Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

"Older women...are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands..." Titus 2: 3, 4

Ten years ago my family visited my father in Florida.  One day my husband and I came home from shopping and I stumbled onto a beautiful sight.

In the living room, my newlywed sister sat on her husbands lap.  She bubbled with laughter as he told her some story. They reminded me of the early days of my marriage.

I passed to a guest room where my adult son and his wife were attending to their two year old daughter. Talking about varied subjects, they instinctively carried out the different tasks that had to be done for their daughter without having to discuss who needed to do what.  I reminisced about the years when my children were young and was grateful that that time of intensive parenting was over.  Then I went into my dad's room and what I saw is imprinted in my mind forever.

At the time of the visit, my father had suffered from Parkinson's for about 5 years and he was not able to feed himself; my step mother, Clara, was feeding him his supper. She was talking to him and laughing. He just looked at her, not really seeming to be thinking about the food at all. During the whole meal his eyes were only on her.  I thought how beautifully love progresses from the first flowering of romance to the graceful bloom of aging tenderness.

Then I thought about Clara.  A woman who married an older man with baggage.  I thought of how she accepted me and my two sons into her home when I was first out of nursing school.  I thought of how she taught the children she had with my father to consider us, his first set of children, brother and sisters instead of half-siblings.  I thought of how she had taken care of my father through his battle with Parkinson's.  I realized I had learned many love lessons from her.

Now my dad is on hospice care.  To most observers he does not respond.  But last night Clara told me,  "You know; he lays there with his eyes closed all the time, but sometimes I catch him watching me."  She laughed, "He is tricky.  When he sees I notice he is watching, he closes his eyes again."  Like the Bible verse, yet unbeknownst to her, Clara taught me another lesson on how to love my husband.  Even though their relationship has diminished into Clara giving my father his tube feeding, and Clara turning him over so he wont get bed sores, or Clara bathing him; she still finds great joy in being by his side. She is an amazing example.  And as I see it, they still have a vibrant romance because she still laughs when he opens his eyes to look at her.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eavesdropping, (Soliloquy part 2)

"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation." Psalms 5:1

What a prayer!  David is asking God to pry into his private thought life and consider the things he has been thinking about.  I get it that God hears all my thoughts, but it feels like a law of nature.  It's like an outside force over which I have no control. Like gravity, it is always there and I take it for granted.

So to me, what David asks, is shocking.  He wants God to "consider"; to take time, inspect, scrutinize and continually ponder upon his internal chatter.  That is like speeding down the highway and hoping there is a police officer watching.  No one in his right mind would want that.  But David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, begs "Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.  Hearken unto the voice of  my cry, my King, and my God..." Psalm 5:1, 2  What would happen to my internal soliloquies if every day I asked God to "listen in"?  Certainly the themes would change, but better still I would know that the light of God was always shining into my mind.  Lovingly He would always be listening to the "live stream" generated by my thoughts and He would become my best friend, my constant companion.  I think it would change my life.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


powered by
Andy Griffith is quite humorous in his definition of soliloquy, but his understanding of the concept is correct.  A soliloquy is that self-talk, which is constantly running through our minds, in spoken form.
Psalm 1:2 says that the righteous man "meditates day and night" on the law of God.

My definition of meditate conjures an image of a Buddhist monk perfectly still and perfectly silent.  But Webster says meditation is "a discourse intended to express its author's reflections or to guide others in contemplation."  Martin Luther agrees with this idea of meditation as he states, "To meditate, as it is generally understood, signifies to discuss, to dispute; and its meaning is always confined to a being employed in words, as in Psalm 37:30 "The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom."  Hence Augustine has, in his translation, "chatter"; and a beautiful metaphor it is - as chattering is the employment of birds, so a continual conversing in the law of the Lord, ought to be the employment of men."

So to meditate on the law of God is more like Andy Griffith than like the Dalai Lama.  What would I become if I meditated on the law of God day and night?  The flow of my internal monologue would be driven by godly themes.  I would "kinda look a-way off and kinda talk to (myself)" and my soliloquies would change.  I would discuss heavenly motifs and guide others in contemplating the beauty of Christ.  "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all." (1 Timothy 4:15)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sleep (Psalm 3:5)

The mighty man after God's own heart did not accomplish his greatest exploit on a battlefield.  Rather he did it on a pillow.  With the kingdom lost, the army at his heels and his heart broken by the betrayal of his unnatural son, David said, "I laid me down and slept." (Psalm 3:5)  His was the sweet sleep of peace.  He lay down under a blanket of night fully confident in the saving power of God.  "And the king said...if I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again..." (2 Samuel 15:25)  Fretting the night awake would have been natural; sleeping when all was lost was a mammoth feat of faith.

