Monthly Archive:: May 2016


IMG_0713 “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12

We walk along this beach, all dusted with fragments of shells. Halves of clams, tops of spikey conchs and bits of angel wings wash over our feet as we search for treasures, for whole shells not yet crushed by the pounding surf. I see the perfect whirl of the discarded shell of a sea snail half buried in the sand and kneel down to collect it only to discover that the bottom half is missing, that this perfect whirling shell is only a fragment of a treasure.

The fragment is beautiful with all its symmetrical spinning and bands of color, but I long to see it in its wholeness, in the fullness of its glory. Eyes filled with wonder, my daughter gazes upon the shell in awe, but like her mother, she is less than satisfied with the fragment, feels the same ache, the deep-down longing to find that which is whole. That is rare on this beach that I grew up combing because the power of the surf tends to spit out mostly fragments, these tiny pieces of God’s glory.

But when we finally stumble across one in it’s completeness, the joy bubbles up out of that deep longing, out of that time of waiting and seeking. The whole shell would not feel as much like treasure apart from the previous longing to see it in its’ fullness.





The light pouring down reflects off the shell fragments as the water gently laps back and forth over them, them speaking of God’s glory in all their shiny whirls and color bands. And I begin to  hear Paul’s words to the Corinthians pour down like light.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

I look around at all these broken parts of my life, and how I long to see God face to face, to fully know him, to not just see him in part. And I will  spend this lifetime longing to know Him in all His fullness, all the while delighting in the fragments I discover, fully trusting that He sees all, knows me fully even though here on this earth, I will never fully know Him. But to live life fully here is knowing that I am  fully known, that even though I now see a poor reflection of who my savior is, one day I shall know fully, will see the treasure in it’s wholeness.

Virginia takes these halves of shells, the ones with the holes in the end, all worn through by the grinding of the sand, and then strings them up on necklaces and binds them around her neck, fragments of treasure found while searching for the whole. Solomon says to bind Gods commands around my neck, to write mercy and faithfulness on the tablets of my heart. So I remember the words etched on the stone tablets of Moses, and I give thanks for God’s mercy in spite of how short I fall in keeping those tablet words. And I bind that mercy around my neck, string up the wholeness of his mercy that I find hidden in these earthly fragments.  These beautiful glimpses of Gods’ glory, causing me to long for the day when I shall see Him face to face, when He returns for his beloved bride. The long awaited consummation of the bride and the lamb. The searching and seeking and building up to that unfathomable day. The day when I shall no longer know in part and will no longer see but a poor reflection in the mirror.

Would you cause me to long for that day more than anything else on this earth?  Would the words of this song ring true in my life?

“Lord, I want to yearn for You.

I want to burn with passion.

Over you.

And only you.”

Let these fragments, these glimpses of glory in the midst of this broken life cause me to yearn for you, cause me to burn with passion over you and only you.


What God Gave Me Through a Coffee Cup


God sometimes speaks to me in simple images in the quiet minutes of the morning in which I am beginning to awake.   Yesterday was one of those days in which He spoke to me in the reentry hour.  It was sort of a dream, but more like a small vision, there one minute and gone the next.  It was an empty coffee cup, porcelain white and perfectly clean with a small white bloom attached to the inside of the cup, as if its dainty stem had grown right out of the porcelain.

I awoke, feeling that it was of God, but somewhat puzzled by the image.  In my humanness, my first instinct was to look at it literally, so I assumed He must surely be telling me to stop drinking coffee, that perhaps something would bloom, that great things would come  if I could only stop drinking coffee.  I shelved the thought, hoping He had some other message for me other than giving up coffee. Then, I stumbled to the kitchen, got the kids off to school, and sat down to have my quiet time.

Lately, I have been reading the Streams in the Desert devotional because it speaks deep truth to me in the midst of difficult seasons.  Last week was one of those weeks when I needed its words.  I awoke on Monday, and instead of seeing a sweet vision from God in the reentry hours, Satan arrived to twist and torque every muscle in my upper back and neck.  My neck froze to the point where I could not move it more than a centimeter in any direction, so many hours of my week were spent lying in the bed staring at the ceiling while family and friends tended to my children.

In the previous week, my physical therapist had told me that my neck looked better than He had ever seen it.   So, I just knew the time had finally come.  I was healing from Lyme, and God was finally coming to remove the yoke from this neck and He, for sure, was going to allow me to paint and write all that I wanted.  And then, Monday came and the rest of the week was filled with ice packs, heating pads, an MRI, a steroid dose pack, and quite obviously, no writing or painting.  Needless to say,  I was a bit discouraged and began to imagine myself stuck in this cycle of pain, and I completely lost sight of what God might be doing in the midst of it.

So yesterday, I pulled out the Streams in the Desert devotional after pondering what the image of the coffee cup might convey.  The devotion for that day spoke of God as an artist, using many “brushstrokes of sorrow” to paint into his masterpieces, you and me, so that we can be used to show his glory. It spoke of waking up and opening our hearts to the lessons that God intends for us to learn in our suffering.  And it warned of the danger of our “cup of sorrows” being emptied, and us having failed to glean the truths that God wanted to teach in the midst of the trial.   It spoke of opening our hearts to pain and suffering and rejoicing in it.

