Goodreads to Muse

Click to read my reviews

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 Honduras (13)



To welcome is to give space to someone. As I wait, I welcome Jesus to my life, to my reality, to the chaos, to this moment.

The King of the Universe, the One Who spoke stars and planets into existence entered our world as an infant - a dependent and vulnerable baby. Is there any greater paradox? If so, I don’t know it. This King doesn’t need my welcome, mind you. But in another paradox, He waits for me to welcome Him. 

Given my pace of life and the intensity, one could assume that the point of Christmas is lost on me. The lists, the menu, the coupons, the sales; all add up to the notion that if I don’t to it, Christmas won’t happen. 

I may welcome Christ into the first 20 minutes of my day. Often, sadly, I have the attitude: Use this 20 minutes, Lord, because I am busy later. 

But do I welcome Him when I realize that I have put 3 tablespoons of baking powder in the rolls instead of 3 teaspoons? What is the posture of my heart when I am negotiating with my brother-in-law who will spend Christmas where? 

Usually I quickly calculate how I will get it done. What will be required? How long will it take? How many other people will I have to involve? Rarely do I stop and say, “I am the Lord’s handmaiden. May it be as you have said.”

This Christmas, as I shop, as I bake, as I love my family well; I want most of all to welcome Christ into my space - to be a womb for the Son of God to dwell. 

Mary’s response to the angel changed her life to be sure. Her “yes” grew from a microscopic zygote to a man who won forever the war on sin and evil. His life, death and resurrection changed the world. May I have the courage, May you have the courage to say “YES” and create a space for God to come and dwell. Our hearts are enlarged in the waiting, in the welcoming.

 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!

Romans 8:9-11



remembering Honduras

On the day we left our home of four years, the gravel crunched beneath our feet and I felt as if the Earth may fall away. The children lined up on the road at Rancho Ebenezer snailing their way to school on the first day back. We rounded the first bend in the steep dirt road to be greeted by two oxen pulling a cart and a Honduran man with a staff mumbling out commands only oxen understand. The man tipped his hat at us as the oxen seemed to imitate him with their horns. They saluted us goodbye. 

I memorized the road. The house with the geranium in a coffee tin stood as a reminder of my first trip down this mountain some 6 years earlier. The Honduran people had impacted me, changed me, with their easy smiles, gentle demeanor and determined generosity. On that trip we had inched down the road in a pick-up truck. Hondurans give pick-up a whole new meaning. When our load maxed out at around 20 people hanging off the sides and packed inside, we stopped and picked up four more walkers. The Hondurans smiled, scooched over and never uttered a word of complaint. The geranium house came to symbolize this people for me. They can do a lot with a little and smile the whole while. 

I swallowed hard and nodded goodbye to the pulpería (a small “corner” market) and the tears fell as my heart filled up with love. The soccer field across the street served as a local gathering spot. Just down the mountain, the health clinic and middle school buzzed with activity. We reached our top speed of 25 and hit the pavement a short while later. A fog of pollution and smoke hung over the city. I scanned the skyline and begged my brain to take it all in.

The crowded airport air hung around us like robes. Typical of the culture, the pseudo-line had dissolved into complete chaos. A short man with a belt-buckle the size of Texas pressed against my back. His breath on my neck was hotter than the sun. We held onto our boys and I tried not to wail out loud. My fingers read their faces like Braille. 

The crowd swallowed us up like a giant ameba and we had to let them go. The grief I felt was far heavier than Samuel in my arms.

The crowd pressed into a semi-circle around one doorway. Someone started shouting for us to let a disabled woman through. I remember looking on in a daze as the allegedly handicapped woman walked closely behind a man waving a walker over his head. 

Someone near me, an official I think, began yelling that I was getting high blood pressure and had a baby and needed passage. I might faint, he said, if they did not let me through. The crowd parted like so much Red Sea. Pressing forward in a stupor, I crossed the threshold of the security door with Sam (9 months) and Joshua (5). Matt and Matthew stayed with the crowd and the carry-on luggage. I located the correct gate and bee-lined it to the nearest window. I could not silence nor soften the sobs that wracked through my body. My forehead rested on the floor-to-ceiling-glass pane that separated me from the country I had grown to love and from my children. Desperately, I searched the parking lot below. I wanted one last glimpse of them. 

I felt a presence beside me. It was the woman of the walker. However, now she leaned on it and invaded my personal space. I was too emotional to notice and before I knew what hit me she enfolded me in some of the largest, warmest, most welcome arms I have ever been hugged by. I blubbered out some of my story and she comforted me with words I do not now remember. It had something to do with God’s timing and His sovereignty. Truth. I recognized it. Her words were right and healing and spoken with such kind compassion they did not sound cliché. She held me for a while – me and Sam with Joshua close by. I needed the words but mostly the arms. Finally, I looked up to see Matt and Matthew struggling like beasts of burden to the gate. He joined me at the window and we scanned to and fro. No sight of our boys. We boarded the plane and began our long journey away from Honduras and the children we loved.

While my family and I waited at the baggage carousel in Miami, I spotted the supposed handicapped angel. As I looked on incredulously, she heaved a giant trunk off the conveyor belt with the apparent ease of a wrestler. Was she handicapped? Had she experienced a miraculous healing? Was she a fraud? Was she a mirage? I do not know. All I know is that she was God’s perfect provision at the perfect time. 

Four years later to the day, I sit in profound awe of how He has provided perfectly for us. Often, I have questioned his timing. Lord, now? Or you want me to do what? Why? At times, the darkness of grief has enveloped me and I wondered if God was with me. On this side of it, four years later, I can say that He is true to His word. He never left me nor forsook me. 

I am grateful for the way Honduras changed me. I learned many lessons at the feet of Hondurans. One is the relevance of time. Another is the value of relationships. How to greet someone. How to hug. How to pray. How to serve. How to love. 

I went to Honduras to love Hondurans and yet their love profoundly changed me. 


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. 

Page 1 2 3