I Stand Amazed


Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:6, The Message 

As I write this, a bit of the disbelief and wonder still surrounds me at the circumstances which brought about my sudden retirement from the company where I had spent the last 20 years. If you would have told me a month ago I would be sitting here writing this with my career at Intel behind me, I would have said you were crazy. I had been thinking about it, praying about it, wrestling with it seriously over for the past year, and had even set a date for December or January of this year. I just didn’t think it would be this soon.

And so many times, I had held this verse in my heart and tried to live it, asking God for a definitive Yes or No, Yea or Nay, some kind of deciding factor that would push me one way or another and let me have the confidence I wanted to know I had made the right decision. And then, this……

We had all heard rumors about the layoffs and cuts at Intel, but of course we had weathered all these before. Yet this time, soon after the announcement was made, the roll-out was swift. Suddenly, people we had worked with for years were gone. Everyone was a bit shell-shocked. And then I got the enhanced retirement offer and I knew it was what I had been praying for just a month before. And it was more than I could have hoped for.

And I stand amazed at how good God is. And not because it worked out for me, but because God is always good. Yet sometimes, He does something that so flat-out astounds you with His timing and how perfect it is you know without a doubt it came from Him. I want to stress that it’s nothing I did. There is no formula ever, to guarantee things will fall in line with how we pray. I don’t believe in that kind of gospel.

What I do believe is that sometimes God rewards the one who clings to His word and hangs on for dear life even when there is no evidence whatsoever that an answer lies just beyond the bend.

Here is what I wrote in my prayer journal today:

Thank you God. You fill me with wonder. You became a flesh and blood God well acquainted with suffering and grief and tears and yet still vast and unknowable and full of mystery; able to create this whole universe with a word. I stand amazed that you died because you wanted to save my life and you thought that maybe if you did that, we could have a chance to be together forever. You removed the intimidation factor that might have kept us apart and you brought me near at the foot of the cross. You confounded the minds of the best and the brightest in your short time on earth and shattered their hearts because when they came face to face with you, they knew what they lacked was not intelligence or religion but love. You made them see that all their efforts were worthless because they were blinded by the pride that didn’t let them see you for who you were. Forgive me Lord for those times when love gets left out of my own actions. You have led me with patience and love and picked me up when I could go no further so many times. Thank you for loving me even in my great weakness and failure and for your grace that is greater than all my sin. I stand amazed.

So now I am on this different path and it’s scary at times, but I know He’s got us. It’s a new chapter and I find comfort in the fact that He will be in this next one as well. He was gracious enough to let me make my personal goal of 20 years with the company and reward me at the end.

I stand amazed.

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.

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.


Lent day 3: For the overworked and underwhelmed.

My future belongs to Him


My post today is for all the “doers” out there. You know who you are.

While the rest of us are sitting around scratching our heads trying to figure out which direction to go, you’ve already finished the task and finished it well. For you, there is a line drawn out for every day, and each day you put yourself at the end of it while propelling others forward.

While we ruminate, pontificate, busily arranging our words by the light of the blue screen or the bedside table, you “doers” are working behind the scenes and on the front lines, doing all the stuff that wouldn’t get done otherwise.

And they aren’t just meaningless tasks to you, for love is the force that motivates each one.

You might think what you do isn’t noticed.The world may not applaud you for it seeks the loud, the brash, the flashy. And though your glory sings as bright as the sun, too much of the time it reverberates against empty walls. It can be a lonely place. You make it look so easy and effortless that when you finally collapse against the burden everyone around you is shocked into silence.

You find yourself identifying with the Psalmist when he questions, wondering where your help is coming from. You long for the times when life was simple. You crave that rest for the body, mind, soul and spirit that Jesus talked about.

Know that He understands. In fact, He was one of those “doers” while He was on earth. There were times when He longed to get away from the demands of life, the press of the crowds. And He did. He knew the value of hiding Himself away for a time to be with His Father.

I don’t know about you, but I can really identify with that Jesus. As much as I like the group I work with, there are times when I would much rather work with a roomful of cats or dogs. I don’t think Jesus ever felt like that.

But He did feel like you. Right now where you sit, stand, or work. Sit idle for just a moment. Take a breath and expect that peace to come. He will hollow out a little place of peace in your soul so that you can go on. He has promised it, and He never breaks His promises.

And take heart, for everything you do has the weight of eternity behind it, God says it will last forever.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42

Image from Google

Of Iphones and Idols……


Just the other day I was sitting at my workstation glancing idly at my IPhone and one of our bosses asked me if I was “one of those people” hooked on social media. I had to pause for a moment and smile remembering the time B.I. (Before iPhone/iPad) entered my life. And I confess, I caught myself feeling a little bit defensive, like tiny little fists were rising up from somewhere inside. “Well, I used to” I said, “when I first got my iPhone.”

