Word & Light: 31 Days of Wedded Words


I didn’t care much for history in High School. It was a lot about getting the answers on the tests correct. Memorizing dates and names of treaties, and such obscure-to-me things felt like a boring waste of time.

And then I became an adult, and began to take my faith seriously, and I began to read the Word of God. I also read The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer. That combination stoked in me a deep desire for, and a fascination with history.

I was particularly fascinated by Nazi Germany. Because I couldn’t fathom – my eyes crossed thinking of it – how so many human beings could be so blind to the horrors of the holocaust.

How was it that so many people participated in the imprisoning, torturing, and murdering the Jewish people?

It still slashes at my soul; my heart agonizes when I think of the darkness of those days.

And then I consider our own land, our “this is our watch” time in history, and how we can see inside the womb of a mother with such accuracy that we discern the gender of a baby. The tiniest heart can be seen inside the womb, beating. The life of the flesh is in the blood. [Leviticus 17:11] And yet there are so many blind to reality – the unborn child is LIVING. People believe lies.

The heart beat is indication of life. And then there are the fingers, toes, arms, legs, feet . . .

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:31-32

The Jews would have been free if their murderers would have seen the truth.

Babies would live if the doctors and nurses and mothers and fathers would see the truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

The only way to see the truth is to be “in the Light” To abide in the Word. Sight and Light comes by the Word of God. Jesus is the Light of the world.

Jesus opens blind eyes.

Not all seeing eyes can see.

The eyes that see are the eyes of the heart.
The heart must be softened to the truth to see. img_2184 img_1933 img_2185

The Word, Jesus is the Eye-Solution. He purifies, descales, and shines His light the darkness. Isaiah 9:2

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27

Every human being is a magnificent creation, fashioned uniquely by the Hands of God. When hearts are soft, and eyes are washed with the water of the word, when the Truth is evident, and can be received in a softened heart. Then the radiance; the reflection of the Father would stop every hand short.

Life would be precious in our sight.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7

Lord Jesus, we all have blind spots. None sees the truth plainly, all at once. Will you please cause your Word to go out and to come in and light up our darkness? Open our eyes Lord. Not only to see the unborn as masterpieces created by Your Hand, but SEE one another with your love. Help us see Your beauty and light in the eyes of Your created ones. 


Power & Glory: 31 Days of Wedded Words


There is a scuffle outside, a little noise, and I know it’s them. We’ve been expecting the moment. The door bursts open, and the little radiant face comes running, arms wide open. I squat down . . . wait for the sound in the smile . . . “GRAAAM-MA!!!!” My arms clutch him close, sinking my lips into tender cheeks. schwanke-picture-sunday-2016_108 schwanke-picture-sunday-2016_122

It’s an atmospheric shift. The air, now charged with toddler-energy, and joy as deep as a boat ride on a sunny day.

The Word of God came creating – the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters at the beginning of time, then hovering over the womb of a woman. Her young life, it shifted significantly. She believed it, and received the Word, and birthed Him into earth’s atmosphere.
Our Savior, Christ Jesus, the Living Word, Immanuel. 

In the middle of time, the long-awaited mystery, revealed. Him who became sin for us, and took the wrath of God upon Himself in our place.

He said, “Follow Me. Abide in Me”
Abide in the Word of God.

The Word, He first spoke into the dark-nothing, back in the beginning: “Let there be . . .  and there was . . . everything and trees – with fruit to eat, good for life.”

The Word then came in a Garden, “Man, reflect Me. I’ll take you a-part and put you back together again, from one to two, face to face – be made one again. . . Then, reflect Me, be fruitful and multiply, make love, make life.” 

“I give you all the trees, but not the one tree.

The lie came, and trust died, embedding a lie – and then, rebellion. The one “bad-for-me-tree” looked good and humanity bought pain.

The Word continued to speak, “Take trees and pound nails – to Save LifeBuild an ark.” . . . Then, “Leave your people. Sacrifice your son. Your trust proven, stop. Here’s a ram.” . . . “Go get a wife for your redeemed son from your people.” . . . “There are two nations in your womb, the older will serve the younger.” 

