The Where and the What Matter Less and Less

I finish a paragraph by Margaret Silf and realize how much I believe it. She writes, “There is nothing on earth that doesn’t reveal some fragment of the reality of its maker, nor any moment that I live that doesn’t hold God concealed within it. Sometimes this is obvious, as in a beautiful sunset. Sometimes it remains hidden.” 

Every moment that I live, therefore, holds God concealed.

Here and now! It doesn’t matter where I am or what’s happening all around me. I can be assured that God is with me and in even this.

Sometimes, it does indeed remain hidden.

But if I seek, I will find. If I ask, the great door will be opened.

In even this.  

I’m starting to consider this task as my life’s work; the poetry of finding the concealed fragment that reveals God offers the kind of joy and meaning I cannot live without. 

The older I get, the more I realize that the where and the what of my life matter less and less. The reality of God in and about me makes every place sacred, every person a mystery, and every situation ripe with glory. 

Amen!

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Have you found this to be true? 

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A Baby Turtle Today

By accident, I happen to glance down and see a baby turtle swimming in the water today. 

As small as a silver dollar and as quick as a minnow, the turtle shimmers in the water.

I’m immediately transported to my childhood days on the banks of the Potomac River. I’d see those little turtle heads come up from beneath a lily pad. I’d watch their little feet and those intricate designs on their backs. My heart would beat faster. I had seen them! I know they are here!

I would forevermore search for them. 

I think God used the turtles to save my heart back then. I knew this: 

The world is a magical place, I’d think. There are incredible things here.

I call every child within earshot to come and see the baby turtle. I step back and watch them fill up with the same kind of wonder I had all those years ago on the banks of the Potomac. 

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What is it about a turtle that delights us so much?

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When You Match Teenagers with Older Women Prayer Partners

I’m visiting my husband’s home church, and I learn from the teenagers about their prayer partners. This church pairs teenagers with older women who partner with them in prayer for a one year period. 

A teen and her prayer partner share prayer requests over the year, pray for one another, go to lunch a few times, and get together as often as the teen wishes.

I talk to one girl who just loves her prayer partner. I talk to one women who just loves her teen partner.  They talk about everything. They text. They pray. 

It’s cool. It’s the thing the teens do.  

We imagine it might be supremely uncool to hang out with older folks to talk about life and God and prayer.  Oh, no: this is the greatest thing, and one teenager who doesn’t normally share about anything told me right away about her awesome prayer partner. 

I wish I had that when I was sixteen.  I wish I had been matched with an older woman who would care about me like that and pray about my decisions with me. 

I pray my daughters will have older women prayer partners to love them and care for them. 

This is the greatest thing. I want to be that older woman for a teenager!  Maybe I will!

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Does your church do anything like this?  How does it work?  

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Like a Father

I’m reading a line by Margaret Silf in her book, Inner Compass, that helps me understand something about God. She writes:

“Imagine yourself as a wounded bird savaged by a cat, or as an animal caught in a trap, or as a small child who has hurt herself. . . Now, without offering any excuses or justifications or reproaches against what has harmed you, just let yourself be gathered up by God and held gently in the palm of his hand.”

Just let yourself be gathered up. I think of how, when my daughters were toddlers, they used to scamper about the yard. My husband would swoop down, gather them in his arms, and lift them high into the air. They still beg for that game so they can be caught up in those arms!

I think of a Great Father, swooping down to gather me as I scamper about. After being gathered up, Silf says now to “Be still, and simply know that he is God, who loves you and desires your wholeness so much that he is ready to die for it.”

A Great Swooping Father’s Love.

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Happy Father’s Day!

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The Book My Daughter Insisted I Read

“You must read this, Mom!” she insists. For days, she’s been following me around, this book in hand, telling me it’s the best book, her favorite book, and the book that will make me cry and cry.

“Why will I cry?” I ask.

Tears actually form in her eyes as she says, “It’s so heartwarming and. . .,” she stammers because she can’t find the words, “and joyful and sad and so happy. . . I don’t know!” 

Finally, I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It’s written by the same great author–Kate DiCamillo–who gave us Despereaux, Because of Winn Dixie, and that amazing pig, Mercy Watson. 

