Friday, November 26, 2010

At the Crossroads

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote ~

Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.

What simple steps to discover rest for my soul. And yet, Jeremiah ends the passage with these sad words ~

But they said, "We will not walk in it."

How often I find myself at the crossroads. I hear the words of those who have traveled these paths before me, directing my steps toward the good way.  Yet, something inside of me chooses to not walk in it.

I have found as I travel through life, the choices I make now ~ in the present ~ is how I redeem the future.

In the words of Jeremiah, my prayer for myself and for you, my friend, is that even as Thanksgiving ushers in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we will give ourselves the gift taking time in the present to redeem the future. As we stand at the crossroads, may we humbly ask for insight from those who have gone this way before, choose the good way, and walk in it.

And may we find rest for our souls.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Scott

Dear Scott,

Today is your birthday. I remember the day you came into this world on November 23, 1979.  I could never have imagined then that the day would come when I no longer had the joy of your presence in my life.

You would be thirty-one years old today, Scott. I wonder how you would look as a man. What would you be doing with your life? Who would have won your heart and be your wife? How many children would you have? Oh, how much I long to have you still be present in my life.

I remember a few weeks before you died, you came home from babysitting Ciera and Matthew Fry.  You sat down on the couch, put your hands behind your head, and with such an air of confidence, declared, I can't wait to be a Dad!

You loved to spend time with children ~ to play with them, share your faith with them, and teach them things you knew how to do. I remember another night about that same time when you babysat so Dayn and Kati could go out. Garon could not get to sleep that night. You told me you just sat next to him on his bed, rubbed his curly-haired head, and sang Alleluia, because  that is what helped you go to sleep when you were his age. You would have been a great Dad, Scott!

You have been gone from us for almost fifteen long years. So many years to wait to see you again, and yet, so much time to cherish the memories of your short sixteen years of life. Memories are where the proof of life is stored.  I treasure my storehouse of Scott-memories. I thank God that you left so much proof of your relationship with Jesus Christ that we wait with an assurance and a hope that there will be a blessed reunion, we will see you again.

Your are loved and missed by not only Dad, Amy and I.  You are missed by Jeff.  The song he wrote ~ The Brother I've Yet to Meet ~ shares his desire to have known you and have you be a part of his life now.  Kaitlyn, Kyle and Jack miss you ~ we share our memories of you with them, and they love to hear and tell Scott stories.

Kaitlyn asked me yesterday, How old is Uncle Scott going to be tomorrow? I loved that she asked me in the present tense because although you are not physically part of our lives, you are forever part of our lives as we have transformed our relationship with you from one of presence to one of memory.  Kaitlyn knows with confidence that although your life on earth has ended, you are more alive today than ever in His presence.

Perhaps the words of the song by Mercy Me captures the content of my heart today ~ If home is where my heart is, than I'm out of place ... I've never been more homesick than now.

Happy Birthday, Scott.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthday Blooms

Last November, for Scott's thirtieth birthday, we added a new plant to Scott's Memorial Garden in our backyard. When we went to the local nursery to make our selection, one of the things we wanted to be certain of was the hardiness of the plant.  Would it withstand the drop in temperatures as fall and winter settle into our valley?  We chose a Camellia Sasanqua with semi-double white flowers and ever-so-slight pink edges. It made a lovely addition in the corner of the garden.

It is November again. Scott's birthday is just a few days away. And fall has finally arrived over night with a wonderful gift of rain. I walked out into the garden this morning to see how the various plants had survived the downpour.

There in the corner of the garden was Scott's birthday bush ~ covered with blooms, and many buds waiting to open! Little did I realize that this hardy plant was going to bloom each November (as I am really just a poser when it comes to gardening).

What a wonderful surprise to know that every year on Scott's birthday we will have a display of flowers to say how very much Scott is loved and missed by us all. What a beautiful image as the chill of winter settles in that we have a blessed hope of a glorious reunion.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Victim of God's Design

I have a friend who lives in Democratic Republic of Congo. Luc is a fine young man who was my translator when I taught at his seminary in Kinshasa a few years ago. He has tried on numerous occasions to acquire a visa to come visit my family in America.  But Luc's application has been repeatedly denied.  In the face of this rejection, I love his perspective . . . 

I am a prisoner in my own country ~ 
a victim of God's design.
But oh, what a lovely victimizer,
who has never allowed me 
to walk the streets naked
or go to bed without at least a pinch of a loaf.

With Thanksgiving only days away, many in my country will take time to express their gratitude for the many good things that fill their lives.

And, if they are like my own family, they will sit down to a Thanksgiving feast, with culinary delights prepared to perfection; to consume a couple of day's worth of calories in one sitting.  Incredibly, they will save room for the array of desserts to be enjoyed later in the evening.

But this Thanksgiving, Luc's words seem to echo in my head. I am convicted of my own indifference at times toward those less fortunate. I am challenged to check my assumptions ~ what things in my life I take for granted as rights, when they are, in reality, privileges.

Luc's words bring an renewed awareness this season of how often I forget that I too, am a victim of God's design ~ that He is the one who provides this life filled with so very many comforts and conveniences.  He made me who I am and allowed me to be born in this nation of plenty. This Thanksgiving, I want a heart focused on His design. I want to be fully aware that I am nothing without Him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yellow, brown, and red
The colors change
A chill in the air 

Fall is
When I most miss you

From When I Most Miss You by Nicol Smith