The Law-Covenant will serve the Grace-Covenant.
The natural failed, will serve the promise kept.    Galatians 3:23-25

The Word, came forth from a fiery bush, not burning: “Go. Deliver. Speak. I Am with you. Kill a lamb and wipe the blood on the trees that frame your doors. I will cause death to pass over. . . . Leave. Now stand still. I make a way, Cross. . . . From slave to free. I will prove your need and prove Myself to you. . . . I Am deliverer. I Am bread, I Am water, I Am protection. I Am with you. I Am your God. I Am the way. I Am the law of love.”

Many other Word-bearers are imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Prophets of God. Proving more our need. Proving Him, the Hand that delivers, provides, protects, corrects, hurts, then heals . . .

Further on in HisStory:
The baby-Jesus is birthed into a barn. The atmosphere knows.
King Herod shakes, and seeks to kill the Word.
The man-Jesus spends three years plowing through religion, sprouting the Word in the earth.
The Pharisees shake; they enter the Garden to arrest the Word.
Shaken, fallen – in the presence of the Word.    John 18:6
They abuse, brutally kill the Word made flesh, nailing Him to a cross-shaped tree.

And the mighty rumblings . . . The earth quaked. The sky darkened. The Temple curtain was torn in two. Three days later the stone, it rolled away. The tomb could not contain or chain the Word! It has proven to be the Rock that rolled the stone away. Broke slaves free, once-for-all, those who obey.

And the Word, you can see His Power, He always enters brilliantly – shards of Light, Truth, transforming, reforming, informing . . .  creating, rebuilding, renewing. Altar-ing, turning this dust, all these ashes of His fiery refining into Glory.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
So also it is written,
“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

The older will serve the younger.

The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

1 Corinthians 15:42-49

It’s a significant shift when a grandson shows up in the doorway. When our Jesus shows up, it’s a “breaking-in,” a Rock-resounding.

There is always momentous shifting. Earth and man, trembling – shaken, awakened, all Altared by His power and His glory.

Some run toward the Word, to persecute and kill Him. Some run away in shame.

And some . . . some run into it and are saved by His power unto glory. Proverbs 18:10

Bounty & Blessing: 31 Days of Wedded Words

It’s hard to describe my cocktail of emotions as I’d see Shannon riding her lawnmower down the hill on the two-lane highway. It was at least a mile and a half that she puttered to my house to help me with my one-acre yard. I hadn’t asked her, but she was one of those people whose eyes spoke to her heart. She saw me.

It took me a good three hours each week to push-mow our yard with our rattle-trap mower. I somehow managed to get both of the kiddos to nap at the same time so I could go out.

It had become my job largely due to my feeling as if I had to make up for being a stay-at-home mom. [hello culture induced guilt-trip!]

It was during our extremely lean years of medical debt. The years when we were over 30 days late on our house payment more than once. And everything just ‘hurt.’

She would call me before going grocery shopping and ask what I needed. Or she’d pop in and bring me bags of apples and oranges.

Since my vehicle was long-dead, and we had no budget to replace it for a time, Rhonda picked me up to bring me and my two little ones to MOPS once a month. So I could maintain sanity. And she took me and my babes to Bible study every Tuesday.

I remember shopping with my mom one time, Mom and Dad were still raising my younger siblings and still dairy farming. Things were always financially tight for them too. But as I moaned a little to her, you know, as daughters might do to their moms . . . about not being able to buy a new towel for my kitchen, she reached for the towel and placed it in her cart – for me.

Those were humiliating times – humbling experiences that are seared into my memory. Pain does that, Pain mixed with gratitude stick in the soul’s memory.

A couple years after months of fighting, and failing to catch up financially, we put our house on the market to use the equity to pay off our mountain of bills. It sold within nine days. And our buyers wanted in quickly.

We had 30 days to find a house. And we didn’t.

Shannon and her husband invited us to stay in their basement. Rhonda and her husband offered their shed and a stall in their garage for our belongings. Yeah, that is seared in my memory too. We were living there in limbo for a little over two months.

Our basement-dwelling days . . .

Our basement-dwelling days . . .

















