Monday, May 16, 2011


Psalm 42 is a psalm of longing. It says As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee, and many other beautiful words of longing.

One thing to note is that the longing is not something that needs to be worked up or sought after, it simply is. So it is with our longing after God. Our souls yearn for him, even when we are not in tune with that yearning.

Our lives are incredibly busy. My husband and I talk almost every day about when our lives will be simpler. After Christmas we said, well no, but after our first big Valentines day it will get simpler, or maybe not, but surely after Holy Week things will slow down. Well not really, maybe after Josh’s graduation, no, but really after Jubilee it will all be better…except then there’s…fill in the blank for yourself…

Our lives are not simple and frankly I don’t think they are going to be simple. Ever…

I say this not to discourage you, but to say that sometimes life has to be lived in the “in betweens” I think we have to stop looking to the horizon for a return to the idyllic. Our lives are not days of labor that end neatly at five o’clock and evenings spent on the porch watching the sun set, feeling the wafting breeze and talking with passing neighbors after a leisurely dinner. Instead, our lives are seemingly endless rounds of surrender to the tyranny of the urgent.

There is however, a respite. The moments in the “in between.”  For my devotional, we are going to live in one of those moments.

I am going to lead you in a meditation. Funny word meditation, it has so many negative connotations, but can really be quite powerful if you get beyond the stereotype. So take this as a moment of rest and peace.

So, first we will start with some music. Something instrumental so your thoughts are not drawn away. Get comfortable. Lay your head back and close your eyes. Take a deep breath, hold it for a second and let it out all the way down to your toes. Feel all of that breath leave you. Good. Now breath deeply, but normally. 

Start with this picture. Think back to a time you spent by a lake. Its early morning and it doesn’t even hurt that you are up at the crack of dawn. You put on your favorite hoodie sweatshirt, grab a warm cup of your favorite beverage and head out to the dock. You sneak out the door so that you don’t disturb the family. You are completely alone in the silence. The morning fog chases your feet as you walk. The loons cry somehow adds to the stillness instead of taking it away. Your steps on the old dock creek as only old, worn wood can.  Your fingers are warming around your cup. The sip warms your insides and you feel it all the way down, warmth spreads through you. You sit at the end of dock and your tennies nearly brush the surface of the water. The new sun shines on your face, it is so real in the stillness, you feel it like a caress on your cheek. As you sit there, stillness fills your whole being…and you hear these words.

I have loved you with an everlasting love.

I have called you by name and you are mine.

The deepest places in me, call out to the deepest places in you.

I am with you

I will be your light, when all around you is darkness

Put your hope in me when despair plagues your steps

I am loving

I am faithful

I am your strength when your own strength fails

I will comfort you when life betrays you

I will be your shelter when you are alone

I knit you together and put myself in the very fabric of your being. You are made like me… You are made by me… and you are made for me… and I love you.

Your eyes open to the light of the full dawn. You don’t even know when they closed. You sigh and listen to the last lingering notes of the music you didn’t know you were hearing.

Your soul is filled. The longing is stilled.

You have lived in the moment “in between” and God has met you there.

One of the things that inspired this devotional was a quick conversation I heard between Jon and Pastor Carl. They were talking about how hard it is to still your mind enough to “Be still and know that he is God.” And I wanted to share with you one of the ways that I use to find that stillness in the brief moments that life allows us. I hope you found a moment. 


I was at a fascinating restaurant the other day, it was called Brasa.
It was as simple as it gets; metal tables in a semi-sweltering room,
open to the outside at every available crevice, a beautiful but teeny
patio with umbrellas and a cool breeze, and an hour long wait. The food
was reported to be delicious and worth the wait.

The hostess was a little girl, well, she looked like a little girl to me, but I’m
fairly certain I have lost all sense of age. She was probably in her
very late teens or early twenties. She had hot pink canvas tennies with
one tongue cut out over a new tattoo and reddish curly hair bunched up
in a band on the top of her head. She was that scary skinny that most
teens seem to be these days. As a table opened, she bussed and wiped
each one while watching the door for new customers. Then she would run
around to each person on her extensive waiting list and ask if they
wanted a table indoors or if they were going to wait for the patio. She
continued the process until she found someone who was willing to sit
inside. She repeated this pattern as the occupants of each table
finished their dinner.

