Winds of Change



I laid in bed listening to the hum of traffic out on the road. I wanted to revel in the sameness of things the way they’ve been for the last 11 or so years for a few more minutes. To let the cocoon of the wonderful comfortable rhythm of days the way they’ve been wrap itself around me for a little while longer. I am aware that today is different. Today my retirement may be accelerated. The plan might be kicked up a notch. 

Today is the day the email will drop, the one everyone at work has been waiting for. The one that will announce the changes and what if anything it means for us here in Arizona. What it might mean for me. My work phone is on the charge by my bed. Usually I shut it off all weekend. But this morning, I wanted to see the message first thing.

Funny isn’t it? How you can pray and pray for something and then when it comes down to maybe actually having it answered, you dig your heels in at the last and a little part of you is afraid that it may not happen and also afraid that it will.

This is what I saw when I finally opened it:

“You are eligible to participate in the Enhanced Retirement Program (ERP).” And then a long explanation about restructuring and reinvesting and growth in the company.

All I kept thinking is how amazing God is. Just when I decided to retire at the end of year, this comes in. And it’s a good offer. The timing leaves me in awe once again of how He works. All the times I prayed, and cried and wondered if I was doing the right thing by staying. And later, in prayer in my little shed, this is what my devotional said:

“Circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you. The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. If you gaze too long at your circumstances, you will become dizzy and confused. Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure.” Jesus Calling April 25

All day long the wind howled between the houses as if to mimic change blowing in. It picked up strength mid-morning and never wavered. My allergies kicked up something fierce. Elaine came home looking like she’d been in a war. She said driving the bus was like wrestling all day. And then she had to wipe boogers off the seat and window…….

At the end of the day, the wind finally stopped. I sat out for a little while on the little deck, wondering about the road ahead. I can relate to Mary in Scripture when it says, she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” I spend a lot of time pondering things in my heart. I guess that’s what writers do before the words make it to the page.

Today, I stand amazed at all He’s done and continues to do in our lives. I may not know all the ins and outs of how it’s all gonna play out, but I know He’s with us. And I know He’ll never leave us. And He won’t leave you either, my friend.

He’s in it for the long haul.

Life beyond the Grid



I awoke to a cool and cloudless morning after a deep and almost dreamless sleep. I have been stressed about many things lately and was looking forward to my morning of prayer, a sliver of quiet to start the day right. Everything was going along quite nicely. It was good to empty my mind and open my heart to God and scroll through the pages of His book. I drew a name from the “prayer bowl” and prayed for a co-worker, and everyone on my heart. Then I opened my “Jesus Calling” devotional book and my eyes landed on the first verse of Scripture:

“Truly my soul silently waits for God: From Him comes my salvation, He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” Psalm 62:1-2

“Perfect,” I thought. I had taken a picture on our road trip this past May of two big rocks and that verse would be perfect superimposed against the backdrop of those big rocks. I ran in the house to get my phone to use the handy dandy “You Version” picture App. I am having a lot of fun with that one. After I posted this picture to Facebook I made the mistake of scrolling through my timeline. I never take my phone out to the shop during prayer time and I should have taken it back in the house. It was an intrusion and I knew better.

Next thing I know I am watching a video on how Isis is plotting to take us down by shutting down “the grid” and how easy it will be to do it and how grossly unprepared we would all be if that happened. I marveled at the fact that only as few as 50 years ago there was no grid to worry about.

How did we get here and how did we get so dependent on it? It’s hard to imagine a life without technology. Now my mind was turbulent again and thinking I needed to get a backup supply of canned food and water.

It’s easy to panic when you forget the end of the story. My next verse in the devotional reminded me that there was no need to panic. The enemy’s favorite tactics are to instill fear and try to steal our peace. Isis is only a new version of the same old evil that has been here since before the fall.

I ended the session with these verses of promise continuing in Psalm 62:1,2

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken…….and further on down we read:

Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.  (vs. 9-10)

One thing God has spoken; two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord is unfailing love; and, “Your reward everyone according to what they have done.” (vs. 11,12)

Nothing to fear really.

New Every Morning


How many times in life have you said to yourself or someone else, “Man, I should have known better!” We make mistakes, we are human after all and not machines. Sometimes though, the world expects the precision of a machine. And the world is merciless…….it doesn’t care what the reason was but only that it doesn’t happen again. With the world, you may not get a second chance. But with God, each day, each moment it’s possible to get another chance. God is a God of do-overs. His mercies are new every morning. Listen to what His word says about Him:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him……Lamentations 3:22-24

My friends……this is the Good News. God will never hold a mistake over your head the way the world does. He doesn’t keep a rolling report of all the times you’ve messed up. With Him, you don’t have a rap sheet. All you have to do is come clean, admit your mistake, your sin, your failure. And not only will He purge it from your record, He actually forgets what you did. (Unless you have the habit of reminding Him over and over like I tend to do.)

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:8-12

I don’t know about you, but this is quite possibly the most hopeful verse in the entire Bible. I have heard it said by others that “they never make the same mistake twice.” I am not such a fast learner. Yesterday I made a mistake at work. It was one of those, “I should have known better” moments. When I got back from break there were three people huddled around my station. That is hardly ever a good thing. By the end of the day, I was almost shaking there was so much I had to do between 5:00 and 5:40, when the oncoming Shift came in. Add to that the damage control I had to do to ensure all the powers that be that “it would never happen again.”