Those times that my friends and family generously shared their bounty with me have served to help me “see” others; to see the way God means for us to pour out our blessings when we notice a need.

I know the feeling of being seen, honored, and loved when feeling desperate. And since those days, I have learned it’s true, that is more blessed to give than to receive.

6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written,

“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the [h]saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.    2 Corinthians 9:6-12

We cannot out-give God. What He gives, when poured out for the needs of others joyfully, will be restocked in order to continue the flow of God’s love.

Our bounty is made for blessing and results in joyful thanksgiving and glory to God. Who might need some of your blessings today?

Leaving & Cleaving: 31 Days of Wedded Words

D and I have discussed disliking the often-asked question regarding our move across the river, “How do you like Bayport?”

And the reason it’s so hard to answer is that we went from our dream-setting of having a sunset-over-the-lake view, to losing that home due to betrayal of his former employer and friend. They had purchased the home for us and told us it was part of his salary package. It would be ours in ten years, unless he sought other employment, and then we would purchase it from them.

When he quit, we received the paperwork, and then two days later, were told that they were keeping the house. Though they’d promised a contract, and talked of it often over the year we lived there, we’d never gotten it.

So, we lost our view, and we lost our “home country”. We lost a ton of money from our investment in the improvement of the property, and the increase of value through our sweat equity. [yes, we knew there was risk, but also had little choice given our circumstances]

I’ve moved many mature perennials from one garden to another, and they need large doses of continual water to “un-wilt.”

I’ve reminded myself in the lonely times, that to uproot a twenty-year planting, and replant, the re-rooting simply takes time.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our home. We really are thankful and know it’s a good gift from our Father. And we have been blessed with great neighbors. Which is saying a lot when we have four encircling us, and at least three more back yards butted up to ours.

We also do like our yard, though we weren’t able to spend much time outside over summer due to mosquitos in droves. [Oddly, there were very few at the lake.]

And we actually like this odd little town with it’s checker-board roads, sporting only yield signs at the crossroads. [I’ve yet to see an accident, but rather expect to!] And it hosts both diverse and quaint houses.

But on Tuesday night, I had a bit of an epiphany.

I am attending a Bible study with my cousin and her friends. We are studying The Real Heaven by Chip Ingram, and the question was posed: “Which of the these three statements do you connect with personally, enabling you to having a more accurate view of Heaven?”
* Perspective in times of trouble
* Perseverance in times of temptation
* Priorities when under pressure

And I’d already thought through many of the reasons that God may have allowed this loss and transition in my life, I’ve been watching for the “aha” moments, and have a small collection of them. 

And I’ve asked the kinds of questions any normal person would ask, “Lord, did I love the lake-view too much? Was I enamored by Your sunsets more than You?”And in my asking, I’ve known that I need to rise up above those questions and get into the bigger story. I need to yield my life again to the same call of every Christ-follower: 

Luke 14:25-27

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

[By this He obviously didn’t mean He is commanding hate, but that we must be willing to make all other important-to-us things – yes, even relationships – SECONDARY to our devotion to Him]

I am not my own. I have given my life to Him, whatever the cost. I am in His hands. I needed to do the “Romans 12:1-2” again. Climb up on the Altar, and align my mind with His again.

And so in the telling of that story to my friends the other night, shards of light came in. I told them, “I am an ambassador here. That this world is not my home, and Heaven is ahead.”

I already knew it, I’ve preached it to myself, but I think I needed to say it out loud.

I’ve noticed an unusual amount of joy in my new living location since Tuesday.

Because resonating in the back of my mind during the hardest part of our move, there was an echo of the words from Hebrews 10:34 “they gladly accepted the confiscation of their property” . . .that great cloud of witnesses that has gone before me had encouraged me . . . as well as my consideration for those who are living as refugees today – totally without a home.

So, as in so many other transitions in my life since following Jesus, I leave the past and the dreams behind, and continue to cleave to Him Who will one day welcome me to my better and abiding Home. Where I’ll have exceedingly abundantly more than any dreams I could have here on this earth.

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–
1 Corinthians 2:9

Yes I will. I will leave and cleave to my Covenant-Keeping God. Whatever the cost.

