Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The change of the year

I love the way our holidays mark the end of the year. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to review with gratitude what has happened through the year. December is a series of parties, events, gift-giving--all focused on connecting and reconnecting with the people around us. Christmas reminds us about Emmanuel--God with Us, regardless of what the commercialism does. This leaves us with a full week to reorder our thoughts, usually away from the pressures of work, and prepare for the year to come.

As I look back, I see that this has been a remarkably difficult year for us yet God is faithful and I am at peace (though that could be partly the anti-depressant--better living through chemistry!) For the first time in my life I truly trust God. So often in the past we would have a crisis and I would get to the breaking point where I would finally, stubbornly, trust God and He would come through. I've been there for a long time now. I'm learning the dichotomy acting as I rest in Him. It is frighting sometimes but I dwell with Him and that is enough.

PJ got braces today. He was not happy at all. Several times a day he comes up to vehemently avow his love and devotion to me, but for the first time today he asked me point blank, "Do you love me?" I could see that he was struggling with a mom that says and acts like she loves him but puts braces on him anyway. Surprisingly, I didn't feel the least bit hurt by the question--I understood where it came from. I always wondered if God understood when I needed reassurance or felt hurt because I still didn't trust Him. It is even more comforting to me to now understand first-hand how that works.

Thanks, Lord...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When brothers dwell together in unity

We had several questions last week about why people should pray out loud at all so we decided to tackle that issue head on in our group Sunday night. What emerged from that meeting was such a treat! We've been working through some chapters in Ben Patterson's book, The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms and this week we were in Ps. 133. The author opened the chapter talking about the first time he really knew that God loved him so we took some time to talk about the first time we each figured that out. In the author's life it was a time when he was in a really rich fellowship of believers and was being loved in community. That's kinda where our group is right now too.

When you look up the word "shaken" in Acts, you find out that God shook the place three times in that book, and all three times were when believers were praying in unity, "in one accord." So, I posited that it was hard for us to pray "in one accord" if we can't hear what each other is praying. That's partly true, but God showed the other part too. One person told about times in prayer meetings when someone started praying exactly what he and someone else were thinking at the same time. I'm sure I've had that happen too.

Yesterday, my day was disrupted by a sick kid. When we went to the pediatrician's office, I discovered that the purpose for being there was not to care for my child, but to care for my pediatrician--a fellow prayer warrior. The answer to her need for understanding came out of conversations I'd had with another friend last week--conversations where God was clearly steering our thoughts and hearts. As I called my friend later that evening to tell her what God had done through that conversation, I was again astounded by her faith and maturity. I realized that as I comforted her in her crises, it was not the same kind of comfort I would have given someone who has no hope or has no ability to walk in hope. She really had the capacity to allow herself to be strong despite the circumstances because of the hope that had come from perserverance in her trials. James 1:4 tells us that "Perserverance must finish its work so we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." I thought I'd never see that kind of saint. I thought I'd never be that kind of saint.

In reality, I'm not that kind of saint, at least not by myself, and neither is she. Together, with the Father, we are complete--not lacking anything. I guess Faith truly is a team sport.

Go team!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

God's intervention in Chance, part II

I promised I would provide an update on the results of the challenge last week to accept all things as filtered through God's hand. Here goes:

Dennis and Karen were delayed on their trip home from her dad's house and missed (potentially) being in any one of three major accidents on the turnpike. Had they left on time, they would have been in real danger.

Lori got final word that she does, in fact, have breast cancer. I went with her yesterday to visit the surgeon. About 6 months ago, her bloodhound nearly ripped that one off of her chest jumping for a toy. Had she not followed up on the injury when she got her job back, they might not have found the cancer for quite awhile. The dog has probably saved her life. Lori tends to stay by herself most of the time and has been deeply injured in the past as she ministered in other churches. We got to talk about it for quite awhile last night. She and her family are ready and eager to get back to serving, and our group is well equipped to support her through this time.

Gail spent most of last week at Mayo Clinic with Charlie. He had a liver transplant 18 months ago and got pneumonia last week. Her post this morning was precious: "My mind is at peace. Charlie is doing great, I am at home, and all is right with my world. Praise the Lord for another awesome day!"

I had almost no work to do last week and ended up reading legislation all week. By the end of the week I wrote a plan that, if implemented, could completely change the entire structure of our communities throughout Florida. I have plenty of people around me that can get the plan press and we'll see what the Lord does from here.