Our mighty God worked His most glorious act not in creating the heavens, nor in breathing life into man.  Rather He did it while closing His eyes in sleep.  With the enemy exultant and my sin braking His heart He said, "It is finished: and He bowed His head..." (John 19:30)  His was the sleep of a conquerer.  He closed His eyes confident in the saving power of God.  "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost."  (Luke 23:46)  Rousing His strength to destroy His foes would have been expected; sleeping in death to save the lost revealed His glory.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Psalm 2:4

"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." 

"They scoff at us, God laughs at them. Laugh? This seems a hard word at the first view: are the injuries of his saints, the cruelties of their enemies, the derision, the persecution of all that are round about us, no more but matter of laughter? Severe Cato thought that laughter did not become the gravity of Roman consuls; that it is a diminution of states, as another told princes, and it is attributed to the Majesty of heaven? According to our capacities, the prophet describes God, as ourselves would be in a merry disposition, deriding vain attempts. He laughs, but it is in scorn; he scorns, but it is with vengeance. Pharaoh imagined that by drowning the Israelite males, he had found a way to root their name from the earth; but when at the same time, his own daughter, in his own court gave princely education to Moses, their deliverer, did not God Laugh?
    Short is the joy of the wicked. Is Dagon put up to his place again? God's smile shall take off his head and his hands, and leave him neither wit to guide nor power to subsist. . . . . We may not judge of God's works until the fifth act: the case, deplorable and desperate in outward appearance, may with one smile from heaven find a blessed issue. He permitted his temple to be sacked and rifled, the holy vessels to be profaned and caroused in; but did not God's smile make Belshazzar to tremble at the handwriting on the wall? Oh, what are his frowns, if his smiles be so terrible!"  Thomas Adams.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bearing Seed...

"And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind..." Genesis 1:12

Bearing seed costs something.
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, 

and as a root out of a dry ground: hath no form nor comeliness;

and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. 

He is despised and rejected of men;

a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:

and we hid as it were our faces from Him;

He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

Surely He hath borne our griefs,

and carried our sorrows:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities:

the chastisement of our peace was upon Him;

and with His stripes we are healed...

...and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all...

when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin,

He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.  He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied...        
Isaiah 53: 2-11

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Rain blew the Nashua into a puffy ribbon.   Although the river was high from the previous week's showers, our trip was scheduled and we would go.  Beth and I sat opposite each other, with my sons then aged two and four, in between.  Most of the group shared canoes.   Our leaders, the only experienced canoeists, each took their own vessel.  We launched off into the unknown believing we would arrive at the rendezvous tired, but happy.

We skimmed along the center of the river when suddenly the Nashua began to lather. Our fears rose like the river, but the experienced pilots shouted a whoop and took off down stream as fast as they could go!  Confused, the rest of us navigated towards the shore.  Not knowing what to do, we decided to stay close and continue toward the pick-up point; after all the trip was only supposed to be two hours long and we had already done one hour, so we were halfway home.

Over the next five hours we landlubbers struggled to stay afloat.  We saw water snakes, were heaved by the class three rapids and capsized repeatedly.  After a small drop in the river my canoe flipped and Gabriel was pulled under and driven past my reach.  Miraculously one of the two men that had stayed with us jumped out of his canoe and rescued him.  Once Gabriel was safe in my arms, I said, "Enough!"  I told the group I was taking my sons and leaving the river.  As Beth and I steered our vessel toward that shore everyone else followed.  We parked our canoes on the sand and climbed the 100 foot ravine toward the highway.  That was my first and last trip on the Nashua.

In thinking about that day I remember the intense clarity with which I knew it was time to get off the river.  We had been committed to the plan.  We persevered and battled the element, but when the water took Gabriel the spell was broken.  We realized the trip, and the canoes were not worth a life.  That small moment shed light on the situation and we changed course.

Every life has illuminating moments.  They clear the muddy waters and show a change of course is due.  Each ray, clearing up confusion, is sent from God.  The thing is that light is stalking us at every turn.   If we take our eyes off the rapids, let go of the paddles and earnestly look there is brilliance all around.  The first words spoken in our universe were, "Let there be light." Genesis 1: 3.  And God has not stopped pouring light into this darkness.  Above the clouds, in spite of fog and beyond the night the sun shines.

"God is light." (1 John 1:6)  He bathes us with His light.  In tremulous storms, He sends fire bolts to clear our troubles.  On the darkest ocean, waves swirl into luminous arches.  He lightens confusion and brightens our path.  If we look at Him, our choices loom clear and our way glows brilliantly.  But we must choose to look in His direction.  We must turn our eyes toward the Son.