Trust & Obey: 31 Days of Wedded Words & A Giveaway


If you are like me, a song is already in your head from reading the title. 🙂

Often when I am in a Bible study or small group and we are circling around a truth, seeking to uncover a “what” or a “how” in a particular scenario, the answer ends up being – we circle right back to this combination of words – Trust & Obey.

Okay, I’ll finish the lyric that I know is in your head, “for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

So, I could finish this post with that to meditate on.  Listen to the song, and perhaps God will help you apply it to the one thing you have been seeking an answer for.

And after you get done with that, you can click below for a chance to win $100.00 Gift Certificate from Dayspring. You’re welcome! [From Dayspring, preferred partner of “write 31 days challenge”]

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Humility & Wisdom: 31 Days of Wedded Words

It’s good for us to know in this world of conflict in which we are living, that all responses to prideful accusation or boastful threats fall under one of the two categories:
Pride or Humility.

And whichever we choose will determine whether we reap life or destruction.


When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

A favorite story of mine is found in 2 Kings 18-20, where the proud King of Assyria, Sennacherib was attempting to intimidate Hezekiah, King of Judah, by boasting of his former victories, mocking, and making threats.

Here is how King Hezekiah responded:

As soon as King Hezekiah heard it he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord.  2 Kings 19:1

He was acknowledging his powerlessness before the Lord. The tearing of clothing and putting on sackcloth was evidence of humility and mourning. He then sent his people, also clothed with sackcloth, to find the prophet Isaiah.

Upon arrival, they delivered King Hezekiah’s message:

“This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; . . . It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master, the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 2 Kings 19:3-4

To which Isaiah replied,

“Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the kind of Assyria have reviled Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.” 2 Kings 3:6-7 [empahsis mine]

So . . . Sennacherib puffs up his chest and basically tells Hezekiah through a letter, “Don’t let your God deceive you.” [verse 10-13] . . . and continues to boast of his other exploits.

Hezekiah, once again humbly goes before the Lord and “spread the letter out before the Lord” and prayed:

“Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.” 2 Kings 19:15-19

And God answers through Isaiah, with a long message stating that God has heard his prayer and sees the pride and boasting of his enemy, and will Himself defeat him. [see verses 21-28] With a further promise of making the surviving remnant of His own people fruitful.

That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
2 Kings 19:35-37

The humble response of King Hezekiah saved his people.
God Himself fought for them.

Had Hezekiah answered Sennacherib’s pride with his own pride, there would have been mass-destruction, and much bloodshed.

This kind of thing doesn’t only happen to Old Testament Kings. It happens to us in our everyday lives. Boasting against our God. Intimidating threats. [Have you heard the term, “fear mongering”? I’m beginning to bristle at the repetition of certain words and phrases used and re-used. How about you?]

Have you felt threatened or accused by someone who felt like an enemy recently?
How about through the misunderstanding of a friend or group of people?

Have you discerned the real enemy when it happens and gone to your knees in prayer?
Do you trust that God has your back and promises to be your shield and defender?

For a few more of my favorite stories of God’s people choosing humility and acting in life-saving or life-creating wisdom:
1 Samuel 24 -David with Saul
1 Samuel 25 -Abagail with David
1 Samuel 1 – Hannah

Fall reminds me of humility, the laying down of our life, to let God rise up out of the dust what He wills . . .


Law and Order: 31 Days of Wedded Words

law-order-31-days For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. 1 Corinthians 14:33

I chose today’s words, not because they came from the mouth of a “politician” recently. Not because they are the title of a TV show [which I don’t think I ever watched] but because I keep thinking that it feels like the whole world is in chaos.

We have lawlessness.
We have disorder.

And yet, when I look at my everyday life here in the suburbs, things are pretty peaceful, other than the SOS calls I get for prayer on occasion, or the ambulance or police car with their lights and sirens flashing while I’m out. None of those things are new.

So I study the dichotomy of a world in chaos according to the media I see and hear . . .  there is a “reality out there” with the wars and the storms, the shooting and the looting.

And then there’s my regular, everyday life of waking, and sleeping and everything in between . . .