As I talked with Lori last night, we talked about whether our group could even grow with people like all of us in it. Somehow, the Father was able to say through me that we would grow, but not in the same way as most. Most people would be overwhelmed by our lives--a typical suburban Christian wouldn't have an idea how to deal with families with Down syndrome, schizophrenia, liver transplants, unmarried daughters with disabled grandchildren, breast cancer, dysfunctional marriages, jobs slowly disappearing, etc. These are ordinary things for us. We have learned much about depending on God through suffering and have overcome much. We don't like the suffering, but love the fruit.

Later that night, the Father redirected me to Big Lots to get some supplies for our families and I ran into a clerk there that is dealing with a 31 year old son with suicidal bipolar. She and her husband have been depending on the Lord all by themselves. I realized that this is how we will grow--and quickly invited her to join us. Our group may not be for everyone, but we would each bury most other groups anyway--we are too heady a crowd.

Life is hard, but God is good.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

God and chance

Our Sunday night group was ready for a break, so we had movie night--One Night with the King--the story of Esther. I'm no movie critic, but I enjoy a great love story, especially one with so much political intrigue. Seizing on the teaching opportunity, afterward we talked about how Esther is the one book of the Bible that the name of God is not mentioned, though He walks through every page. To this day, the feast of Purim, which celebrates this event, is traditionally enjoyed with lots of sweets and gambling. The point of the gambling is that God rules over all the events of men--especially chance occurrences.

Proverbs 16:33 tells us "The Lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is of the Lord." The lot was roughly equivalent to dice. Einstein refused to believe that God would roll dice. He just failed to see that the table was rigged by God himself. I have often thought that Creationists have too small a God. The thought that we come from randomness has always been horrifying to Christians because it implies that the Hand of God no longer controls. It is in the very randomness of the universe that God's control is most easily seen. Colossians 1:17 tells us that "He is before all things and God holds all things together." Who is it that ensures that atoms don't fly apart?--God. Who is it that guarantees that a quarter will fall on heads half the time if you throw it an infinite number of times?--Again, He tells us that He does that Himself. God's control over all things, even randomness, is in stark contrast to our lack of control, and we should glorify Him for that.

The challenge this week to our group was to accept everything that happens this week as being filtered through the Hand of God, "who works all things together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose," and look for the good that He brings. Not all things that happen are good, but God promises to make all things good. The chief example of this is the cross--where He "disarmed the powers and authorities, (and) he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Col 2:15) I've already had some odd things happen this week--I'll keep you posted on what the group brings back next week.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The foolishness of Solomon

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

Solomon was given wisdom beyond any in all history--but like the proverbial horse--it did him little good. God loved Solomon dearly, but he chose many wives who lead him to relationships with other demon-gods, betraying the heart of the one who had gifted him so and leading all of Israel into idolatry again.

I saw a dear old friend the other day--someone I love and who mentored me in precious ways. Someone who was often wise beyond his years. He has since traded his wisdom for madness and gone off to worship all gods, just as Solomon did. My heart is truly broken for him, though he seems happy in his "church" life. I did not have the heart to do as I should and scream at him for all the pain he will cause himself through this. I don't know if that is a betrayal of my Friend, a betrayal of my mentor, or just a recognition of my own failure and inability to change how it is.

I knew that there was little way to change his mind or heart. He has found power there that we had never shown him. The enemy promised him a BB gun when the Father had a rifle waiting for him. The enemy would encourage him to use that BB gun in any way he pleases. The Father would have strict intentions regarding what the rifle is for. Many Christians are so afraid of the rifle that we won't even pick it up--most in the west are suspicious that Christ has no real power at all--when is the last time you actually saw it?

We have had a form of godliness but denied its power, some out of ignorance, some out of fear. It is easy for the desire to control our world to grow into a desire to control our God, but He will brook no control from us. He is God, not us and He (graciously) will have it no other way. My mentor is, at least in part, a casualty of our desire to keep things under our own control. Unfortunately, he still has that BB gun and will probably wound himself and many others with it, and believe all the while that he is doing a good and blessed work.

Father, Friend...I'm sorry...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Middle of the Night worries

I awoke at 11 tonight and to the smell of hot wax. I awoke from a mild nightmare about losing my job--nothing truly disturbing, but wearisome. I've looked all over for the source of the smell and can only tell that it's inside our warm house and not outside and doesn't seem to be getting worse. The internet is clueless. I walked out to the air-handler and now my feet are dirty.

