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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

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Entries in Lent (28)



Y’all. I feel like I have left Jesus in the grave. Well, I couldn’t even ever do that. Nor would I want to. But on this blog, I have not covered RESURRECTION. 

To be completely honest Easter Sunday was anticlimactic for me. We arrived 30 seconds late for the service at our church, and a bouncer stood at the door blocking our entrance. Well, actually he was really a nice man preventing us from letting in light so that the ones who arrived on time could experience this amazing prelude to worship. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but  I know it involved light. And so for the light to be extra bright, they needed to prevent the light from coming in from the outside. 

Because light is brighter right next to darkness. 

On Easter Sunday we missed the crescendo of the service. For a long time, I have been waiting for the resurrection. Where would I see the resurrected Jesus?

And on this past Sunday, a week after Easter, I saw Him. Matt and I have had a sideline seat to see how Jesus can rock your world, leave you panting as he takes you to the edge of a cliff and then show up at what seems like the last minute. 

A couple we know stepped out in obedience. They had a big need - a need falling in the category of food, clothing or shelter. After a hard decision to obey, they waited. And they waited. Then they waited. And one provision slipped out of their hands. What would God do? They waited again. 

The way God provided - at the last minute, mind you - but they way God provided, well, it blew us all out of the water. 

This is the story of Easter. The disciples, the Mary’s, the followers: all thought hope had died with Jesus. He was simply weening them of hoping in anything but Him. When He appeared, He blew all their puny hopes away and showed them HOPE. 

The darkest day followed by the brightest day. It seems every day holds a little of both. May our eyes be sensitive to His light!

Happy Easter! Even if it is a bit late!


tomb: 40 words in 40 days

Holy Saturday is a day of quiet between the death of Jesus and His Resurrection. 

Friday the women waited outside the tomb. Joseph of Armithea had taken Jesus’ body from Pilate and laid Him in his own tomb. Saturday everyone went home to rest on the Sabbath “in obedience to the commandment.” Luke 23:56. For Jews then, the Sabbath was on Saturday.

Rest. Sit and wait. Obey without an indication of what comes next. These are the facets of Holy Saturday. These are the components of living in the now but not yet. 

Perhaps Holy Saturday is a paradigm of sorts to living in this age. Jesus is not in the grave. He is seated at the Father’s right hand. And yet we live in brokenness. Our bodies are racked by disease and and the long haul of aging. Our relationships do not bear the image of the glorified Christ. Our families often lie in ruins.

And yet Christ is at work in our bodies, in our lives, in our families, in our relationships. 

Holy Saturday is the day that Christ descended into hell. Hades and hell tremble on Holy Saturday. And today Christ is at work in the hell of our lives freeing captives, conquering death, opening blind eyes. 

It often seems like we are sitting at the tomb. We are assured of life and victory. Yet we look in and see darkness. We must believe that although we cannot see nor understand what is happening; we know the One who orchestrates our lives. 

To sit by the tomb on Holy Saturday is to wait on God to work and to believe that He will. In His time. In His way. We wait. We are present by the tomb.


darkness: 40 words in 40 days

Clouds roll in over Mt Vernon (home of George Washington). We toured there Tuesday.

Today is Good Friday - the day Jesus hung on a cross and died.

Recently, Lloyd Shadrach preached on this day. It has not left me since. God, he said, is present in our darkest moments.

As I reflected on this truth, it hit me that healing comes when we find resolution in this fact. He did not stop nor prevent my darkest moment. He orchestrated it. And He transcends it.

My first response to this truth has not always been comfort. I've experienced some anger and breathed hard questions. Like why? Exhale. And what now? Exhale.

My arrogance pales in the shadow of the cross when God poured His wrath out on His Own Son.

Lloyd said, there has never been a darker moment than the death of Jesus. Hope died. Perhaps loss is God's way of weening us of false hope.

I have no other hope than Jesus. He is not in the grave. He is alive.

Today I remember the darkest moment when the earth convulsed and the curtain was rent in two. Sin can no longer separate me from my God. The blood has won. Light has come.


adversity: 40 words in 40 days

I often forget how adversity strengthens the spirit and stretches the soul. I don't like adversity or conflict or disharmony. In the midst of them, I feel like death hovers near. Perhaps it does, and the very act of overcoming it strengthens us.

Part of our family is in Washington DC this week for Spring Break. My oldest son chose the beach with friends. The rest of us are staying with my friend Jennifer LeBow and her family. I have never before been to our nation's capital.

The first day we walked among the monuments - giants chiseled in stone, words weighing more than the marble and granite. The adversity of my nation glared at me. At times the issues have polarized us and driven us to war. At times poverty has threatened to destroy our children. Each time, so far, we have risen to the challenge.

Middle age brings with it a somewhat cynical viewpoint of politics. I have considered that perhaps it is a mid-life developmental milestone to doubt your political leaders and wonder if your nation can survive. As I literally strolled through our history, the hope of our past clunked down in front of me.

What we face now is really not as colossal as the things we have overcome in the past. Adversity has done its work in us. We are strong even if we sleep sometimes through days requiring more awareness.

As cheesy as it may sound, we need leaders from my generation to rise up and give voice to a path for the future. We don't need more Monday morning quarterbacks. We need men and women of valor and honor and integrity.

At times I think we are more divided than we have ever been, but I walked through Arlington. I am praying that God would provide leaders who would do more than point fingers. We need men and women to stir up courage and not fear.

I am praying for our country. I have found great hope in a strange place - in the monuments of the past.


content: 40 words in 40 days



I’m not content. 

I feel it in the knots in the muscles in my upper back. Within those knots stress lives. Stress tells me I am not doing enough. If I don’t get the laundry done, the world will end. Or if I don’t pack, we won’t go to Washington DC. 

If I’ve learned anything about being content, I learned it from the Honduran people. I’m certain their contentment wooed me there. My first trip there in 2001 I saw it in their faces. It was like a treasure map with the X marking gold. Those faces smudged with dirt and smoke from the fires where they cooked tortillas beckoned me there. Treasure like I had never seen or smelled or touched: it was contentment amidst hunger and poverty.

Jesus spoke of it when he said: “Blessed are the meek.” The Message says, “You are blessed when you’re content with just who you are - no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matthew 5:5.

At the heart of it is trust. Contentment means to trust God with all of His dealings with you. Believe that they are good. He is good. Don’t resist or dispute. That’s what I saw there.

And in confessing a malcontent soul, in trusting that the blood forgives and the Spirit redeems; I find the treasure.