The Rubber Met the Road


On Wednesday, July 27th, the rubber met the road. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I read, write, and study the topic of trust.

  • Don’t worry, be happy.
  • Trust and obey.

Those lines are pretty easily said and done when life is rocking along. But what about when life is simply rocked? Stephen Covey is famous for saying, “Begin with the end in mind.” So here’s the end of my story: God is faithful. Everything I’ve read and written about trusting him in the dark times is true. Here, though, is the rest of my story.

First of all (pardon the nitty  gritty of this) I want you to know my symptoms. No, make that symptom—singular, and subtle. I had bit of spotting so faint I almost could have missed it, and certainly could have talked myself out of paying any attention to it. No pain. No abnormal pap smears. Just a bit of a blush when there should have been none. Steve and I were cleaning out bookshelves, and I “happened to” scan one that didn’t make the cut, just one final look before I threw it away. Here’s what the book said. Please make a mental note of this and tell every woman that you know: A woman with any abnormal bleeding should see a doctor. And so I did. (And I promise, that’s the last descriptive medical detailing you will read here.)

I started that Wednesday in in solitude, drinking Earl Grey with honey and randomly chose to read Psalms 116-118. I hope you’ll take time to read those chapters today. The passage I read included these verses:

  • “Truly I am your servant, Lord. I serve you just as my mother did, you have freed me from my chains” (Psalm 116:17).
  • “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done” (Psalm 118:17).

I’d never noticed that “mom” part before. In fact, it struck me as a little odd. I didn’t realize God was preparing me for the hours to come. Here’s what you should know about my mom. About 30 years ago, she had the same surgery I ended up having. A teacher, a speaker, and a writer, she is nearly 80 now and continues to be an ace at proclaiming what the Lord has done. Two hours after my Bible reading, the phone rang. Endometrial cancer, stage unknown. I’d need to have a hysterectomy before further treatment could be determined. I scribbled notes, trying not to pass out, hoping to get all the information straight. Then came one of the hardest moments of this journey.

I had to tell Steve that my biopsy showed cancer, but here’s another of what became a stream of blessings. He was home when that call came through. No waiting. No deciding whether or not to tell him the news over the phone. He was, my journal of that day says, “just as I needed him to be.” He held me, prayed with me, and helped me rewrite my scattered call notes so that I’d be able to keep all the doctor’s information straight. It “just so happened” (are you seeing a pattern here?) that all four of our kids would be visiting within a couple of hours. We were thankful for the opportunity to talk to them in person, even though it was hard to see those red-rimmed eyes.

Now you’ve heard the beginning and gotten a glimpse of the end. For the next four blogs, I want to talk about the middle, to “proclaim what the Lord has done,” to describe the creative ways God took care of me, encouraged me, and showed himself faithful. It will be far more uplifting than this introduction has been. I hope you will stick with me for the next several weeks, and that you’ll share my story with as many people as possible, because it’s always good to brag on the goodness of God.

Thankful Anyway


It was a morning of contradictions. The dawn was about to break, seemingly obscured by a thick blanket of low clouds filling the horizon. As we drove out of the neighborhood and Steve clicked on the car radio, I was struck by the onslaught of evil our world had only recently sustained.

  • The capture and probably massacre of students in Mexico.
  • The death of an Ottawa honor guard at the hands of a terrorist.
  • The usual (When did it become usual?) litany of crimes and punishments taking place throughout our land.

It’s so easy to despair, to decide we’ve been forsaken and that all is lost forever. Yet even as the radio droned on, the sun rose, splashing red and gold across the sky, those ominous clouds now serving as mirrors to reflect the spectacular light.

What a perfectly timed reminder for me. I could hear a childhood hymn playing in my memory banks.

Oh, who can make a sunrise?

I know I can’t. Can you?

On who can make a sunrise?

No one but God, that’s true.*

He’s so much bigger than we are, so much greater than even our most consuming heartaches and difficulties.

It’s time for Thanksgiving! Actually, it’s always time for thanks giving. Yes, there are dark days behind us and before us, but the sun also rises. The SON also rises. He is, ever was, always will be Lord of all, and he will carry us through the darker days. I hope you are approaching this season with a life full of good things. But either way, He is always reason enough to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*My apologies to the lyricist. I am unable to find the source of this song.



The Broken Bed


I was spending the night in a guestroom furnished with a beautiful antique bed. The bed frame hadn’t been assembled properly. Around midnight, the whole thing came apart and sent me crashing to the floor. Once my heart stopped pounding, I spent the rest of the night sleeping on the dislodged mattress. No real harm was done. But what if every night since then I’d gone to bed concerned about a crash? I’d rarely get much sleep even though:

  1. Beds don’t usually come apart in the middle of the night.
  2. A midnight collapse would do little damage.
  3. My useless concern wouldn’t help hold the bed together anyway.

My worries, like all worry, would be a waste of time, stealing my joy and disturbing my peace.

Why do we lay our concerns before the Lord and then fret about how things will turn out? Isn’t that a lot like falling wearily into bed, only to lie there tense and worried all night about whether or not it will hold us? What sort of rest do we miss by such an exhausting habit?

Ahhh, but we can always find a reason to be anxious, an explanation as to why we can’t embrace joy, peace and happiness with a holy abandonment. Our excuses are lame. The Bible discredits each and every one. For example:


One excuse for worry goes something like this, “I can’t help but worry because my circumstances are so very frightening!”


When a violent storm threatened to sink the disciples’ fishing boat, Jesus questioned their fear directly, asking, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Mathew 8:26). Our troubles are seldom more terrifying than theirs was.

Troubles compel us to take refuge in God. He stands ready and waiting beside us in every event and circumstance of life. Even in difficult times, the Bible calls on us to praise our compassionate Lord, “who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). He gives us comfort so that we can share it. Have we convinced ourselves that we’re unworthy of God’s loving care? That he has no interest in our trials? That any time now he is going to assign us to some horrible task, leaving us to complete it on our own? None of those worries line up with scripture. He loved us “while we were yet sinners,” knows even the number of hairs on our heads, and promises to equip us for every good work.

No, worry is never inevitable, because God is always bigger than whatever we fear!

The Mud Hole

momIn honor of the approaching Mother’s Day, today’s guest post is by my mom, Beth, written as one of the many devotionals she has given at our church and edited down for this site.

The hard times of life happen to everyone, making us feel as if we are walking through mud. We move, but we don’t seem to get anywhere. We make a little progress, only to slip on the slimy bottom of our own weaknesses and sins. Far too often we reach out for whatever branch or hand we think will help: anger, drugs, alcohol, food or anything else that will restore our balance or at least cover up the mud we’re struggling against. Those things seem to help at first, much as a wad of bubble gum may fix the hole in a dam for a moment or two. Before long, though, we are back in the mud, or rather we realize that we have never left it.

My dad’s favorite hymn was “The Solid Rock.” (Words by Edward Mote in the 1830’s). Dad, and Mr. Mote, understood how to handle the mud holes of life.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

Surely this is the answer to our mud hole experiences, to stand on rock, on The Rock, not on sinking sand. We can do it by the grace of God.

Psalm 69: 14 “(you) rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink.”

Psalm 37:23-24 “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

And then, of course, there is the story Jesus told of the wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7).

We will still go through mud holes, but we can do so confident that there is, below the silt, solid rock beneath our feet. We need not doubt that we will make it through. Sometimes our only choice is to put ourselves in neutral and let God do it all. Other times we can use what he has taught us and avoid most of the mud. But here is the best news of all:

Nothing–not even a million slips into the mud holes– can separate us from God’s love. It is His nature to love and nothing we do will change that.