The Tune

A classic, and well worth listening to if you’ve got the time:

Larry Norman –

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Unashamed Desire

I posted this many months ago, but I wanted to bring it to the top of the blog again. These thoughts have come up in conversation lately with other bloggers and non bloggers, so I share it with you again.


Unashamed Desire

I have fallen in love many times in my life. At least, I think so. The heart fluttering, sweaty palms kind of nausea that we come to recognize as falling hard. I have never been a man, but I imagine these feelings are similar for them. I have watched otherwise normal men I know get really foolish in the presence of women and can only imagine they are ready to buckle any minute. It’s great! If only it could be bottled and sprayed on every morning, the aroma of that kind of fresh new love would sustain us all through each crazy moment!

I remember the night I met my husband, I didn’t actual fall in love….I jumped feet first towards it and landed hard! And then I pursued this man. I called him all the time. I sent him balloons. I worked night shift and would stay up all day if it meant I’d get to hang out with him for a while. I memorized his voice, the way he walked, and I couldn’t get the thought of him out of my head. The first time he held me I nearly fainted, I felt so safe. He’d say things to me and I’d believe everything he told me about myself. He told me I was pretty, I was fun and one day that he loved me. I was relentless about wanting to be with him in every imaginable way. Nothing else in my agenda mattered if the promise of his time was there. I wanted to get to know everything about him. To learn his likes, his dislikes and what his dreams were. Every day I was excited to learn something new and I couldn’t wait to build a future with him!

I have begun to feel that unabashed, unembarrassed, anxious, impatient desire again. This time though,not with any man, but with my God. Jeremiah 1 says that before I was even a thought in a woman’s mind, He knew me. It doesn’t say that I was an afterthought or that I was someone He’d like to get to know, but that He already KNEW me! Wahoo! He has always known me, now I want to know him. He wants that too, and has made it really simple for me to do. In my hands, I hold His words and thoughts. He has written me a love letter and each morning I read another page. I have begun to read His Word as though it was written just for me. Each letter penned with love and a passionate desire for me to learn to know Him and everything He dreams of. I want to immerse myself in Him. Not only to hide His words in my heart in order to stay blameless, but to turn to his Word for everything. My first answer to any question should come from His heart, not my own. I want to drown in his love, to breathe out everything that I breathe in from his letter to me. Each night as I lay down, I tell Him that I can’t wait to talk with Him again in the morning, and the excitement I get when He wakes me is awesome! It’s that fresh new love, sweaty palms, crazy excited feeling again. I can’t wait to hear what fantastic thing He’ll teach me about my life and his desires today.

I have found in Him my perfect friend, wholly sovereign authority in my life and the lover of my soul. In the words of Moses to the Lord, “You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”

The Love of the Father

In early October, 2006, a man walked into an Amish school armed with rifles, pistols and deep pain. No one will ever understand why he chose to execute a group of young Amish girls; we don’t need to. It is the aftermath of that day that will live forever in the lives of so many people all over the world and the consequences of his deeds are far reaching in ways that no one expected.

Three nights ago, Andy and I witnessed God’s healing and grace in action. We were invited to visit with a little 8 year old girl who bears the scars of that day in October. I will call her Miss S. Andy was one of the people who treated her that day. I remember the evening after the shooting, he was telling me how feisty she was. With the extent of her injuries, he tried to intubate her to help her to breathe and she kept pushing him away. He desperately hoped that meant she would make it through. She did. And when we walked into her kitchen she ran up to him and laughingly said, “I look better than I did the last time you saw me!”

As we sat in their living room, we heard her father’s stories of how brave she was, how miraculous her healing and what an impact she had on the staff at the hospital who worked with her. He told of daily visits to the hospital, relying on others to drive them. Only on Sundays were they unable to be with her. Aunts, grandfather and parents; someone was always with her. As he spoke, tears threatened to fall, but he had a never ending smile on his face as he watched his daughter. Their family also lost a daughter to a bullet, but they do not dwell on her pain or death. They focus on the miracle walking around their house.

