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 »

Entries in Wait on God (32)


cannot miss

I got a text from a friend this morning. She said she woke up praying for me. She prayed Psalm 139 over me. I felt thankful for her words.

Then in the shower I tweaked my back. One side of my body is doing all the work. That side revolted today.

I had no idea how much I needed her words today, her prayers, the encouragement. How encouraging that these were provided before my need hit, before my back went out. She said to me, "You cannot miss what God has for you in this." What a relief! My sheep brain is very apt to miss something. But not what God wants me to see. I cannot miss it.

Today I am weak. I have fallen in the pit several times. Today I needed to hear that God has me. He holds me. In fact, I cannot flee from His Presence.

And He provided just that. Today.



Impermanence means the property of not existing for indefinitely long durations. Everything in this world rises, and everything passes. 

Ecclesiastes says it differently: 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born , and a time to die ; a time to plant , and a time to pluck up that which is planted ; A time to kill , and a time to heal ; a time to break down , and a time to build up ; A time to weep , and a time to laugh ; a time to mourn , and a time to dance ; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace , and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get , and a time to lose ; a time to keep , and a time to cast away ; A time to rend , and a time to sew ; a time to keep silence , and a time to speak ; A time to love , and a time to hate ; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I want to fight for permanence. 

The other night I worked over the stove busily preparing our dinner. I use a black iron skillet because, well because is another story. I had about four things cooking on the stove, and I needed to take the top off of the skillet. I reached for it and hastily placed it on our island. Our kitchen island is a butcher block reminiscent of the one I grew up around. It is made of birch and beautifully calls all visitors to come round and partake of rich food and fellowship. 

Later while cleaning up after dinner, I lifted the heavy top to find a perfect black ring on the butcher block. The rest of the night my stomach knotted around a nauseated center. I even said the word out loud. “Impermanence.” I said it softly like some magical mantra could raze the stain. 

Often God uses these daily consternations to teach me something. I thought now I am going to have to go around this island the rest of my life with this stain because I was in a hurry and careless... among other things. I tried several things to erase the stain. That stain was permanent. I told Matt. He took it pretty well. Josh and Sam came in to look at it and add their two cents. We discussed the rest of our lives with the black circle hawking all the attention from the beautiful wood. 

Before bed I tried one more remedy. Lemon juice. My mama taught me a lot about laundry. If lemon juice will take a stain out of white linen, maybe I have a chance with this wood. 

In about 45 minutes the circle was broken. I came in to the kitchen to see the beautiful wood without the disfiguring circle. 

See, I want what I want. I’d like some things to be permanent and some to change. I think God gets a good laugh at my bossing from down here. And I’m grateful for the lesson on impermanence.


do not cling

Lately I have been aware of places in my soul in deep need of grace. I shared some of those places and thoughts with some friends the other night. One precious new friend beseeched me to be gentle and find grace for myself. She said she would pray for me to find that grace. 

It has not even been 24 hours since then and already Jesus is answering. 

This harshness arises from the inner Pharisee (or critic) who stands in judgment of me. Her god is perfection. And when I don’t measure up, she swiftly pounds the gavel. She has relied on performance and approval to get by and to survive. She is hungry for grace but doesn’t know it all that well. 

For some time, in fact for seven years, I have judged our time in Honduras as a failure. Failure is a harsh word. The posture of the critic is even harsher. My eyes are coming unveiled to see what a tragedy it is to view it that way. It arises from an arrogant idea that I know what is best and God does not. I have judged His plan, doubted His care for orphans, and floundered under comparison of our journey with others. 

In reality, I am clinging to an idea of how I wanted things to work. I wanted to stay with those children and see them through graduation from high school. I hoped to never inflict upon them pain and loss. I wanted to keep living the dream of caring for them and fulfilling our calling as I understood it.  

After Jesus had died and was buried, the disciples stood around in the garden for a while. Then they went home. All but Mary. She cried as she stood there, and then went over and peeked in the tomb. She found it empty. She thought she saw the gardener and through teary eyes begged him to tell her where they had put Jesus’ body. When Jesus said her name, “Mary!” her eyes opened and she saw Jesus standing before her. ALIVE! 

He said to her, “Do not cling to me. Go to the brothers and tell them I have ascended to the Father.”