I know it wasn't my Friend who awoke me. When He calls, he leaves a calling card--usually on a clock somewhere. We made an agreement several years ago about nighttime rendezvous so that I could tell the difference.

So I'm up. It's not Him, it's me. I worry that I might have missed His call on other nights and my heart is becoming dull to His cry. He assures me otherwise. I do have fears--is the house burning down? Am I useless--at home and at work? Today was a long day and included a long string of headaches about the analysis part of a report that I thought was finished.

Ginny Owens has a really great song that includes all of her "pearls of wisdom" including this jem:

I don't know much, this much is true.
My worries are endless and answers are few.
But life has caused me to conclude,
I can face what I don't know by singin' about what I do.

Which leads me to:

Great is Thy faithfulness; Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning, new mercies I see.
All I have needed, Thy Hand hath provided.
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

ok, that's not a bad place to go...Good night...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Foolish Arguments

I wanted to write about prayer...I've been reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and Jim Cymbala is preaching to the choir. I think a prayer meeting is about all that is generally necessary in the body of Christ--ok, maybe not all, but pretty close. That's not what my Friend wants to discuss.

I spent a good part of this evening talking with an avowed Catholic, who loves Jesus very much and is probably (giving Jesus the benefit of the doubt) saved. I kept trying to pull him back to the thought that our work is useless in comparison to the work that God does when we ask Him. At the end, I was pushing salvation by grace, though I didn't realize it, and he was pushing trans-substantiation and the place of the priest in salvation. Quoting scripture was useless and I'm sure that he was equally annoyed that quoting the church councils was lost on me (even when I knew what they did in those councils).

I missed a good chunk of an evening with my family and I don't know that it did either one of us any good. I'm glad my friend is pro-life. I'm glad he loves and wants to follow Jesus. I'm glad Catholic people are praying--My dear God-friend will break through if they give Him a millimeter to do so, you can be sure of that. I had hoped I would find a friend to prayer-walk our neighborhood regularly. I've been struggling to walk it consistently in the way I know is needed.

Paul and Titus were right...foolish arguments waste time and ruin the hearers. Maybe someday I'll learn.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It feels strange that all of us are so profoundly influenced by circumstances that are so far out of our control--Maybe this is the first society that would even see that as strange.

I'm coming to realize that the Florida State Legislature may completely eliminate the need for most of what I do within the next few weeks. It is my job to make sure that when an individual development is planned, transportation facilities (read that "roads") will be available to serve all of the vehicular whims of its patrons, at least within the first 3 years. The unintended consequence of this policy has been that development doesn't occur in old areas because they're out of room to serve the cars they have. Instead, people build out in the hinterlands because there's still plenty of room to drive. The proposed laws mean Florida is throwing in the towel-- individual projects won't be judged that way. Instead the State will require the local jurisdictions to make sure that people can get from here to there, without insisting on how they do it. (I prefer teleportation.) This could be a disaster or a really good thing. No one knows yet.

So, I'm not sure what I'll end up doing, if I end up doing anything like what I do now. Yes, I'm wondering--with momentary lapses into worry. What is most comforting is my contract with the Father (see previous post). It's his job to keep me busy and fed. It's my job to do what He provides for me to do. I'm considering other careers, but until this evaporates--which may not be a long wait--I'm doing what my hand finds to do.

I have a feeling we're all facing this kind of uncertainty right now. We've provided really well for ourselves--what will happen when, through no fault of our own, we can no longer do that? We will sit down and cry. We will remember it wasn't us that provided in the first place. Then after some understandable grief, we will take our empty hands and open them toward the Father.

I love it when a plan comes together...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Journalling and God's presence

Yesterday in staff meeting they asked how we deal with worry. God has really freed me of a familial tendency to worry over the last few weeks--at least it isn't as bad as usual. After our company president mentioned prayer as one answer, I noted that a prayer journal helps me to let things go and trust that God has heard and does answer.

Unfortunately, a few months ago my dog ate my journal--the elegant brocade binding chewed, the velvet cover slobbered on. For awhile I could still use it but without the backs it was getting harder to write. Gone was my normal routine. I wake up in the night frustrated or worried and I don't have my journal to pour my prayers into. God's presence has been no less real and his comfort has not abated, but it puts a cramp into my style. You think I write a bunch here...