While we were there, two other families stopped by to visit. They didn’t know we would be there, it was just their normal visiting night. God planned it though, I am sure. One couple lost their daughter that day. Another man was a first responder and a member of their church and knew the girls. He had been the first to aid the little one Andy took care of.

The living room was crowded with chairs for the 8 adults and we counted nearly 12 children from age 12 to 4 weeks running in and out of the room. Listening to the Amish men speak of their experiences that day and reliving their roles was so healing for us. They asked questions of each other. “Where were you?”  “What happened next?” and “When did you find out who passed away?”.  They discussed helicopters, the speed of the police cars responding and the dynamics of the whole event in very factual terms. I felt as though I was sitting in a group therapy session. Nearly six months later, and these parents still pour out their memories and questions to eachother in order to unload their grief.

The most incredible moment for me was a conversation between the first responder and a mother whose daughter had died. He said he had been struggling with the fact that he could have identified each of the girls and let their parents know which hospital their child was sent to or what their physical condition was. But he didn’t, and it wasn’t until much later that night that parents knew the fate of their children.  The mother of the slain girl looked at him and said, “If I had known what had happend to (her), that she had passed away, I would have left the school and gone home. Instead, I stayed with my friends and waited. I am glad you didn’t tell me or I would have been alone all day.”

In our Sunday School class we are studying what Mennonites believe. Woven into all that discussion is the idea of community as a place to study scripture, learn and work together. These Amish families that night embodied that perfectly. They relied on each other to hold them up each day and listening to them talk together for hours about thier experiences was healing for them and for Andy and I.

Miss S never stopped smiling or kissing me after she opened the gift we brought her. Her father noted that the hospital wasn’t able to take the “silly” out of her when they removed part of her brain! His obvious love for her was palpable.

Both of her parents repeatedly stated that without God carrying them through they would have cracked up. They have received hundreds of letters and cards from around the world from people who want to live their lives differently and with less anger now that they have witnessed forgiveness and grace from the Amish parents. To them, that makes it all worthwhile. They even received word of a country closed to the Bible that was allowed to view footage of the event and send their condolences through their government controlled mail system. The idea that the murder of little Amish girls in rural Lancaster county touched the lives of people behind a communist curtain was amazing to their parents and made God so much more evident in the aftermath.

Miss S’s father asked me if I thought the effect of this would continue or if it was just a short lived “one day” ripple of grace. I told him that I think that his children and the children in his community will be testament to Christ for the rest of their lives. I believe that.

The love of a father for his children so close to the love of The Father for us. Amazing grace and peace where there could be so much anger and fear.

The new school building is nearly ready and the kids are excited to use it. That building itself is a testament to faith and trust.

We healed that night a little, I know Andy did. So did the parents we met with and the children playing around us. Miss S has a brand new baby sister to love and 6 brothers to take care of her. She is a little bit of a celebrity and a very happy little girl. Her scars are hidden with a new head of hair and her vision is returning to normal. She bears little outward scars of the fearful events of that day in October and inwardly, I think she’s just fine.

Amazing Grace

The idea of grace is so hard for humans to imagine. We go through our lives protecting ourselves from hurt and deception. When someone, especially someone we love, deeply wounds us, we find forgiveness to be a daily struggle. But grace, unfettered and unattached is even harder to fathom.  Throughout the past months I have found myself in a position of receiving grace daily from my God. As I cling to my anger I find him chipping away at it; reminding me that I don’t deserve any better. Grace is forgiveness in action. Sometimes that requires reopening old wounds to find out how to heal them again more fully this time.  It is never easy, never painless and never fun.  But it is intensely freeing.

I remember my first and only Grateful Dead concert.  There were people on the grass in front of the band called “spinners.”  They would extend their arms, get up on their tiptoes and just spin around and around with the music with their faces pointed towards the sky.  Granted, they were likely higher than kites, but even so, I found them so beautiful to watch.  Like nothing else in the world mattered except the music soaring over their heads. Todd Agnew has a song which has become the theme for my life right now. Whenever the chorus hits, I feel like standing in my bare feet on a beach and spinning and spinning while grace like rain falls down on my head. I’ve added it here with some great visual so you can share in the spin.

GRACE LIKE RAIN

This is my new theme song.