Today, right now, this morning I am reveling in the fact that I have a merciful God.

And after all, He’s the only One I really need to worry about.

What Matters Most


This week at work was a challenge. People had emergencies and had to leave midweek, and some were on vacations. All told, we were stretched thin. Another lady and myself toiled at our workstations for three 12 hour shifts with only a few short breaks. By the time I finished last night, my mind was still spinning like a top. I was so eager to get out I left my scarf behind which I never do.

I was so locked into myself at work I barely talked, barely joked. I felt more robot than human. But on the way home last night……There was sky, and cool breeze, and a hint of rain. I drove by restaurants and people were spilling out onto the sidewalks and patios, seated at tables with their drinks and food, casually talking, laughing. Being people.

One of the moments I was able to step out in the fresh air during the week, one of the things I thought about was that life is tragically unbalanced. We have slivers of time outside, in God’s beautiful creation and big chunks of time in artificial surroundings with artificial light and artificial air sucking the life out of us. And I think if we were honest, somehow we all sense we are under a curse. That things are not as they should be.

And the thing is? I can’t get the previous 36 hours back. But I can change how I do things. I can redeem the time I have left, however much of it there is. We say life is short, but do we believe it? Yesterday a card was circulated for a man we work with who lost his year old Grandson to drowning. Time………moments, years we always think we will have more of.

The older I get, the more I realize that there are only a couple of things we really need to learn before we leave this place, and none of the schools of higher learning can teach it. It’s that behind every beautiful mountain vista, every glorious sunset on the beach, every bend in the road, there have been the people standing next to me that matter even more.  As I look back on all the most wonderful moments of my life, there was someone standing next to me with eyes alight, saying, “Will you look at that!” And if it happened that there was no one standing right next to me, I always knew God was.

Even in tragedy and deepest sadness there were moments of hope against hope, laughter  that leaked through. Right after I lost my husband and we were all gathered together at my brother’s house doling out Xanax so we could sleep. Someone said they had more than someone else and we all had a giggling fit through our tears.

Of all the lessons God wants us to get before we leave this place is that the people matter more than anything. And even before that, that God is a people too. and if we get Him wrong, nothing else matters. I guess another way to say it, since God is love is that if we get Love wrong, we get everything else wrong.

Ultimately, how we perceive Him will determine where we spend the rest of eternity in that place where the curse is lifted forever. And sorrow and sighing are only a distant memory.


Waiting in Hope, (even when you don’t feel very hopeful)


Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Saturday evening after work, I was drained. I was out of gas. I was trying to get home and traffic was crazy as usual. I left the freeway due to a detour and I was following the detour signs though I didn’t have to, I knew where I was. Sometimes it’s nice when you are forced off four lanes. The tension of the day was still knotted into my shoulders yet as I looked to my left I was hit with a jaw dropping sunset. Then I had one of those really deep theological sounding prayers that goes like this:

Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, thank you.

And on the heels of that prayer the quiet thought came to rest deep in my soul, “How can I feel hopeless when I know the originator of that astounding light?”

Yet, we can. The world has a way of sapping our strength.

Yet in those times when the flame of our faith flickers low, we have the assurance of knowing the source behind that flame will never die. Our strength resides in the waiting and the trusting that He’s still there, and that the foundation we stand upon is firm. Our faith carries us even when we are not feeling particularly hopeful because we know our sense of hopelessness is temporary. And in the waiting, we grow stronger.

I took the exit that led me to Wal-Mart because I needed to get some things before I went home, and it was madness. I had forgotten that it was “Lost Dutchman Days” in Apache Junction this weekend. That means 20,000 extra people in our humble town. I think every single one of them was at Wal-Mart, along with me.

I steered through the crowds, weaving in and out like a person possessed. I ran while God whispered. He pointed out the daffodils poking their sunny heads out of the ugly black buckets. He knows they always make me smile. And He elbowed me to see the little stuffed cat that looked just like the one that my niece carried with her from the time she was very small…….it made me think of a sweet time in her life and mine.


The next morning was Sunday, and I still felt hung-over from the work-week. I gave myself a time-out. I tried to go out and pray and my prayers hit a Teflon ceiling. I sat in the silence aware of nothing but my own gloomy disposition. My candle flickered for nothing, it seemed.

Blowing on the embers, I dug out an old Praise CD from 1989, the ones you hardly hear anymore in church. I lit candles, I read and whiled away the day in my sweats. I finished a book and started another. It felt good. But I still didn’t feel hopeful. My Dad called, and told me about a wonderful testimony in church he heard. Three sisters baptized and the oldest girl, 18, had everyone in tears with her words.

He almost didn’t go. In fact, he took my Prayer Closet book out to his swing and out fell the two pages that Elaine found that sad day in the parking lot of the rest home. Those words, still giving him the hope that they gave her when she first found them. Read about it here.

And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10,11

This is what gives us hope even when the world tries its best to snatch it away. This morning, I awoke to hope again. It never really went anywhere. It was just waiting for me to receive it again. Sometimes you just have to wait in the expectation of hope, even when you don’t feel very hopeful.