I remember the day clearly. She was going out to get a new cell phone and asked what I wanted since both of us were on the same phone plan. “Oh,” I said,  “I don’t care, just get me a cheapo. I really don’t use the one I have.” At that time I had a little flip phone which was red and cute and mostly it just layed there unless it rang.

About 2 hours later, she came home triumphant and smiling, white Apple store baggies swinging from each arm. She held them aloft and despite myself I was curious.”I got one for you too!” She said. I opened the box and It gleamed at me from its little resting place. It could have been my imagination but I think it might have winked at me.

We were like little kids. well, mostly I was. Me, miss “I don’t care what you get” had turned into a full-fledged IPhone junky. These weren’t just cell phones, these were iPhones after all. The portent of change was crackling in the air.

Finally, I had it in my possession; all backed up, synced and ready to use, I felt a little bit like Mary Lennox when she first discovered the Secret Garden. This was a window to an entirely new world. I was enraptured with all the Apps I could get. And they were free for goodness sake.

I jumped in with both feet. Or both thumbs as it were. I was texting for the first time in my life. This was better than shopping. I got an Instagram account, then I joined Twitter. Later I discovered Pinterest and before I knew it I had over 3000 pins. I got an iPad for my Birthday. I was irrevocably hooked.

I kept trying to convince my Mom that technology and computers are not the Antichrist. When I went back home I would show her things to prove my point. She didn’t budge; though I did sense a weakening in her resolve when I showed her the You Version Bible App.

It was all wonderful until the day my best friend looked up at me with a hurt expression. “We don’t talk anymore.” She had been suffering in silence, carrying a burden I could have helped her bear, but I was too busy to see it. That pulled me up short.

After that I learned to keep a more balanced perspective. I have backed off from some things. Along the way I have learned that technology and social media have indeed enriched my life in ways I never expected. But all things in moderation. Technology is not evil in itself, despite what some believe. Like anything else, it has tremendous capacity to be used for good and evil.

With the help of technology and social media, we have the added blessing of casting our net a bit wider and extending our circle of Grace. It’s a wonderful thing. But it must never come at the expense of the people in our lives. The ones we live with, the ones who need to know we are still there.

I’m sharing this story as part of The High Calling’s community link-up. You can add your voice to the “Technology at Work” conversation here.

Photo credit: www.Icanhascheeseburger.com

Making Pancakes for Jesus

The Doctor will see you now....

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Every once in a while, well a lot, God reminds me not to take myself too seriously. Today He gave me this post. I started to continue with Isaiah 53 and get all heavy and sad and introspective, but then God switched things up on me because last night I had this dream. Anyone who knows me knows I have very strange dreams. Anyone close to me gets to hear the details sometimes, and sometimes, like today you readers. All 2 or 10 or maybe 20 of you.

Sometimes I dream about funny little cars with no bottoms, like the Flintstones drove. Other times it is my teeth falling out. Other times it sweeping a floor or getting ready for a party that I never get to. Many times water will be rushing through my house, other times I will be climbing ladders and dark, steep passageways.

Last night it was pancakes. To those who know about the semi-conductor industry or wafer fabrication industry, you know that the chips in your computers start out in round wafers which come in different millimeters and sizes. When I started out in 1998, the wafers were about 6 inches in diameter. We actually had to manually move them around with vacuum wands. Now everything is fully automated and humans never touch them.

Last night my wafers turned into pancakes. I was in an area as big as a very large room with different cooking stations set up, kind of like something you’d see on Iron Chef, with and pancakes in various stages of cooking on each one. I had to remember which ones were close to being done so I could flip them.

What does this have to do with Jesus, you say? On the way to work I was thinking that in light of what Jesus did for us? What we are doing down here pretty much boils down to making pancakes. I don’t care if you’re the President of a major corporation or the President of the United States, we are all just making pancakes.

The question is not what we are doing, but how we are doing it. That is all that matters to God.

God is not impressed with what we do. He is impressed by how we are doing it and who are we doing it for, and if we are doing it with love. I guess it’s easy for me not to take myself too seriously. Everytime I call my Mom and kinda, sorta, almost complain, she tells me about someone she heard about who was orphaned and has no arms and has to do everything with their feet, and they still went to night-school and raised 5 kids while doing it.

That may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

So today, in light of the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for us? That whatever we do, wherever we go, whatever we think looks insurmountable or really impressive?

It all comes down to making pancakes to the glory of God. (Latkes in Yiddish and Levivot in Hebrew)

I pray that you will forgive my lighthearted approach leading up to Good Friday. It is a day that I always take extremely seriously. I will doing some reflecting over the next couple of days, as I always do. But always, with the backdrop of the joy of the celebration foremost in my mind.

May God light your path today and lift your heart as we celebrate His death, burial and more importantly His resurrection this week.

Photo credit: my niece Lauryn Cook taken by her Dad. I used it because it always makes me smile.