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

Entries in creation (3)



Lately I’ve been searching for grace. The Word of God speaks of showering grace upon us. Why is it that I act as if grace is scant?

I was on my knees in our bedroom in Honduras using my hands to gather up the fluid on the white tile floor. I spilled this “anti-aging serum” as I unpacked our bags from a trip back to the States. The magic fluid is not available for purchase in Honduras. Scant and rare, indeed, it promises a fountain of youth. And I needed it. 

This image comes to mind often when I think of my view of grace as scant. Scant is a verb. I scant grace.

I dole it out more like 5 mL of Benadryl before bed. 

Ephesians 2:7-10 says that God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

Nothing scant about that. Nope. Plentiful. Abundant. Overflowing in the form of a shower.

So as I have noticed this scanting of grace with others, I realize that I skimp on grace to myself. If I shower in grace, I am more likely to lavish grace on others. That’s what I want to do.

God chose beauty to remind us of grace.

Early in the history of the world after the flood, God placed a bow of colors in the sky to remind Himself of His covenant with earth. A covenant to choose grace. He will never destroy earth again by means of a flood. Instead, He will flood grace.

The rainbow appears in Scripture several more times. Ezekiel struggles to find words to describe his vision of Heaven and God on the throne. He says, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown.” Ezekiel 1:28

The radiance of God is like a rainbow. 

The representation of the shower of His grace looks like a rainbow. And when I see it, I have to fall to my knees and receive. I open my hands and let the abundance weight them down.

18. rainbow of grace

Grace is a woman with tender touch and strong, sinewy arms. She is a warrior for righteousness. Grace is not lithe and fragile, nor is she abrupt or crude, and at the moment of reception, her presence is fiercely kind. She receives us, but without negotiation and with no inclination to put us on comfortable footing. Instead, she takes utter charge of our being by throwing her arms around us in delight at our homecoming. Dan Allender


mamas offer refuge

Photo of my high school graduation. I'm on the left, Mama in the middle. My sister Jere is on the right.

Mama. What a beautiful word. Nurture. Encourage. Invest. 

When I was little, my Mama would comfort me by letting me crawl under her arm and lie down beside her. She would say, “Come and get under my wing.” My sisters and I would run in after a bad dream or a disappointment at school and find refuge under her “wing.”

Psalm 91:4 says “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” Mama may not have known it at the time, but she was teaching me about the faithfulness and protection of God.

Beginning with the womb, mothers offer refuge. A safe place. A place to be yourself. A place to learn who you are.

The story goes that my mom got her name, Joy, because of the overflowing gratitude her parents felt at the time of her birth. Mom’s older sister had died as an infant from a heart defect. The grief left my grandparents empty in heart and arms. What else could they name their next baby girl but JOY?

My mother personifies the word.

She lives with an incomparable zest for life. When she is in a room, not one inch of space is left untouched. Her quick wit and creativity splash the space with JOY. She likes to laugh and her laugh is as infectious as it is healing. I am thankful for that laughter as it was a frequent balm during my childhood.

Perhaps the most admirable quality in my mother is her courage. She faced overwhelming hardship in the deterioration of her marriage when I was 12 years old. She did not hide her hurt but her courage shone as she grieved and picked up pieces and built something beautiful. With her courage, she breathed something into me.

From my mother, I learned to value intelligence, a good book and a beautifully decorated table. She taught me to play tennis, to water ski, to snow ski and to stand up for what is right. I admire her ability to find adventure in picking a sunflower on the side of the road or to be astonished by some small bit of nature. I inherited from her a love of oceans, an eye for beauty, and compassion for the downtrodden.

In one week, I will board a plane and travel to a country I have dreamt of visiting most of my life. Italy. Mama will come and care for my children. They will be better for having spent a week with their grandmother so aptly named JOY. And so her investment continues. 

Leave a comment on how your mother invested in you.


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