During the long wait and into our leisurely dinner, she became increasingly stressed. 
She had several tables to bus and one demanding, waiting, patron who was doing the
restaurant equivalent of “are we there yet” and repeatedly asking her
how soon until they were seated. She still treated everyone with
respect, but you could see the tension ratcheting up with each passing
moment. We were commenting on how huge her job was and how exhausted
she must be at the end of the night, when my brother (in-law) called
her over. Her thoughts showed on her face and you could tell she
thought John was going to give her grief about something. He looked her
in the eyes and said, “You are doing a great job, but you need to
stop…take a deep breath…and relax for one second. Then you can go back
to work.” As he spoke and she paused to breathe, you could see the
tension roll off her shoulders and a peace steal over her. She went
right back at it, but was more serene and not so driven.

I wonder how often God wants to say the same to us as we run around in
our crazy busy lives, forgetting to breathe, forgetting to love,
forgetting to live. Imagine the Father saying to you, “you are doing a
great job, but you need to stop…take a deep breath…and relax for one
second.” Something in us immediately jumps to the “but I’m not doing a
great job, look at me, I’m so busy I can’t even keep my days straight,
much less work on a vibrant, growing relationship with God!”

Stop. Breathe. Relax.

The Bible talks about our “well done,” it comes from somewhere else. Romans
3:22-24 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. You are doing a great

The pace of our lives seems to grow on a daily basis. Once
upon a time, you got up, ate breakfast together, went to work or school
and came home to dinner together. Now it seems we can barely remember
the names of the people we live with and love. We are ships passing in
the night, and that is only our private lives. In the world, we have a
very fast moving government, a slow moving economy and uncertainty
every time we hear the news. Stop. Breathe. Relax. The Bible says it
this way. John 16:33 (BBE) I have said all these things to you so that
in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take
heart! I have overcome the world.

Just like that young girl at the restaurant, take a moment to hear. 
“You are doing a great job, but you need to stop…take a deep breath…
and relax for one second.” Take a moment to just breathe for a second 
and then go on about your day and
the many things you do in life, with His peace and His rest on your
shoulders. Remember, Jesus is here, and he asks you to

By the way, the food really WAS worth the wait!
777 Grand Avenue
Hours:St. Paul, MN. 55105
11am - 10 pm 7 days a week
651-224-1302 info / private parties 651-224-1628 take out

Let's Revisit the Pedestrian Rant

This is a revisit of an earlier post. And it deserves another look because IT KEEPS HAPPENING!

Okay, I am finally going to do it. My first “remember when” rant; this is the final nail in the oh crap I am not 20 anymore coffin. So here goes. 

Remember when pedestrian just meant a person who was trying to stay out of your way while going from point A to point B? When did these creatures turn into out of control monsters who sole purpose in life is to make sure I am shaking and terrified spitless every time I leave a parking lot? 

Take yesterday for example. Little did I know that my trip to Target was going to turn into psychological warfare. I did my usual going in for toothpaste, which costs $3 and coming out with bags of stuff that costs $50 instead, and I was ready to leave the parking lot. would think. 

I carefully and responsibly packed my bags in the truck, rather than in the rearview window, because I am a conscientious driver and wanted clear lines of site – noble of me I thought. I got in the car, started the engine and didn’t even turn on the radio because I haven’t had one in 7 years, my new car has one, and I wanted to be silent in respect for the backing out procedure. I put the car in reverse, which I know engages the little white lights that mean “Hey, I’m backing out here!” I even checked later after the trauma to make sure they work – they do. I carefully checked both directions, remembering, it’s motorcycle season, then I proceeded to back. Then BAM! suddenly there are two people walking directly behind my car, completely oblivious to me, and chatting up a storm. I slam on the breaks and think bad thoughts. Then I attempt the maneuver again. This time it’s a woman and her stroller. “Really lady? Not only are you going to walk behind a moving car, but you’re pushing your progeny into the path first?” I made it about six inches that time. 

Now I am about 10 inches into the lane, it is quite obvious that I am backing out my car. By this time I am afraid to move. I am still between the two SUVs, because ITS ALWAYS SUVs!, and I can’t see. Now comes the faith in God part, because now I’m praying like this. “Lord, I just want to go home without maiming someone or bumping my new car on something and apparently I need divine intervention to do so - HELP!” 

