Sticky floors and soaking scrambled egg pans had to wait until 11 am each day for me to turn my attention from my rambunctious toddler back to their silent clamor. Each day I thanked the Lord that he had clearly ordained nap time as an intermission for frazzled moms. My daily habit at that blessed hour was to turn on my favorite radio preacher while I grabbed a broom and got busy.
One dreary winter morning as I mopped the floor, I heard Chuck Swindoll advise,
“The next time someone presents an idea to you, don’t respond immediately. Take time to pray about it.”
I didn’t give the concept more than a passing thought until my husband came home that very evening and dropped the bomb.
Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth.” Whose spiritual thirst are you meant to arouse? Is there someone in your circle of loved ones who stands outside the circle of faith? Who can you enlist to form a prayer circle to around this beloved unbeliever to pray regularly and systematically for their salvation ?
At the Last Supper, Jesus raised his cup and said,
“Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:25.
What if those you call together to stand in prayer for your loved one were to use the simple act of drinking a beverage as a guide and reminder?
“…to declare the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light” ( 1 Peter 2:9)
I spent a good portion of my twenties working in the dark. Singing in nightclubs for a living, I played four sets a night, the first one not even starting until 9 pm. At 2 am when the lights went on, anyone still at the bar was in for a rude awakening. Those cozy booths were actually stained and crusted with a variety of revolting substances. The bottles of Chivas Regal and Jose Cuervo glittering against the illuminated mirror were coated in a layer of grease and dust. The harsh glare revealed that the cocktail glasses, hastily sloshed out in the sink between customers, probably hadn’t ever been washed in hot soapy water.
But it was the people who were typically still there at last call that looked even worse than the shabby, stained carpets. Dim light hides a lot. A lot of ugly. Like the telltale indentation on the third finger, left hand of a ring that had been temporarily removed. Like the bloodshot eyes and shaking hands of the aging
I think I must be going a bit cross-eyed. Am I crazy to look up at the sky and think that God is still pouring forth speech?
It started several years ago, a few days before I was due to fly to Houston to speak at my second CrossWise Living retreat. As my brother relaxed on the front porch of his log cabin in the Hill Country near Austin, he glanced up in the sky and was quick enough with his camera to grab a shot of this amazing cloud pattern. He texted it to me and joked that this was a biblical pillar of cloud leading me to Texas.
Instead of New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends have found a simpler way— asking God to help them choose just one word as a focal point for change and growth for the year. As the year turned, I pondered this, wondering if a single word would come to me without forcing it.
It did: Focus.
And so today I am focusing my attention on what God might have to say to me in this photo of a splendid sunrise.
I never get a new planner in January. My life has always revolved around schools, so I start getting excited around the last week in August about selecting my new planner for the year. And I never seem to leave the office supply store without some new pens, new folders, new pads, and new notebooks. Any of you share my stationery addiction?
The start of a new school year, traditionally the day after Labor Day, has always carried the promise of a fresh start. New pencils, new notebooks, new school-clothes. A new schedule, a new teacher, a new backpack.
People whose lives aren’t defined by the academic calendar only have one time a year—New Year’s Day— when they get to turn the page for a fresh start.
Students, teachers — and I want to add life-long learners — get a second chance in September for a nice clean sheet on which to write their hopes and dreams and good intentions.
The Day after Labor Day
This is just one reason I am so excited to launch Living CrossWise : Hope and Help for Navigating Transition on the day after Labor Day! Is there a better time than a new semester to start reading and studying a resource that will help you grow in faith?
My husband is a world-class listener. After meeting and talking with him at a social gathering, you leave with the wonderful feeling that you are both interesting and important. He smiles at you with those kind eyes, making you feel that your concerns are his concerns as he keeps coming up with questions to draw you out. This is one of the ways he won my heart so many decades ago.
He is still listening. And boy, am I putting it out. Processing. Downloading. Emoting. Stressing. Freaking Out. Melting Down. Cry Talking.
He is a patient man.
How to sum up how I’ve been feeling? Let’s just say I needed another go-round of this
It was good news and bad news. When I read Proverbs 17:6 in my NLT and saw that “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged,” I clicked straight over to Biblos.com in hopes of finding that verse in another translation. Perhaps I could find one with a more flattering rendering of my current stage in life. Aged? Like the stone-deaf Aged P in Great Expectations? Not me?!
Actually, what I found was worse. “The aged” was actually
My skin is sensitive. So said my dermatologist, who—strangely, I thought—pointed out that she could sign her name on my back with just a light touch of her fingernail.
My emotions aren’t much different. If you’ve known for more than a week or two, you’ve probably seen me cry. And most of the times that my eyes are overflowing, I’m fighting it, embarrassed by my own transparent vulnerability. I’ve been rightly called “thin-skinned.”
The only parts of me, inside or out, that are not sensitive are my fingertips. I’ve been playing guitar my whole life— I don’t get have to have those white-tipped fingernails I enviously watch Beth Moore wave about so gracefully when she’s teaching. To me, however, it is a small sacrifice. Making music with stringed instruments has given me immeasurable pleasure. When I was a full-time performer, I could play guitar for 6 hours a day without feeling the strain. My secret? Industrial
My upcoming book, CrossWise Living: Navigating Transition, includes a section on mentoring. I tell the story of my friendship with Faith Greiner Field, who has taken the seeds I’ve planted in her life and is producing a harvest that far exceeds anything I could have accomplished on my own.
Faith recently wrote to tell me how she’s using what she learned from me to invest in the next generation. Her beautiful thank you letter is folded up in my jewelry box, where it will likely remain until the day my bereaved loved ones divide up my earthly treasures. I’ve included just an excerpt here because I believe