Goodreads to Muse

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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

Gigi's favorite books ยป

let there be light

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:2-4

Today I mused the light. 

The first words uttered in the Bible are what? Let there be light. Imagine the power necessary to move the darkness out of the way for the light. 

At church we celebrated the baptism of three new believers. God spoke over their lives… Let there be light. And He separated the darkness and the light. We rejoice in their conversion from darkness to light.

How many times has He spoken over my life: Let there be light? I recall one time of great darkness when it seemed that He had turned out the lights altogether. As I groped around in the dark, I realized that He had shone a spotlight on evil. And healing came to me when I thought about the awesome power God exerted when He shone His light on that evil and I saw it. When I think about that healing power, I see the picture of God’s Spirit hovering over the surface of the deep getting ready to create the Universe. I cannot comprehend that kind of power. I am thankful that the power is directed toward separating light from darkness in me. He is safe. 

When life is turned upside down and all I can see is shadow, I rest in that safety and that goodness. In His wisdom, He is shaking things up. Some things will sink. Some will rise to the surface. 

God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don't find it lying around on the surface. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest - what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by His Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. 1 Corinthians 2:7, 10

The miracle is that God’s Spirit hovers over the deep darkness in our souls. He waits until just the right time. And He dives into deep darkness and brings it out into the light. He has placed within us a spirit that can commune with His. Spirit can be known only by spirit - God's Spirit and our spirits in open communion. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

He placed this spirit within us when He kissed us into life not that long after He had created light. 

He reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deep darkness into light. Job 12:22


God's presence in confusion

Confusion happens when mystery is an enemy and we feel we must solve it to master our destinies. Gerald May

We were flying down the road on the way to freedom. I said to my friend, “we are safe.” In that moment, I realized I had left a child at McDonalds. We had been eating a Happy Meal when 15 or so enormous men with gargantuan guns  entered. In fear, we snuck out. One problem. A child was left behind. Upon realizing I had left him, I turned around u-turn style no braking. Then realized I was in reverse and traveling backwards. Then came the dead-ends. I did not remember my way back to McDonalds. Then I saw the tanks and more big men with big guns. I was frantic, screaming. I took out on foot. I sprinted through alleyways, houses, shrubs. Finally, I started up some stairs that ended in a room with insulation and naked people of all ages hiding there in the insulation. 

Even as I cleared the sleep from my eyes, the details of this dream sharply stung my mind. Since we returned from Honduras, I have had varying scenarios with the same theme: a lost child I cannot get to. 

God’s “no’s” are about our protection. Whose protection? In this scene, God (if He is sovereign and I believe He IS) separates mother and father from children. Brothers are separated. Four children are left behind. In another country. Ruins. Wounds. Weeping. Devastation. 

Where is God? Why did He say NO to this? How can He rebuild? Redeem?

Yesterday Lloyd taught on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God placed it in the garden (a limit, a no) along with the Tree of Life. His plan was for us not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We got to eat freely of the Tree of Life securing our immortality. Once we ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil we were cut off from both trees. And chased from the Garden. From that moment on we would grope, fight and chant our way back to God’s Presence.

Abundant Life flows freely from God’s Presence. So now I don’t need the Trees. I have Christ. His Life paved the way for me to know God’s Presence, Desires, Influence, Healing in my life NOW. If we were created to be priests in the garden cultivating and keeping His Presence in the Holy of Holies, I can return to that role at any point. My TASK is to live with that as priority numero uno. I am a Levitical priest in the Holy of Holies robes a swinging, bell a jingling, incense burning.

So even when the circumstances paint only a picture of CONFUSION. What is God doing? Where is He? I don’t see Him. I can’t find Him. I rest in MYSTERY. 

He is at work. He is sovereign. He is the Father to the fatherless. He is I AM. I am not.

I go to my Holy Place where He ALWAYS is. And I bow my knee to Him. I shake my bell. I burn my incense. I chant the Holy Scriptures about the Truth of who my God is. 

I believe. 


the chick and the pharisee

The Chick and The Pharisee


To the unraveled, Jesus speaks these words…

How often I've ached to embrace you, children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings… Matthew 23:37

When I was a little girl, my mother would say, “Come get under my wing.” We would be piled in the bed on a Saturday morning, perhaps, and we would fight for those wings. Three sisters meant one would be outside the wing-wing. But we would nestle right beside each other there in the safety of a mother hen’s wing. This is a memory of shalom. Dan Allender defines shalom in The Healing Path, “Shalom involves rest and gratitude; it provides a momentary balance and harmony where all things seem right. We know few moments of this peace, but it is not unfamiliar to us.” For a moment, the three of us were safe under Mama’s wing. I dare say that something in our souls remembered Eden. 

Jesus chose these words, words spoken to little children, to confront the Pharisees of the day in Jerusalem. Before that verse in Matthew 23, He had called them frauds or hypocrites seven times. The word in Greek means pretender or actor. 

Jesus tells the pretenders that they live a life that is all spit-and-polish veneer. He warns the crowd not to follow them. “Be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer.” Matthew 23:3

What words are here for me today?

I know myself to be a pretender at times. Yet, also, deep inside, I long to follow Jesus and to worship Him in spirit and truth. Can both things be true? Absolutely.

The convergence of soul comes when I recognize the Pharisee in myself and let Jesus pick me up and put me under His Wing. In one sweeping act of shalom, I am content. If Jesus longs to put the Pharisee in me under His wing, I am a willing chick. I want to rest there and let all the parts of me know Him. The Pretender. The Pharisee. The Daughter. The Truth-teller. The Weak. The Chick.

If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty. Matthew 23:12



  1. to separate or disentangle the threads of

  2. to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation or a mystery

  3. to take apart; undo; destroy

Nobody wants to be unraveled. 

The picture of a disheveled and wild-eyed disoriented crazy person sits beside the word in the dictionary. We bathe and primp. Floss and flush. Deodorize and brush. We want to appear together. To unravel is to pull apart. Crack the thin veneer. 

A friend said, “For my part, ‘unraveled’ evokes images in me of being a bit frazzled and frayed--not really how I want to feel most days.”

But what happens when everything you believe in and live by is smashed to bits by circumstances? Does catastrophe work to re-form our lives? Can we begin to see God as He actually is and not the way we imagined Him to be? On our good days, we know we have the companionship of God. When it appears we have nothing else, is that enough?

There are moments in life when we are splintered. As children, perhaps, we make the decision not to be undone. We hold ourselves together by whatever means necessary. Maybe we kill or numb our hearts. We vow: I won’t be undone. Something in us says we will die if we don’t pull it together. But we won’t be able to put ourselves together again. So then as adults, we have to learn to let God unravel us. Unbind us. 

Sometimes when He unbinds us, He unravels us. 

Look at these other words… disentangle. Clear up. To free from complication or difficulty. Unravel is remarkably close to unbind. 

We want to be set free. We don’t want to unravel. Often, the latter is necessary.

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