselves. Pink’s answer: Change the voices in your head, Make them like you instead.

In one way, I agree with her. The voices need to be changed. However, the answer is not a self help strategy for thinking good thoughts about ourselves. The answer lies in replacing those wrong thoughts with what God says about us. He says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made; You are deeply loved.”

Jesus himself is singing to us, “No, you are not perfect, but I AM, and I love you.” Our significance and worth are found in Him and Him alone! NOT in being the prettiest, smartest and best at everything.

For all those who feel less than perfect . . . .

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Florida Fun

The boys and I had the opportunity to spend a week in Panama City, Florida at a CRU conference with 1000 college students from all over the US. Such a fun week! I miss it already. I love getting to watch the Lord capture the hearts of college students. It's a beautiful thing! (I'll post more about the week later)

I have family that live in the area and we got to spend one afternoon with them at their house in Paradise! (jet ski's, hot tub, beautiful gardens) Here are a few pictures from our trip.

Shamrock shakes are a must for any road trip in March!

Alex and Jensen with their cousin, Steffen

Jet ski fun!

The boys playing in the ocean with the Butler students!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The lonely flower

The boys and I were painting recently. I’m not really a painter, but my oldest, Alex, is, and he painted a beautiful picture of some flowers. There were two red tulips and one purplish/black flower. I asked him what the name of the painting was and his response was, “The lonely flower.” I was a bit puzzled because there were three flowers on the painting.

He proceeded to explain that it was the purple flower that was lonely. I said, “But there are two other flowers right beside it, why would it be lonely?”

He said that the red flowers were a father and his son and the purple flower was a father without a son. That’s why he was lonely. “Don’t you see his head drooping, mom?”

Uh, no I don’t, but one must never argue with the artist.

I can identify with the lonely flower. Longings unfulfilled. There have been lots of lonely days since Erik’s death. Some days it feels palpable.

It’s easy to run to other things to fill the loneliness. For me, TV and Facebook are joy stealers. Not that they are inherently bad, but often it’s my default when I am lonely. Others run to alcohol, drugs, sex.

I read Psalm 16 to Erik the day that he died. In these verses, the Psalmist practically screams of God’s presence and ability to satisfy our longing hearts. “He is at my right hand;” “My heart is glad;” “For you will not abandon me;” “You will make known to me the path of life;” “In Your presence there is fullness of joy;” “In Your right hand there are pleasure forever more.”

We will experience this perfect satisfaction in Christ only in heaven, which is why I read it to Erik, but this is also a reminder for life here on earth. God is screaming to the lonely heart. I AM WITH YOU! I WILL BE WHAT YOU NEED! I CAN SATISY!

And here lies the struggle . . . am I really going to believe God is enough today?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I am noticing a trend in my life and writing. I tend to talk a lot about fear, heaven and waiting. Today it’s fear. I wish I could say that I had the whole fear thing figure out, but I don’t. Life just keeps happening, and new fears emerge.

A few days before Christmas, someone tried to break into our home. By God’s providence, our neighbor was getting out of his car (at 11:30 at night, I might add) and saw the intruder. My neighbor scared him off, and the guy ran away.

I was left unnerved. It seemed as if this intruder was trying to get to me. I could be paranoid, but our car was in the driveway and lights were on in our house even though I was sound asleep in bed. We live in a duplex, and our neighbors’ car was also in the driveway and all their lights were on because they were still up and about. Seems like an unlikely place to rob if robbing was your intention. Especially, living on a college campus where many of the surrounding homes were empty due to students being gone for Christmas break. If I were a robber, wouldn’t I choose a home where no one was home?

All that to say, I’ve been afraid -- really afraid. My friend, Corrie, reminded me today that “perfect love casts out fear.” What a great reminder of God’s truth! I wrestle with how to practically live that out: what does that look like on a daily basis? Perhaps, if I’m spending my time thinking about how to love God and others, I won’t be so afraid. I won’t be consumed with the “what if’s.”

That doesn’t mean that I don’t put more security measures in my home, but in the midst of that, I am praying that I grow a lot in loving this year because living in fear is not really living.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Perfect days

As I sit in Starbucks, it’s a seemingly perfect morning. It’s my day off. I’m drinking my pumpkin spiced latte (oh, sad day when the holiday drinks will no longer be served and I’ll have to wait an entire year for a sip of my favorite drink). Did I mention that snowflakes are falling outside, and Starbucks is playing music from the Nutcracker? I also just received notification from the library that the book I have been waiting for is in. I was number 64 on the waiting list.

Pinch me! What a delightful and wonderful morning!

As great as this morning is, it is a dim picture of what’s to come. This Advent season I am not only trying to remember that Jesus came to earth as a baby, but that He is coming again. Pumpkin spice lattes’, days off, and snowflakes are a pale comparison to what’s coming.

I am also reminded that those seemingly perfect mornings are rare. Life as we know it is plain hard sometimes. This time of year, I am always reminded of Christmas morning 2004. “Your husband has a brain tumor,” the emergency room doctor said. “He has a what!” I was utterly shocked! I will never forget making the phone call to Erik’s family Christmas morning. His sister answered the phone and the joyous “Merry Christmas” greeting quickly turned to disbelief and horror as I told the rest of his family that was gathered together.

We all long for the days of perfection where all is well. Those days seem to be so few and far between. So I wait -- wait for His return. Because when He comes, oh how perfect that will be! Perfect days will abound and be limitless. We get Jesus, and we will be filled to all the fullness of God every second of everyday. Complete joy, satisfaction, rest, peace. Filled completely!

That’s what I am trying to remember this Advent season. He is coming again! He IS coming again! What hope we have for our future and what courage that gives me for today!