In that moment she transformed from a clingy, fearful, grieving woman to the first apostle to carry the good news on this earth. She let go of the reality she had wanted. Jesus is back. He is alive. Things can go back to the way they were. She grabbed hold of the future as Jesus set forth. “Go!” 

My hands are open. My arms are wide for the Pharisee to come in and receive warmth and grace. My eyes are on the horizon to see the path open wide before me.





Appoint means to assign, to determine to decide on. Have you ever considered that the trials in your life were pre-determined by our God? 

I started this post several days ago. Since then several things have happened that made me approach this subject with trepidation. A friend was diagnosed with cancer. I had to tell a patient at the clinic she probably had cancer. A friend’s father died. After these things happened, I sat down to write and thought to myself: I don’t have a thing to say about this subject.

Given some time, I want to attempt to share about it. During a troubling time in my past, the notion that God had ordained the days was one thing that continued to bring me comfort. Yes, I believe our God orchestrates our days and sometimes directly leads us into pain, trials, hardship even heartbreak. 

Consider Jonah. The New American Standard Bible says that God appointed a whale. Then he appointed a plant, a worm and finally a wind. Only one of these things comforted Jonah. The plant gave him shade and comfort and he was happy about it. I suppose the whale saved his life, but spending three days in the belly of a whale probably was not on his life plan. Surely the worm and the wind taught him lessons. 

The knowledge that God appoints events, people, births and deaths, storms and shade gives me comfort. I can trust He is working for my good even when all around me life is crumbling. While we sit in ruins trusting God can seem impossible. We have to lean on people who have walked through darkness and come out on the other side with strength and hope. 

My experience with trusting God even in the appointed heartbreaks of life builds my trust. I can lend that faith to others in times of uncertainty and doubt. Thus I am comforted while see those around me suffering. God is at work. He is good. 

He appoints my days.


wait and hope

This morning, Monday, I got up and prepared for work. Scrubs on and ready to walk out the door, I received a text that my first patient had cancelled. Now I am waiting. Swim practice is cancelled for Joshua and Samuel. Our family has a tinge of cabin-fever. We have exhausted our inside activities. Boys are loud and boisterous. The picture above shows our favorite indoor activity. We are stuck inside. Again.

Wait is a four-letter word. Waiting more than any other activity shatters my illusion of control. Perhaps that is why fast-food, drive-throughs, mail-order and many other hyphenated nouns developed. We hate to wait. I hate to wait. We are parked in a holding pattern as Matt is considering a career change.

At church we are going through a series on wisdom. Yesterday we listened to Psalm 119 being read aloud by 22 different recorded voices for each of the stanzas. When Bill Wellons first mentioned his plan to have this psalm (the longest chapter in the Bible) read aloud and that it would take 15 minutes, I admit to wiggling in my chair and planning a bathroom break. But once the voices started reading, I felt riveted to my chair. They began in the soft speak of children and ended with the wisdom of older voices. I had to resist the distraction of figuring out whose voice it was on the audible. In the end, I am reminded of the water of God’s word slaking the thirst of those panting for Him.

"Wait" is used 6 times in Psalm 119. One phrase captured my curiosity: Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget Your statutes (verse 83). What? 

With just  a little googling, I came to understand that phrase better. A wineskin was the skin of an animal, maybe the actual stomach, used to store wine. Gross, right? But they didn’t have the glass or Tupperware we have today and the skins worked dandily. 

If a skin was left in smoke too long, it became covered in soot, dried and shriveled. It lost its elasticity. The tents they lived in and cooked in often were filled up with smoke. To a Hebrew this made instant sense. 

David, the alleged author of this Psalm, is describing the struggle with waiting on God. The verb “to wait” is the same as “to hope” in Hebrew and in other languages like Spanish. This psalm uses both to wait and to hope in English. But in Hebrew it is the same word. Hope and wait are used almost interchangeably.

Waiting makes me feel useless, dried up, shriveled. I lose my flexability the longer I wait. Yeah. Kind of like a wineskin in smoke. 

Today I realize that waiting is more terrifying than anything. I am more afraid of waiting than I am of preparing to live in a third world country or of actually living in a third world country. I had a mission. I had instructions. I was buoyed by the illusion of feeling important. 

In waiting, I come face to face with my creaturehood. And in waiting, I am forced to decide my source of hope.