But I am FEELING the chaos, and realizing much of the disturbance in my soul is due to my eyes taking in the media reports and the social media world.

I read a post on Twitter today by a Christian leader about a presidential candidate [just pick one!] and then glanced through some of the comments in reply to him.

My spirit became extremely disturbed.

It seems no matter which side people are on [note: I’m talking “Christian” people here]. . . and that is a sorrowful, yet telling statement . . . there is a venomous finger-pointing, labeling of “the other side” as evil and ignorant and all kinds of other condemning words.

I tried to shed the knot in my gut, ruminating on what I’d seen. And my deduction: “Dear Jesus, help us to get quiet, get in our prayer closets, get with our real-life people and pray, study scripture and then, THEN when we go out, always and only speak life – unless God directs a prophet to “warn” someone in authority, specifically. And personally.”

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament Prophets. It’s like looking at a window to America. Have you seen that?

As I read, I observe that the prophets  God called were sent to LEADERS, to the law-makers, and the law-enforcers – to the Kings and Shepherds and to those in authority.

This is God’s ORDER. It’s why He has given LAWs and established ORDER. So we would have a peaceful way. [See James 3:15; 16; 17; 18]

As far as I can recall, He never called His people – laymen or leaders – to spew out their opinions – or even His word – wherever there was a “microphone” . . . He never called leaders to “call out” His people publicly, whether individually or en masse.


He warns us, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine or they will turn and trample you.” Matthew 7:6

He exhorts us to use wisdom and discretion: The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

He sent Jonah to the leaders of Ninevah. He sent Esther to the King. He sent Joseph to Pharaoh. He sent Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Amos, Ezekiel . . . all were sent to speak the word of the Lord to leaders.

The applause for the Christian Tweeter’s words were sickeningly prideful, and most of the words against him were equally sickening; hostile.

His tweets are not helping bring peace and reconciliation. According to scripture, he and others on self-proclaimed platforms have . . . become fools.

Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king. Ecclesiastes 9:17

The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly. Proverbs 12:23

A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. Proverbs 29:11

Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. Proverbs 10:19

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. Proverbs 15:2

Processing this through the lens of God’s word is giving me an incredible amount of peace and understanding. Perhaps if enough people see the benefits of pulling back from those conversations, we will be able to put out the flames of the increasing hostility-fire.

Dear Jesus, help us. Amen

Quietness & Trust: 31 Days of Wedded Words

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
. . . Isaiah 30:15


It was as if I was 12 years old, wiggling the antennae of our Black & White TV in order to get the picture to come in clear.It was 1992. I hadn’t had an ultra-sound with my first pregnancy.  But with my second, I ended up in the hospital, due to early labor.  I was staring at the screen, eyes large from fear and some wonder at what I might see there.

The doctor squirted a blob of clear gel on my protruding belly, pressed the cold bar back and forth, up, down, and around – trying to get a good picture. It had to be at least 20 minutes. Eventually he determined I’d need to “fly” by ambulance to a hospital in the Twin Cities that would be equipped to handle preemies. He determined I was at least six weeks early and administered the drug to stop my labor.

The nurse warned me before leaving about the doctor that would be seeing me when I arrived. “He has a bad bedside manner, but he is an excellent doctor.”

Upon arrival in what turned out to be an $800.00 ride, I was ushered to my room, and met the man who, true to the nurse’s description, was partly chilly. How thankful I was, in my emotionally vulnerable state, for that bit of info.

I was stunned to see the Monitor at this larger hospital more resembled the 1992 TV we had at home, the picture clear, colorful, and it took a whole six seconds after gelling my belly for him to tell me, “I don’t know who is giving you your dates, but you can have this baby. Let me order an amneo to make sure the lungs are developed adequately.”

I’d heard about those amneo’s. Needles the size of a ruler that they stuck in your belly. It turned out not nearly as bad as that, and it was determined that I was 36.5 weeks along and all would be well with baby.

So they took me off drugs and after many excruciating hours of my body contracting but not advancing the process enough, the doctor finally came back and pricked my water sack, causing them to literally run me down the hall to the delivery room, and hold my knees together until Dr. “gloved up” . . .