This weekend I glued it back together and am using up the final 10 pages or so. It's a relief to have it back, but it's equally comforting that even when I'm robbed of my normal pathways to His presence, His lovingkindness (hessed) endures forever.

This leads me to the book recommendation for the week. One of my all time favorite books is Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. In it, he discusses 9 different ways to worship and how we all by gift or by temprement favor some over others. As a contemplative, I prefer quietly meditating or writing in my journal. Of course, I have day's that my favorite worship pathway is tilting windmills. It's comforting to me that the God of all of those pathways will use whatever is needed to connect with us, even when our normal routines are trashed...which seems to be more routine than not.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Honey here, honey there...

Saturday morning...and PJ and Katie are watching the cartoons I was never allowed as a kid.

Unfortunately the topic today is a little too close for comfort.

Pooh is (again) stuck in a log because he has eaten too much honey--another reminder that my own pants are a bit more snug than I would prefer.

"Farewell my sweet honey..."

The solution has been derived, and pooh is on board, but it is far more difficult than anticipated. Trying not to think about it is counterproductive. Distraction is the order of the day. After some play, he gets free and goes right back to his honey.

Hmm...I don't remember cartoons being so pointed when I was a kid, although it seems like the solution is short lived.

Next episode--Neat little Piglet is convinced to play in the mud and finds it IS fun. However, as enjoys a cool nap in the mud, the sun encases him in a mud sarcophagus. I think he was better off being neat. Contentment in slop leaves you trapped.

The only time a diet worked for me it had to do with changing focus. Don't think about do's and don'ts--go live life. If you're physically hungry, by all means--eat! If you're only munchy because you're tired, bored or out of sorts, eating won't fill that hole, and will leave you with indigestion. So now you're bored, out of sorts and have an upset tummy. One of highest praises of the Pr. 31 woman was that "she eats not the bread of idleness..." I wonder if that includes girl scout cookes...

A recent Harvard/LSU study showed that within limits, the biggest thing that mattered was the amount of calories--eat less and there is less of you. All of these diets that have been trying to trick your body into losing weight turn out to be just that--a trick. Some may really work, but only when it does the basics.

This reminds me of trying to beat the stock market. A small group may be able to make a killing, but only at the expense of someone else getting killed. Is that really a good thing? All of this eventually means a massive bailout--the equivalent of stomach stapling surgery for an obese marketplace. Poke in one place and it pops out another. Greed for food, greed for pleasure, greed for money--same stuff, different day.

If God is really our friend, he must have a path out of this mess. Colossians 2:6-8, 20-23 was the core scripture for the one program that truly helped me lose weight:
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ..."

"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."
In other words, instead of feeding your body, feed your soul. Be downright careful about who defines what is able to satisfy you. Contentment with slop is easy, but leaves you trapped. In the end, no amount of willpower will help if your heart is empty.

That's probably why the Harvard/LSU team found that counselling increased the average weight loss from 9 lbs to 22 lbs.

I know all of this, so where did I go wrong?

At one point, I had lost so much weight that people began to ask, "Are you ok?" I felt great, but their criticism was enough to derail my obedience. I suppose that's the final key. Pick your cheering squad carefully. Do not listen to the disinterested, the jealous, the concerned or the opposing team. Only God has the ability to speak life into your existence--everything else is just noise. It might be good noise or bad noise, but it needs to be checked to see if it is in harmony with that ONE important voice.

I'm back on track and down 2 lbs. Here's to a full heart and a not so full tummy!

Monday, March 9, 2009


I hadn't wanted to post over the last week because I'm just tired. Bone tired. Exhausted. Pooped. Turns out my little germ magnet has Influenza Type A and I probably gave it to her last week. Her cough sounds bad, but isn't frequent. She had a high fever yesterday but she's just warm today. Happy as a clam even though she's sick as a dog. I think I'm going to call this clam-dog syndrome.

These are also unexpected blessing days. When I dropped of Kate's prescription at our local beleaguered WalMart, they put a rush on it and told me to come back in an hour. Kate looked like she was ready to collapse in exhaustion and I felt about the same--but what else can you do?? So I decided we would use the time to enjoy something special and recharge. Spoiling time!! Ice cream, cokes, Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs and a happy mommy and daughter--tired still, but not as bad.