I know I’m in for something life-changing when I read, instead of a dedication, the quote that the “heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking,” and that “it is necessary to go through dark and deeper dark and not to turn.”

So I follow a little china rabbit on a dark and deep journey.  

I learn about how to find a way home. I learn from the grandmother, Pelligrina, that in life there will be a story–soon–if I wait. I learn that one of most important questions a person can ask herself is “Whom do you love?”

I learn that a story cannot end happily if there is no love. 

I put the book down after I read the final line: “Once, oh marvelous once, there was a rabbit who found his way home.”

Once, oh marvelous once!

I’m going to listen when a child tells me about a book I must read. 

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Have you discovered Kate DiCamillo? 

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Even If You Don’t Feel Like It

I don’t want to write this morning.  But I remember that once I start doing something–even if I don’t feel like it–I begin to love it once I’m in it.

I love it once I’m in it, so I’m learning to ignore the tug of “I don’t feel like doing this.”

I have to get in it.

Because deep inside, I do feel like doing this (only I don’t know it yet).

I’ve never, in all these years of writing, not felt that love of it once I’m in it.

It’s the starting that’s hard.

So I keep doing it even if I don’t fee like it. And within just a minute, I’m in it and loving it.

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I realize this concept applies to so many things! I just have to remember it!

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Driven from a False Resting Place

I keep coming back to the same paragraph in Hannah Whitall Smith’s, The God of All Comfort. In a chapter entitled, “Things That Cannot Be Shaken,” she discusses the flimsy foundations we often build our lives upon rather than the sure foundation of God and God alone.

But these flimsy foundations seem so very secure. We rest in good things: ministry, productivity, family, kindness, orderly living, or intelligence.  

How can we see what cannot be shaken? In order to gain the sure foundation of God and God alone, she claims we go through various “shakings” so that what remains is that which cannot be shaken.

These shakings come from a Loving Hand in order to make us strong, immovable, and fully secure.

Smith writes, “But there comes an upheaval, and all our foundations are shaken and thrown down, and we are ready to despair and question whether we can be Christians at all. . . If people have rested on their good works and their faithful service, the Lord is often obliged to take away all power for work. . . in order that the soul may be driven from its false resting place and forced to rest in the Lord alone.”

The false resting place!

Smith further discusses the false rest of good feelings, sound doctrine, prosperity, good reputation, secure home and family, accomplishment, and even mental clarity. So many things that we rely upon for a sure foundation–when shaken–reveal that they could never save us at all.

I’m left with God alone.

Praise God, I’m left with Him alone.

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Have you had “shakings” at various points on your spiritual journey?

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Ripe with Joy

My husband calls me to the garden. “The first blueberry is blue!” he reports.

“Already?”

We find that first ripe blueberry, and it makes us so happy.

First Ripe Blueberry

Who gets to eat it? The one who will have the most joy in it.

Normally, the youngest in the family gets to pick the first ripe anything: cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, and especially berries. We set the littlest one out in the wet new morning, rain boots protecting her against the dew, and she picks the berry. She holds it up as a grand trophy and then eats it as the family watches on.

She gets the most joy out of it.  So we let her go first, and then we get the most joy.

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Gardening brings wonder into our lives. Do you still experience wonder over ripe things?

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Save It For a Rainy Day

Today we venture into all the things we’ve saved for a rainy day

The movies and popcorn!  Long visits to the library!  Knitting!  Boardgames!

We tell ourselves that certain things must wait for the rain, and so we hold off until we see those dark clouds and raindrops. 

Certain things must wait for the rain. 

In this way, we relish the rain. We actually hope for it. What a change in perspective for little girls who keep their bathing suits and towels by the door for the moment the pool opens. With a forecast of rain today, we don’t mope. We don’t wish for different weather.

No. We waited for this because we know that certain things must wait for the rain.

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What did you do during the rainy days of summer as a child?  

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The Time She Felt Most Loved

I arrive at the part of summer devotions where I ask my daughters when they felt most loved. One says it’s when she held her cat for the first time.

The other says, “When I had to ask you to forgive me and you said, ‘yes’ and still loved me.”

Devotions over.  I have to go cry my eyes out!

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I want to remember to ask people what makes them feel most loved. What makes you feel most loved?

PS:  Summer Devotions still available and still FREE. Email me, and I’ll send the pdf.

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