And Ethan was delivered into Dr’s hands, my body the quarterback.
Safely, at 5lbs 13 oz.

Six weeks later on a Tuesday, still under 8lbs, Ethan began to projectile vomit, the stream reeked of rotten eggs.

I continued to feed him, and he continued to vomit. By Friday I went into the Dr. who ‘felt for something’ in his tiny belly, didn’t find what he was looking for, sent me home with instructions “Give him pedialite, and if he isn’t better tomorrow, bring him back in. We don’t want him dehydrated.”

Saturday morning we were back in. Exrays were ordered. The barium was fed to him, he was put on a conveyer belt for photos, the barium was syphoned out through a tube in his nose, and we were sent back to the hospital in the Twin Cities.

He had Pyloric Stenosis and would have to have surgery. It was scheduled for 10:00 am Sunday.

Upon arrival, they sought to get an IV in him to keep him from dehydration. First they pricked the needle into his hands, then his feet, each time unsuccessful in piercing a vein. On the seventh try, they had success getting the needle in the top of his little head. They taped a dixie cup over the top of the needle so it wouldn’t get bumped.

I was alone with my baby and the sympathetic nurses during that time. They had so wanted to save me the trauma of seeing a needle in my baby’s head, but actually served more trauma in the long run. Bless their hearts. I was thankful for their empathy.

Seven pricks in my tiny little man was much trauma for this mama. 

But through this journey, and the resulting $30,000.00 worth of medical debt that weighed on us for years, eventually causing us to “sell the farm” to get out from under it, the Lord sustained us with His strength.

That season of my life was very isolated. We had moved an hour away from home, my husband commuted an hour to and from work. My car had broken down and we couldn’t afford another. I was in a position where the only thing I could do was quietly trust in God.

Trust Him when I called the neighbor at 10:30pm to take me to the hospital, and left my little girl at home with her 15 year old.
Trust Him when I “flew” in the ambulance alone. [Dale worked nights]
When I was flying down the hall of the hospital, body ready to “throw the baby”.
When I set him on that x-ray conveyer belt to go through the radiation tunnel.
When I watched them syphon the barium from his nose.
When I watched the nurses prick my little baby’s hands and feet.

And trust Him when they finally got the needle in his head, I knew he was going to live.

Then they left me alone in the room. And that’s when I leaned over the bassinet in those quiet moments after the storm, and I shared the gospel with my son.

“Mama’s sorry that you have to experience so much pain. It is so that you can have life. That is what Jesus did for us Ethan, He died so we could live.”

It was a holy moment. I knew his heart somehow heard it.

So the next day, with him in my arms, paper cup on his head, I was sitting in the waiting area. In a short amount of time, I watched the doctor walk through two swinging doors and when he reached me, held his hands out to take my baby, and as he turned to disappear behind the doors, I knew he was in Good Hands and I would receive him back whole. Healed. Alive.

In quietness and trust is your strength.
Ethan and his family. 🙂

More “Wedded Word” stories HERE


Repentance & Rest: 31 Days of Wedded Words

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15

I have noticed over the years that we human-beings tend to be off-balance – leaning too far on one side or the other – always. Unless we intentionally [intently] look at our hearts in the mirror of God’s word and see the reality – as much as our veiled eyes are able – to grasp what the Holy Spirit reveals.

In the passage above, we see salvation is both repentance and rest. I would say that I naturally lean toward repentance. I feel the weight of my sin quite heavily, and the rest never comes easy.

Others rest well in the grace of God, but miss that there might be something that needs to be looked at more closely.

I’m not saying I never lean into rest too much in some area, but I am more likely to bear the weight of my sin when I don’t have to.

During my season of depression, panic, and anxiety, knowing that fear was a sin, because it’s written in the Bible like 365 times, God says, “Do not fear.” – and also knowing that it is faith that pleases Him, I couldn’t receive – for the longest time, His grace.

I repented a thousand times a day, but couldn’t come into His rest.

And then I read that passage in Hebrews 3:11 and felt I’d sunk my ark for sure. It was terrifying. I’m sure the devil was flashing filthy pointy teeth in some form of an evil smile.