As soon as we were done with our treat, we remembered the birthday party Kate has this weekend. The birthday queen is Kate's chaperone and companion in Kindergarten--an unrecognized benefactor (and beneficiary) of inclusion. It was a delight to see Katie enjoy going through the toy aisle with her friend, not herself, in mind. In the end, she was surprisingly decisive--it will be the Barbie on a bicycle instead of the Cinderella and the bejewelled steed.

I often wonder how much Katie understands. Her language still has so far to go. It would be easy to assume that there is so much she misses. I'm continually delighted by how much she catches. The local Down syndrome association had their annual clinic this weekend and it pained me to explain to the university speech researcher how little nuance we get from Kate. It seems like asking the question, "What do you like best about your friend?" is akin to asking "What is the primary geological formation on the moon?" We've been torn as to whether to move her forward with her classmates into 1st grade or keep her in Kindergarten (again--3rd time) to give her a chance to be able to achive more before moving ahead. She's still spotty on her colors. She sounds out 3 letter words, but barely speaks full sentences on her own. Memorize the word "of"?? Does she even use it yet? And yes, Katie, 16 does belong in the number line regardless of your preferences on it. As the researcher described working on conceptual frameworks, it felt like we still have so far to go. Then Katie actually came into the room and after about 2 minutes of interaction, the researcher said, "This is not at all what I envisioned from your description--her prognosis for next year is really good." So the details are still spotty--the gestalt is in place.

One of the Senior Associates at our office has been enthralled by the book, A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. The endorsement on the front of the book is euphoric: "This book is a miracle. Completely original and profound!" He uses Left Brain/Right Brain neurological concepts to put forth the thesis that it is those right-brain activities, supported by their left brain underpinnings that will help you succeed, win the day, bring back the life to our searching world. The neurology wasn't new. The concept that most low level rote technical folk can be replaced by a machine isn't particularly surprising. The pathways to stimulate and grow the 6 "new" essential senses have all been around for awhile. I'm glad that people are beginning to recognize the need for whole brained thought--it has often felt like it was only recognized as hair-brained.

The most interesting point he makes in the book is a need for transcendence that has arisen out of our affluence. I've been praying that this would be so and watching as it happens. We have satisfied all of our physical needs and nearly all of our wants, and still find ourselves wanting. I see what Katie can't do and hurt for her, hoping that there is more--that there can be more. Ecclesiastes 3:11 has been my life verse for over a decade now and it's interesting how often it shows how profound God brought Solomon to be:

"He (God) has made all things beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men yet they cannot fathom the scope of it from beginning to end." (my parphrase)

So it's ok to wait to see what will happen--He will make things beautiful on his timetable, not ours. The details are important, but may not tell the whole story. In the end, the point of view that will matter is His--we just won't get it all, even if He has set the desire and overall understanding in our hearts in the first place. There have been times in my life when I've understood the big picture and where we fit in it. It didn't make things any easier. The only thing that made it truly ok is the knowledge that we are loved profoundly and that will never change. I am not transcendent, but I know the One who is and He knows me and that makes eternity my friend as well.

Tricia (and Kate)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Going home...

Like many in the development industry, our company has struggled through this economic crisis. We've looked for new clients, spoiled old clients and done all we can to hang in there. Still, two weeks ago we had to let a huge number of people go. Some of them had great places to go; many of them didn't. We just didn't have enough work to keep them going. I'm sure few of them were surprised, but it doesn't make it hurt less for any of us. To avoid more layoffs and keep us at a level that we can still pay our bills, some of us were asked to go to a 32 hour work week--including me. I start tomorrow.

For me, this is a God-send. Since I went back to full time work two years ago, I've wrestled constantly with the fact that my kids need more than 2 hours of my time each day and the fact that an engineer is usually expected to keep lawyer's hours. My own boss is nowhere near that demanding, but I have expectations about what I need to be able to do the job well. I've read time management gurus talking about "crunching your can" (doing more because you set a tight time boundary and made your time more effective), but I don't know that it really works that way. Another part of the job is the connection between people. (whine, whine...)

The truth is, keeping track of two kids, both with their own special needs, is a full time job on its own. Even if they didn't have struggles beyond most ordinary kids, they deserve more than 2 or 3 hours a day from their mom. The deserve more than that from their Dad. It doesn't always work that way. Guilt is an ordinary part of parenting, but after awhile you really get down to the fact that you are just guilty, you don't just feel guilty.

