Monday, October 28, 2013

October 26, 2013
Colorado Springs


I like to be in control.  I like it as smooth as possible.
I like to have it all charted into the future...all figured out.
I like to savor the predictable, function in the certain,
And celebrate that fact that it all worked out as I had planned.

And then comes "the wind of the Spirit"..."rushing, mighty, bewildering" puzzling...and the coming of the seemingly chaotic normative.  Our "boats" taking on water, the needs that cannot seemingly be met, the life-threatening challenges.  The jolts.

Stuff that forever changes life...
  health crisis
  job shifts
  unexpected downturns
  the face-off
  the spiritual attacks
  the failure
  the momentous changes.

Like the end of 9 1/2 wonderful months in Milford, Nebraska, we said "goodbye" and then went into the different "jolty"present.
Like the recent visit to some of our family in a central asian country and the jolts of exposure to a challenging culture and calling and sacrificial life.
And there is more.

During these times, life feels close to completely out of control...can't even find the control panel.

Where does my help come from?

What I am finding are not shock removers, or quick-fixers,
    but shock-absorbers, jolt-calmers, heart-stylers that help: is a short list of essential jolt-calmers:

 Relationship action:
 time with relationships, the kind that evidence the care and understanding.  Arms-around, hearts-around care that puts perspective and Jesus into the midst of it all.
  Wisdom: build strong relationships all the time...not just when "jolts" occur.

 Soul action:
 Centering, quieting, meditating with upped frequency. The lingering place, the conversations with God and spouse.
  Wisdom: the bigger the "bump" the greater the soul need.

 Heart action:
 Feeding, repenting and forgiving - keeping the heart-engine tuned up. "Bumps" in the road most often signal a need for roadwork - aka heart-work.
  Wisdom: God being sovereign, there is meaning about our lives to discover, regarding our "jolts."

"I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure."
       from Psalm 23 - The Message.

Walking through jolts.....with you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


We drove to see her and to help her celebrate her birthday.

Took her out to lunch at her favorite place where she ordered her usual - fried potatoes with onions, salted well, stiff coffee and a glass of orange juice.

She refused an arm to help stabilize her in the wintery weather, insisting that she can make it fine. No meds.  No pain killers.  Just a little hip weakness.

Lots of the conversation as we ate together - all five of us - was on the orphan train, a significant historical event in US history when many young children were shipped across the country to an unknown destination to try to survive, their parents of origin gone from their lives.  Lela was one of those orphans and remembers the trip fact she "remembers things long ago better than today."

Back at the home, where she stays, she showed us room, decorated by her in shades of violet was shown to us...the room she spends most of her time in.  She opened a box and there we saw pictures of the orphan train, and in some group shots, there she was, an infant, smiling bravely, heading into the unknown.

What has life been like for you Lela?  Her answers: "Jesus has been my closest friend. An orphan at the start and pretty alone at the end, but Jesus all the way. God takes care of His children."

I gaze at her gnarling fingers, the prominence of blood vessels - and I envy her wavy white hair! I  flush when she pats my face gently and instructs me.

And what is the best day you have had recently, Lela?  Her answer: "Today."

We say Goodbye with long, tender embrace. We all somehow sense this might be the last time...and the next time will be in eternity when it is a forever Hello.  And she has become a general in His heavenly host.

Lela is 99.

So, on my birthday, today, when I sometimes start to feel a bit old, Lela has a gift to give of hope and courage and endurance.  She is 32 years out front, going strong, and looking up.

Thanks Lela.

See you again - and forever.