I continue backing; a car streaks behind my half backed up car because apparently the apocalypse will come if he is not out of the lot before I finish backing up. Never knew I had such cosmic might. Now I can see about 2 inches of true viewing from my windows, you know the ones WAY UP FRONT, one more time I check both ways and finally, shattered, shaken and speed dialing a therapist, I am free! 

In the good old days before some bureaucrat gave pedestrians the right-of-way, people were a little more genteel about it. They would cross the lane to walk behind the opposite cars when they saw the little white lights, not difficult, but kind, to the poor frazzled car-backer. They also would not saunter across, they would MOVE! I miss that. In my darker moments, I envy the European countries that get to run over their miscreant pedestrians – but only in my darkest hours (insert ominous movie music here). 

Ah well, be safe out there people, was something we only had to say to the police and firemen, but now, I say it to you. “Be safe out there people, and watch out for pedestrians; and yes, they ARE out to get you!”

This is how Rumors Get Started

Under the heading of “This is how rumors get started.”

Let me begin with an understatement. I am NOT a morning person. Thankfully, my poor morning person husband finds my inability to articulate words or remember anything before 10am, delightfully funny (please God let that last the next 50 years).

To continue the story, Sunday mornings begin really early for me. Me+5:30am=ugly.

So I pulled on this pair of black pants that have always been a bit snug. To add insult to injury (5:30am did I mention that?) they were a little snugger-er…sigh. I’m leaning heavily on my First Year of Marriage and all the stuff you get to get away with. One of them being that you get to gain some weight; I hear it’s like 10 whole pounds! I have not gained that much, or those pants would have laughed at me. I know they would have, because in my weakened morning state, I think I might actually hallucinate. So far, they have only giggled.

I report on the pants to say that I am already going to church with a bit of sensitivity about my current weight. At the 8am service, people were happily wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day and I was enjoying it. At 9:15am everything changed. One dear woman said the words that sent me and my tight pants spinning. She said “Congratulations, I was excited to hear.” I said, “Hear what?” “That you have a baby on the way.” Now honestly my first thought was that my cats are all spayed, so there were no kittens on the way that I knew of. No, seriously! Those were my first thoughts. I could not think of any other possible way that there could be a baby on the way for me. No, I do not need sex education, I said it was morning AND before 10am. I was not running on all cylinders.

Then it hit me! It’s those darn 5 pounds! I look pregnant in these pants! Oh my gosh I still have hours before I can go home and burn them!! All this went through my head in a split second. When she added “When are you due,” I actually looked down at my stomach as if expecting a 9 month old baby to be emerging from it. I was imagining something like the Alien flicks where there really is something emerging from her stomach and goo everywhere. Thankfully, my pudgy little tummy appeared no worse for wear.

After quickly noting that I was not expecting; kittens or otherwise, I did what every brave 5 pound gaining women would do and I hid in the tech booth. Fortunately, I was running sound so I had a reason to be there. Unfortunately, the nature of my job does not leave room for much hiding. After the second person congratulated me on my impending obstetrical encounter, I swore off eating and was pretty much over the whole day (until some woman handed me a flyer with peanut M&M’s attached. Who does that!! Can’t you see I’m hanging by a thread here?!?! Are you TRYING to make me look pregnant???) After my delicious M&M break I felt much better (no emotional eating here!) and started to see the funny side of this…ummm…sort of…

The third person finally added the words that saved my sanity and my black pants. “I saw on Facebook that this is your first Mothers Day, congratulations, when are you due?” You know that scene in Lord of the Rings when everyone is surrounded by Orcs and all hope is lost and Gandalf rides over the hill with light streaming behind him and pouring from his staff? I have lived that moment. “OH!” I cried! That’s why everyone thinks I’m pregnant! Oh thank you God! Its not because I’m getting fat, it’s because I started my own rumor!!

So, to clear up the rumor, may I calmly say thank you for all the well wishes, however, I am not pregnant. My beloved (and widowed) husband came equipped with children. I have three wonderful boys that I gained with no labor, no pushing and no diaper changing and I like it like that! They are 23, 21 and 16 years old and they gave me a great Mother’s Day!

It was my first, ya know!