Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mercies Are New

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning: GREAT is thy faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:22, 23

I can't remember when I have called out on the mercies of the Lord more than in these recent days. By now, the world has heard of the devastating tragedy that has happened at the YWAM-Denver base. On Sunday, December 9, two of my fellow YWAMmers lost their lives as a young man pulled out a gun and shot them. There is no way, this side of eternity, to make sense of this.

Tiffany Johnson and Phil Crouse are heroes. They laid their lives down, way before this gunman took their lives. They had counted the cost of following Jesus. They were willing to go to the ends of the earth with the good news of Jesus Christ. They were also willing, in wisdom, to say "No" to a young man. In doing so, they most likely saved the lives of many other YWAMmers located in that building.

As YWAM leaders here, Todd and I have walked through some of this with our staff and students, praying for our extended family. We all are impacted in some way. Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission, said, "Although YWAM is spread all around the world, we are not only a ministry but a family, and this touches each of us very personally."

Our new neighbor came over to offer condolences and to offer to help in any way. Also, to check on our group here, as she cares for us so much. Our sales consultant at AT&T could only say, "I am so sorry." People have called to pray with us and just to say, I am so sorry.

Again, there are no explanations to this tragedy. We pray for the families of Phil and Tiffany, as they walk through these days, weeks, years. I offer no answers, only open arms to comfort, ears to listen and heart to cry and mourn this tremendous loss.

I do know this...God is Faithful. He is Just. He is Loving. He is Compassionate. He is Kind. He is Holy. He is Trustworthy. He is full of Grace. He is Merciful. He is a keeper of promises.

He says that his love never ceases. He says that his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness. His mercies are new to us today.

I will continue to walk out in proclaiming the faithfulness and holiness of my God. I will continue to challenge young people to lay their lives down, to Go!, to make an impact on a world in great need of a Saviour! And, to draw on His mercies that are new every morning!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Out of Darkness

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light."
-I Peter 2:9

Well, it started out innocent enough...

December is one of my top twelve favorite months. This one is different than all the others in that I want to bake every single day! There are so many cozy, sweet memories for me in that. I love the smell of fresh bread and cookies filling the air. Anticipation of a warm cookie and glass of milk...or cocoa. Mmmm...

Anyway, yesterday I preheated the oven and started making some fresh bread. I opened the oven and it was cold. Oh no! Not today! Not any day, especially in December!!! Being quick on my feet, I thought I would set it to cleaning...just to see if that would heat it up. No such luck. In my valiant efforts, I now have locked my oven door. It will not open.

After a few hours, another great idea comes to me...read the manual. (Who would have thought?) I found nothing that would help my situation except to call the repair man. But, in my reading, there was a picture of how to open the panel to the bottom of my stove so that it can be cleaned! Are you kidding? I had never read this before. All these years, I have just stuck a broom under there to get what I could. Here, I could have been easily opening the panel. ("Who knew?" I ask myself. "All the people who read the manual!" I answer myself.)

Well, I am embarrassed to say (and yet I do) that the panel came off and 10 years of cheerios, goldfish crackers, golf balls and super nasty things greeted me. Those who know me, know that I love to clean and I love having clean spaces. This was disgustingly dirty.

I quickly got my cleaning tools out and got busy. As I was cleaning, I thought of the unclean places in my heart...the areas that no one knows about...maybe an area that I have been avoiding, or a place that I was simply unaware of. What ever the case may be, the "author of the manual" knows about it and how it should be maintained.

Just because I did not know about the area under the stove does not mean that it does not exist. If I had thoroughly read the manual, I would have known. I could have been cleaning this space out on a regular basis. It would not have gotten so nasty.

Lord, I want my heart to be cleaned on a regular basis, to be maintained! I want to know the manual so well, that whenever you look in the obscure spaces, you will find it pristine. Thank you for bringing things out of the dark and into your marvelous light.

Needless to say, my oven is on hiatus until the repair man can come next week. When he comes, he may be surprised at how clean I keep the underside of my stove.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Flowers in My Garden

Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said, "Friendship is a sheltering tree."

Beautiful. Poetic. True.

I like to think of friendship as a garden and my friends the flowers that give it beauty, poetry, truth. I had the privilege of celebrating an amazing friend on her 40th birthday a few weeks ago. She is a flower that EVERYONE wants in their garden. (It was evident by the 90 people in attendance at her "Girlfriends Luncheon"). We had such a blast! Yummy, pretty food in abundance. Laughter filling the rafters and pouring out the doors. Crafting everywhere...each guest could scrap a page for Kimberly's book, make a purse, a key chain, a pair of earrings. I was able to share a bit about friendship at this gathering. I shared my thoughts on "Gardening". As you look around your garden, what do you see? Are there vibrant colors? Do you see diversity? What about a plant that you have had for years...it is probably yielding little off shoots of itself. (I think of these as friends that have become yours because of another friend!) There are things that will keep your garden from being all that it was intended to be...weeds like gossip, judgements, jealousy. It does not take a lot to keep up the garden...simply consistency. Make sure to water, weed and tend. The rewards are so breathtaking.

Some flowers are delicate, yet sturdy. Some need very little care and are sometimes the most exquisite. Others multiply like crazy. No matter where I look, I find I am surrounded by beauty. Lord, thank you for this amazing garden! I am truly grateful.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I remember a conversation with my dad years ago...My sister and I had had an "altercation" and I was talking to my dad about it. He said. "Listen, there is enough fighting going on outside of these walls. This house will be a place of peace. A place where all of us will find safety." He went on to say that we each had a responsiblility to make sure that our house was a place where we could find refuge from the outside...where others could find refuge. As the years went by, our house really was that place. Even after I went off to college, my friends still came by to hang out with my parents!

Looking back, my grandparents house was very much like that as well. When we would pull into the driveway, you could almost smell the coffee and goodies. We were always greeted at the door by Grandma and Grandpa. As we approached the door, we could hear her call to Grandpa, "George, the girls are here!" By the time the door openned, they were both there to hug and kiss us. Memories offer up plenty of glasses of milk, original Goldfish crackers, sweet rolls and Ritz crackers with cheddar cheese...coffee for the grownups, sugar cubes dipped in Grandpa's coffee for the girls!

We have affectionately called our home "Hamewith". Hamewith is a word that comes from Scotland, meaning "to be at home there, a place of peace." Our desire is that our children, family, friends and "soon to be friends" would find our home to be a place of peace, a place to be at home.

Elsie De Wolfe said, "It is not the home I love, but the life that is lived there."

Oh, may the life that we live here be pleasing...

This Amazing Journey

I am so grateful for my life! I am so grateful for the journey that the Lord has laid out for me and my family. As missionaries with Youth With A Mission, we have been placed in an incredible community, we have adventures of a life time, we are exposed to wonderful people and opportunities.

Todd and I met in 1985 in Kona, Hawaii, where we did our Discipleship Training School. Fast forward a few years to an unsuspecting carriage ride through Central Park in NYC, falling snow, carolers, two people in love and a wedding proposal that I could not say no to.

Fast forward again, 18 countries later, 2 kids, challenges of life on earth, joys found in everyday miracles, learning to say thank you for every single thing, living in Monroe, North Carolina...This Amazing Journey!

Through this blog, I hope to share with you the ups and downs, the adventures and "misadventures" of our life as we walk out in our calling, learning more and more, day by day how to be more like Jesus.

Slip on your flip flops, tie your shoes, pull up your boots...whatever foot wear you prefer...and join us on This Amazing Journey. We are glad you are here.