Though Angels’ tongues could escape my lips and sentiment sweet should flow
When grace extends my patience thin
When arms become empty, hearts heavy, feet ready for escape, eyes drifting, head aching, song quiet, candles huffed to cooled wax, all seems lost around me, I remember.
Greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for a friend.
Perfect love casts out fear
Love suffers long and is kind
Love thinks no evil, bears all things, believes all things.
Love never fails.
Love is not about what I can get.
For love, I empty myself
I give all
I prefer another
I am fulfilled
PHOTOGRAPH BY LIONEL BROWN, GETTY IMAGES
You’re like lightning. You come in flashes that light the whole world with beauty. With each strike, you rejuvenate and enrich the soil. You bring with you hope and the promise of rain. But in the end, I know you’ll hurt me if i get too close.
God of all goodness, breathe on us today.
In mercy we find new beginnings.
In love, we find rest.
In you, we find peace.
Blanket our souls with the wonder of who you are
And we will find shelter in you, our comforter
I always thought my dad was a hero. I think a lot of us feel that way when we’re growing up. Fathers possess super powers to fix everything from squeaky hinges to teary moments and automotive mayhem. I still call my dad when the car is making a goofy noise and I’m worried. My husband will say something normal like “Take it to the mechanic.” and I’ll say something slightly irrational like, “I’ll call Dad and ask him.” As if Dad is going to be able to help from 1170 miles away over a phone. But my husband doesn’t have the same memories I have. I remember standing next to the open hood of the car watching Daddy fix everything so many times. I remember watching the car that should have been put out to pasture long ago still making its way down the interstate because of his powers.
I remember long summer days sitting by the lake reeling in fish. I remember pretending to fall asleep in the car just so he’d carry me inside late at night. I remember hearing him preach and then practicing my preaching skills to my congregation of stuffed squirrels and bunnies later that afternoon. I remember his smile in the audience while I sang a solo. I remember when he taught me how to play a “D” Chord on the guitar and trying SO hard to get my fingers to stretch far enough to play “G”. (I’ve got it down now by the way.)
My step-dad was equally heroic. When I wandered in the woods and encountered a rattlesnake or water moccasin, he would come save the day. He invested hours looking at boring shells and teaching me how to jump into a wave. He listened and laughed when I made up goofy jokes that didn’t deserve laughter. He put up with more than his share of tickle wars even though he hates to be tickled. We had fun. We laughed often and hard. We still do.
Many of us are blessed enough to have wonderful memories with our dads. Many of us are blessed to watch similar stories unfold between our husbands and our children. My husband is a hero. He nobly walks out his faith each day in front of our children. He works hard. He sacrifices time watching (and playing) golf to wrestle and laugh with our baby boy. He gives of himself and what is more heroic than that? I am blessed to be his wife. I am blessed by him as a father.
Still, even more heroic is the love of our Heavenly Father. He gave so that we can live. He gives abundantly. Grace and love flow freely from His hands, from His heart even when we don’t deserve it. Strength is defined in Him. Selflessness begins in Him. Life was and is breathed in Him.
Today, I am thankful for the heroes in my life. The world is a better place because of heroes like you. Happy Father’s Day!
I moved from Southern Ohio to Florida in 1988. I was in the fourth grade. It seemed so glamorous and magical at the time. We had a banana tree beside our little trailer and I thought it looked so tropical and lush. It was just a baby but we were so proud of it. I knew one day I’d be eating fruit we’d grown right there in our trailer park yard. Somehow, since then, I’ve lost some of the wonder.
When my husband and I moved into our current home, the yard was a little barren so we hired a landscaper to put in some plants that we weren’t likely to kill easily. We are not the most inspired gardeners. He put in several banana trees. I found myself complaining about them. I should focus on the green portions of the tree or the cute little bunches of bananas that grow from time to time, but instead, all I see are the brown droopy leaves bending low at the bottom of the plants. They are kind of ugly.
The noble trees are working hard to reach upward; growing fast toward the sun. They are even making precious fruit for me to enjoy and I sit and criticize and scorn them thinking my yard looks more like a mess than a tropical paradise. I could go tend them and clean up the area a little, but that demands more effort than I care to proffer so I choose the path of least resistance, annoyance.
Francis Frangipane mentioned this critical tendency recently when he said, “True, when I first see the need, typically, my flesh reacts with criticism. But if I repent of just finding fault – if I pray and submit myself to Christ’s heart – I soon discover there are many ways for me to participate in redeeming this situation, all of which fuel my spiritual growth. Indeed, by approaching the area of need with Christ’s redemptive heart, the “flawed reality” I initially criticized ultimately became the land of my anointing.”
I’ve known those who say they will never go to church because the church is full of hypocrites. And maybe they are right. Maybe we are all goofy looking banana trees reaching for the sun as the old sinful nature dies off and dangles, brown and ugly. Thankfully, God looks down from above and sees life and delights in all of us fruity folks. Still I can’t help but wonder what the body of Christ could do if we would take that child like perspective that sees the tree as magical, lush, tropical and full of wonder. What if we stopped criticizing one another and started participating in redeeming the situation? What if we pushed aside the urge to criticize and began reacting to annoyance first with prayer? What would we look like if we chose love? I, for one, am planning to find out.
I had my own private spot in the woods where two trees had fallen together creating a little seat just right for me. I would sit there for what seemed like hours singing and praying. It was there that all seemed right with the world. It was there, in my secret place, that I found my solace, meaning…peace. It was there that I began to know God. There, God could be felt, His presence overwhelming my soul. It was almost tangible. It filled the air like fragrance, the sweet incense of grace, permeating my heart until all doubts disappeared. Those moments in my secret place shaped my life forever.
It’s easy to forget when we’re running. There are kids to wrangle, clothes to wash, meals to prepare and we are spinning in circles wondering where the day went. Chasing after daylight like the last shadows melting away too soon. Yet, in the midst of the madness, the lover of our soul has prepared a place. It is there, in the middle of it all, that He waits, knocking softly on the door of our hearts. It is there, we can find our rest.
All it takes is a moment in His presence to ease the ache of overused feet. One moment with Him and all that seems too much becomes just enough because He is enough. Search for Him today. Find your secret place where He calls to you. Dance with Him as He rejoices over you with singing. Run with Him through flowery fields. Sit with Him on the dock and watch the sunset. Wherever He calls, answer and you will truly live.
I am a tapestry
Woven together, each fiber of my life until only beauty remains
Each color and hue lending to the whole
A piece of the picture you designed throughout the artistry of time
I’ve been pattered with purpose
Knit together with meaning
All I am rests in the hand of a loving craftsman
I am a masterpiece in the making
Psalms 139:1-18 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.