I was grossly off balance in my biblical understanding, both of salvation and physiological responses of the body to stress.

Although it was true, in my unbelief I’d been digging my own cisterns that cannot hold water. And yes, I thought the keeping my salvation was somehow partly up to me. Now I know the Lord let the enemy bully me to the bottom of the dark hole, so that when my own righteousness failed completely, I’d raise my arms and let Him lift me from the pit of accusation.

“They” call it, “Coming to the end of yourself.” And I’m telling you, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Then I learned about rest. I learned in my heart what I knew in my head. I learned that His grace is sufficient for me. I found out the simplicity of confession; that if I confessed my sin, He would always be faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. And I learned that by His blood; by His stripes, I am healed. And that His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.

Today, when I sin, I feel the weight of it heavy, and sometimes it is for a few days that I have to remind myself of those truths of the new every morning mercies. And the rest that Jesus offers is gloriously peaceful. 

Which side do you lean toward? Repentance or Rest?

See: 1 John 1:9; Lamentations 3:22-23; Isaiah 53:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Romans 8:38-39; Jeremiah 2:13



Watch & Pray: 31 Days of Wedded Words

As a mom, my primary goal was to raise our daughter and son to love and serve Jesus with their lives. I intended, to the best of my ability, to see that they would come through their teen years with as few “scars” as possible.

And frankly, after having heard so many stories from women who had more than one sexual partner before getting married; of their difficulty in breaking early ties with former lovers, I also had a specific goal that they would stay pure until marriage.

Lofty, I know. But I had great faith, that God could and would do it.
[I also MUST say here, that through repentance and faith, God can and does completely heal and restore those who have crossed the line before marriage. See 1 John 1:9]

Though I had not remained pure until marriage, I did marry the “one and only” [and so did he] and we have been eternally grateful for that. I have no doubt it has been beneficial to our marriage, which sealed in me an even deeper conviction that this was something worth contending for.

I have described my parenting – especially in those years of hormones and identity crisis times – as “being on my knees and on my toes.”

It meant constant watchfulness [on my toes] – in overseeing their lives.

It meant having an understanding of their unique weaknesses in social situations as well as knowing what was happening and who they were with in times when they were away from home. Not as micro-manager, but as one who is given a charge by God to guide them in the way they should go.

It meant knowing who they were with and having conversations with them about what God desired for them. And it meant talking about how to make wise decisions that would best honor God and keep them safe.

They knew from early on that God’s ways are good and freeing, not restrictive.

Though we had a somewhat severe struggle, I am blessed to report that they both honored God with their bodies in saving themselves for their spouses. [All glory to God!]

I would be amiss if I didn’t also tell you that the watchfulness was coupled with prayer. Intense prayer. [On my knees] . . .  the dark of night, on my face in carpet, with my Mom’s In Prayer group, with my Bible study friends, and with the youth group leaders.

And I prayed daily with my kids.

We missed a few days, but our constant goal was to have the 15 minutes before the bus came to pick them up, or later, before they hopped in the car to leave. We read and memorized scripture, and we prayed together.

I believe the combination of watchfulness as a mom, the prayers I prayed, and the time I spent with them centering our conversations on God kept them focused on Him and enabled them to continue to desire to please Him more than ‘self’ or their peers.

Jesus exhorted with the words “watch and pray” on two occasions. First when his disciples fell asleep on him, when he was in Gethsemane facing the darkest night of His life. And second, instructing them to be alert and watch for His return in the last days.

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is need is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41


“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times , praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36

We are all watching something. Our eyes might be looking to worldly success, riches, entertainment. Or we are looking past all of that to our eternal dwelling with God, storing up treasures in Heaven. Matthew 6:20; 22; 24

Its true, our lives follow where we fix our gaze. Prayer keeps us in constant awareness of our need of God and His power to get us where He wants us to go. It is by His grace that we reach the goal of pleasing Him with our lives.

What are your current goals? Where are you fixing your eyes? Are you praying about your desires? Does it encourage you that in my parenting pursuit, in this culture, partnering with God according to His will, that He fulfilled the desire of my heart?

There is great assurance in the marriage of those two words: Watch & Pray