People all over the world work hard; many harder than we do and for much less. Still, it seems like most of them get to do that alongside their kids and it makes it a little more sane. I love my children and I miss them. When you do head work, it's harder to find ways to include them in it. Dropping to 32 hours a week means that I can log the hard hours early in the morning a few days a week and pick them up myself after school every day. I still won't be able to be class mom or volunteer for field trips, but at least I'll be able to spend the 2 hours doing homework that they need and still have some time left to cook a healthy meal, teach them to keep a house straight or just have some fun. The money will be less, but that's ok. I don't know that we could break even without my work, but losing that 8 hours won't kill our finances and I'll get to enjoy this time in their lives instead of forever regretting missing it.

I have my hesitations. Will I get ignored or passed over? Maybe. Will people forget to give me work and cost me my job? Possible. Will I even be able to keep house at all? I didn't do that very well before...

After PJ was born, I had not planned on going back to work until they were in college. When the Lord convinced me that it was in His plan, I went back, but my agreement with Him was as follows:

You are the boss
You send the work
I do what you send
I'm not looking for work.

Part of my job description now is to look for work, so that last part has gone by the wayside, but the first three definately still hold true. I haven't run out of work, though I have come close at times. Even if I lose my job entirely, I know my God, my friend, will take care of me, though it may not be as comfortable as we are now. He still blesses my work but I'm delighted that He cares enough about my children to allow these limits that they need so desperately. We're going to be ok--probably even better than before.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It's interesting how change and catastrophe can so quickly convert to the excitement of what C.S. Lewis called a Eucatastrophe--a sudden, irreversible, monumental salvation. There's even cliche's to refer to it:

"darkest before the dawn..."
"every cloud has a silver lining..."
"I love it when a plan comes together..."

Now, I am a firm believer that no one should use clouds for silver-mining as a practice, but clouds will come whether you look for them or not. I've even known people to assume that God sent the clouds because you needed the silver--which I think is not out of the realm of possibility, but frankly not necessary because, again, clouds come anyway--no sense in adding to the normal process it will happen on its own.

At this moment, our world is gripped in the throes of what many are calling an economic catastrophe. I'm not sure it's much more than a strophe, but there are a lot of people hurting. The difference between a catastrophe and a Eucatastrophe is found in Ps. 107. In each stanza of this hymn someone is in trouble, they cried out to the Lord, and He heard their cry and rescued them.

Trouble comes, of that we can be sure. Rescue comes, of that we can be even surer. The difference is the asking--and in knowing who to ask.

Just in case you're thinking this is some namby-pamby, never faced anything kind of plattitude, you may be right--all pain is unique and our pain could be a walk in the park for many. As time goes on, I'll let you see the pattern of Eucatastrophe that we have experienced. I'll probably blog about Down syndrome, transportation, public policy, prayer, Psalms, Proverbs, the heritage of the land, mental illness and anything else that hits the wide net of my fancy. I'll try not to hurt anyone as I go along, but there are no guarantees, and not all hurts are bad.

I met a dear friend again after many years on Monday. When we had been spending time together 4 years ago, she was going through a painless divorce at her choosing and she told me that I was the only one in her life that told her she was making a serious mistake. She is now a separated from her second husband who hurt her as badly as she hurt her first husband and is raising her beautiful daughter alone. She knew things weren't always great in my marriage and couldn't understand why I would stick it out. In the end, John and I have worked through some of our difficulty and have much to go, but are content together after 18 years. She would give anything to redo that mistake. My heart was broken for her because I really hoped I was going to end up wrong--that somehow the laws of the universe regarding sowing and reaping would just not apply. It didn't work that way--it almost never does. She is delighted that she now knows and can move forward to try to save her second marriage, if that is possible. She's also far more bold to stand up for what is right before her own friends, even if it isn't convenient. Hard lesson. I suppose those are the ones best learned.

If you think I'm claiming God friendship as a unique calling, that would be a joke--I can take no credit for what He has done and all who call on the name of the Lord have the same opportunity for that relationship. I can take no credit for being chosen by God as a friend--I am frequently disloyal and in no way worthy of that friendship. Still, I would like to think that our relationship has been the defining characteristic of who I am and have become as a person.

Ps 107:
41...He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction,
And makes his families like a flock.
42The upright see it and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
43Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.