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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 unbound (4)



Holy & Precious Lord, You are my strength & my song... my salvation... I look to You & You alone for healing. I trust that You use hurts & pains, ruins & trials to bring about Your will for Your children.My finger traced the smooth wooden grooves. With my eyes closed, my soul lead the way. One way. To the center of the circle. I did not worry over which way to go. Peace invaded my anxious body. 

Tranquility is the gift of the labyrinth.

Later on Joshua, 11, asked me about this strange-looking wooden disk. “It’s a labyrinth,” I said. “Trace it with your finger with your eyes closed.”

He smiled, closed his eyes and began the journey. 

“What are you feeling?” I asked.

“Peace.” His smile expanded.

A few mornings later as my eyes opened to the sunlight streaming through the curtains nearby, I became aware of how the bed held me up. This mattress, I thought, holds me up and I don’t have to do anything. Just relax my body and let it hold me. Then this thought careened through long-crusty neuropathways: What if I am exactly where I should be right now?

I worry. Am I in the right place? Is this where God wants me? Did I do the right thing?

When tragedy has visited my life, I clung to some control by making it about my choices. If I had listened... If I hadn’t made that turn... If I had only... 

Reality implores me to drop the myth that I am sovereign. Only One is Sovereign. 

The wonder of life with God is that He can even use my bad choices to bring glory to Himself.

“Everything in her life that was happening was exactly what was supposed to be happening and it was all opportunity for her healing,” writes Kitty Crenshaw and Catherine Snapp. Betty Skinner lived a hidden life which is now exposed in the book The Hidden Life. Betty mentored the authors, and they captured her thoughts and journal entries in this book. 

Labyrinth lends me the understanding that this path leads to the center and God is there. When I am walking this path, tuning my ears to hear His Voice, telling the truth about the present;  I will find Him. My experience speaks of times when I have listened poorly or rebelliously gone my own way, even then He has found me. 

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. He has given me everything I need for this moment. Even when my story folds back on itself with pain and tragedy, He is orchestrating my healing. 


“The chaos around us never changes. What changes is that we begin to view the world and ourselves differently. When we are finally able to live from a place of hope moment by moment, we don’t see the chaos as frightening anymore - it becomes an opportunity to offer love, presence and compassion in the midst of it.” The Hidden Life, p. 120





Unbind release from bonds or restraint, as a prisoner; free. unfasten or loose, as a bond or tie.

Unravel separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.). free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery. take apart; undo; destroy (a plan, agreement, or arrangement).

 Looking at the two definitions, it makes sense that the unraveling would occur first. Before you can unbind, you would need to unravel. And the unraveling is in a sense an unbinding. 

When the unraveling begins in my life, I only think of the third definition. Undo. Destroy. I don’t typically see that God is at work underneath the fabric separating, disentangling, freeing me from complications or difficulties. I can’t see that He wants to clear up or solve my addictions and idols. I grasp for faith that He is indeed unraveling a mystery in order to show me more plainly His Face.

In the past 10 weeks, I have had a bit of an unraveling. Again. 

I started working 2-3 days a week. With a busy family of three boys and a husband working also, the change was overwhelming if only taken from a logistics standpoint. Soon I began to nosedive: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. This does not mean that work was not good. I am aware of many blessings, gifts in returning to work. I enjoy my work. I can use an education and a language (Spanish), both gifts from God. This unexpected blessing is a provision financially for our family. And on and on. 

I hold both things: the blessing and the difficulties.

My tendency in the unraveling is to hunker down and hold on. To survive it. I grip the loose threads and try to knit them back together. I grasp for the unraveling fabric and attempt to hide behind it. Nothing in me wants to spread wide my arms and let go. Freedom? This does not feel like freedom.

I need time to be quiet. I need time to process. But life is coming so fast I cannot seem to get it all done. I really am demanding to UNDERSTAND. But God seems to be asking me to TRUST. I want to be the one to unravel the mystery. God wants me to just BE in his PRESENCE. And to worship the Mystery.

The unbinding, even the unraveling, is His work.


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.