Meandering Thoughts

For sunshine and 66 degrees, I am grateful.

For peace in the midst of mystifying my doctor– losing my voice with beautiful vocal cord function– I give thanks.

For a microphone that makes me look like an aerobics instructor or pop star, depending on who you ask, provided by the school district for my teaching amplification, I am glad.

Because Jesus died but didn’t stay dead, I am alive, too.  That makes everything else look like small potatoes.





: of, suggesting, or suitable to a textbook; especially : classic

antonym: me

For a long time, my subconscious goal in life was to be textbook.  Doing what was expected helped me to feel in control and secure.  Sometime during college I learned that finding comfort in being conventional is not always the best way to live.

Fast forward to last summer, when my ear-nose-throat doctor met me and quickly declared that my vocal cord issues were less than textbook.  It wasn’t a compliment.  When he looked at my vocal cords and saw that one is bowed, he suggested a plan.  First, don’t get colds. (I made it 4 months on that step!)  Second, try steroids, antibiotics, and acid reflux blockers.  (Tried and failed.)  Third, go to speech therapy.  (I was a good patient, she said…until I lost my voice…again.)  Fourth, plump up the vocal cords with collagen. (Currently scheduled for spring break.)

In the meantime, I teach in a whisper, will do conferences with families tomorrow in a whisper, and learn to listen better.  Yes, I know that whispering is bad for me.  No, I don’t have the option of taking off everyday when I can’t talk- 15 days of school since December.

My comfort is now in knowing Jesus knows the whole story.  I may not be textbook, but He is the author of my life.  That book works for me, even if it’s not normal!

Blessed to Bless

“Father Abraham had many sons.  Many sons had Father Abraham, and I am one of them.  And so are you.  So let’s just praise the Lord…”  (Repeat no fewer than 6 times, adding motion each time and collapsing at the end.)

Bless his heart, Father Abraham is now indelibly connected to the #1 song taught to kids to make them move.  Never mind the theology behind the song; never mind the reasons we should praise the Lord as children of Abraham.  Just spin around and praise the Lord for the aerobic exercise in church, right? 🙂

Father Abraham (the guy, not the song) is awesome because he believed God and his faith was counted as righteousness.  God is awesome because, among other things, He does what He says He’ll do.  Every time.  One of the things He promised to do is bless Abraham and his family; He also promised to bless those who bless Abraham and company AND make Abraham and co. a blessing to the world. That’s a lot of blessing going on.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a lot of blessing, thank you very much!

As I read part of Joseph’s story this morning, the blessings jumped out again and again.  God saved much of civilization from death by famine through Joseph’s dream interpretation and wise administration.  Pharaoh blessed Joseph by giving him honor, position, and loads of stuff.  Even Joseph’s initially slimy brothers blessed Pharaoh by caring for his livestock.

Usually I think of the story of Joseph as a mostly sad story, but it seems that Joseph didn’t see it that way, despite the betrayal and tears.  (Count how many times they “weep on each other’s necks.”)  Joseph got it– he saw his life as a blessing, not as bitterness.

Joseph was son of Abraham by family lineage; I’m a daughter of Abraham by faith.  I’d rather skip the betrayal, false accusation, and prison experiences of Joseph, but I want to be a blessing.  Maybe the blessing of God in my life includes an occasional round of “Father Abraham”, so I’ll work on not being bitter about it!

Sad Song

Solomon’s story

saddens and sobers me

each time I remember

his great start

full of favor, well-trained–

he followed a man after God’s own heart, after all.

But a great start does nothing more than

leave questions: why? what happened?

and mostly,

what was seemed worth it?

While pride tries to sneak in

with the lie that I am better than that

I am mercifully reminded of

my own desperate need

and my own miserable potential

to wreck a good start

with a sad end:

faithless disobedience.

A Decade Later…

I am more certain of some things and less certain of others.

As 2000 ended, I thought I knew how my life would go.  My plan was set.  I knew how things were *supposed* to go.  That said, I was mostly unsure about how to be myself; what would it be to feel comfortable in my own skin?  I had strong opinions on pointless things and wished for certainty on what really counts.

A decade later, I have no clue what the rest of my life will look like.  What continent(s) will I consider home?  To which vocations will I be drawn?  What roles will I have in the lives of those around me?  The strong opinions have shifted, perhaps, but not disappeared.  I hope that they are expressed and formed with more grace.

What I am more certain of than ever is my hope: Christ in me.  So whatever the coming decade brings, may His glory be known more and more!

Yes, and Amen in Him

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, “In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen . . .” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours. — Oswald Chambers


On the Present: What I Thought I Wanted

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” -Garrison Keillor

I happened to hear this quote a few weeks ago, thought about a song by Sara Groves, pondered a blog post…and put the idea into my “blog” list on my phone.  Yay for the  memo function!

Before I add these lyrics, let me add a caveat: I am NOWHERE near Job.  My life has been basically as cushy as a life can be, especially when  I consider the challenges faced by people around the world.

That said…I’m broken.  There are things I’ve wanted that are vastly different from what I got instead, from who I am instead. In better moments, I see God’s sovereign hand in providing what I needed despite brokenness; in other moments, I just feel broken. My guess is that most of us realize our brokenness- some times more intensely, some times less.  But the challenge remains: be broken, and be faithful.

Ok, on to Sara’s thought-provoking lyrics:

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job
I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows
About what it is he wanted and what he got instead
How to be broken and faithful


This is my third year away from ASU.  That means that the students who were freshmen in my last year are now seniors getting ready to graduate.  This realization makes me simultaneously proud of them and grateful for the chance to see bits and pieces of God’s work in them over the past few years.

I also found myself considering the liminality of that time of life.  The weight of decision-making felt huge to me when I was there (as I think it does for most people).  So when I read about Philip’s experience in Acts 8, I saw clearly that I usually want God to direct me in the opposite way He directed Philip.

Quick refresh of Philip’s story: He’s in the middle of revival when God speaks to him and tells him to take a road to the desert.  Philip goes, finds a Ethiopian official in need of Jesus, and shares the gospel.  After Philip baptizes the new believer, God picks Philip up and transports him to another city to resume preaching.

It’s a great story, and God clearly knows best.  Personally, I usually wish that He would supernaturally transport me to the new place.  That way, I could skip the good-byes, the wondering if I heard His voice correctly, and the walk through the desert that (for me at least) usually follows a change like that.

Why God acts as He does, I’m not sure sometimes.  In this case, and in my life, it seems that God is as interested in the relationship aspect of direction as much as He is in getting me to a new location.  He’s ready to speak and then to walk the desert road with me.

He’s also preparing the revival on the other end, whether it is one dude or a city.  “Oh, for grace to trust Him more!