So today, I woke up and smelled the coffee and began to meditate on all that I have learned through Lyme. God began to open my heart to receive the truths He wanted to teach me.   I do believe God is going to empty my cup of Lyme and neck sorrows, and in its place, something clean and beautiful will have bloomed inside of me.  Something sweet and soft and gentle that was not in my heart before.  Something pure that only grows inside the cup of suffering.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the bloom until the cup has been emptied, but I am asking God to give me the grace to see it even in the midst of the journey.  And I wonder if meditating on the bloom that’s coming forth is part of my healing, if healing sometimes comes when we stop trying to push away pain, and surrender to it for a season for the sake of God’s purposes.

It is often writing that helps me focus on the bloom rather than the gloom in the midst of trials, so as much as the Lord allows,  I am going to write as I travel the rest of this  journey.  And I invite you to come along with me, to glean truth with me, to walk with me as I make my way toward the finish line of Lyme treatment.  Sharing with you holds me accountable to getting my thoughts down on paper, and through that process, I see little bits of his bloom come forth in places I least expect.  But most of all, I desire to share this healing adventure with you because  I know I have not traveled this path to allow all these lessons to dead end on me.  So over the next few weeks,

my coffee i will keep
to wake me
from my sleep
as i seek
the treasures
God has given me
the deep cup
of suffering…



Don’t you remember…?


When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?  Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  (Matthew 16:5-12)

 “Be on your guard against the yeast…” my Lyme doctor implied. She didn’t say it like Jesus did, but somewhere it was woven into her one hundred page treatment manual. Taking four or five antibiotics in unison over long periods of time doesn’t allow for the ingestion of much yeast. Of course, I have treated myself to a little bread or sugar once in a while, but as much as I have been able to, I have avoided breads and sugars.

The Lyme bacteria feeds off of simple sugars, so the goal, at least as far as I can understand it, is to starve it by avoiding foods that are high in sugar or carbs. It sounds simple enough. It seems that just knowing that I am feeding the enemy by eating sugar would allow me to stay the course.

Although I have been relatively faithful to the diet, I have spent a good bit of time feeling as if I am walking a tightrope, wondering how far I can lean to the left or right and still not fall. I have wondered if those few sips of coke or the little bit of chocolate or the occasional splurge on a desert could leave me standing at the end of an unsuccessful Lyme treatment asking, “Why did I lean so far to the left or right? Why wasn’t I more rigid about the diet?”

In other words, I begin believing that it all depends on me.

Over the past few weeks, the fatigue and joint pain have returned, and I have found myself questioning if I will ever return “home”, if this season of captivity will ever end. And I am recognizing that one of my largest fears is that it could all be my fault, that if I had been stricter about the diet or more faithful to the steaming hot baths, or not forgotten those few doses of antibiotics on busy days, that surely I would be well by now.

It has been a year and a half now, but I am still holding tight to God’s promise that this season will pass over. I read the passages in Exodus last week about the Passover meal and was reminded that the Israelites were instructed not to leaven their bread, to leave out the yeast.

I sometimes have a habit of taking God literally when often He is speaking of spiritual parallels, so the Passover verses left me thinking God must be reminding me to avoid the yeast, that perhaps part of this season passing over me was somehow linked to avoiding the yeast and sugar and bread that I have been trying to avoid for eighteen months.

So I awoke this morning ready to jump back on the no yeast train and ride to the finish line of Lyme treatment. But in my quiet time, I stumbled across these verses where Jesus is rebuking the disciples for taking him so literally when he is speaking to them figuratively.

He says to them, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?  Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?”

He points them to a memory of bread, but the bread is not the point. The point is the miracle that Jesus performed, the five loaves of bread feeding the five thousand.

Don’t you remember…?” He asks. And then he points them to the miracle. He points them to himself, the bread of life. He wasn’t rebuking them for forgetting to bring the bread, but for forgetting Him and the miracles that he had performed along the way.

So as I read through these verses, I began to hear the spirit speak, Don’t you remember all of the miracles I have performed along the way? Don’t you remember how I rescued you in your twenties? Don’t you remember how I pulled you from the pits of despair in your thirties? Don’t you remember that I said healing would come in your forties, that your time in the desert would be over? Have you forgotten that my word does not return void? Maintain a healthy diet, but in the end, do not be so arrogant as to think that your source of healing is you. It does not come from you. It comes only from my Spirit living in you.

Staying on your tight rope takes your eyes off of me and onto you.  It causes you to forget me.  And the forgetfulness of me is nothing but the yeast of the Pharisees, a gospel of rules that is no gospel at all, an ungospel that spreads like yeast through the whole batch of dough.


He says, “Go”
free fall from your
rope pulled tight
knowing you will land
in the soft hands
that formed you
before time began.

Run free
through fields white
and ripe for harvest.
knowing light
will shine
from your darkest
days of Lyme.

Treasures stored
in the dark
pleading for art
to come forth
from the womb
of this woman
too long in labor

I need your favor
as you teach
me to savor
each stitch
you have sewn
along the way.

I praise through pain
as remembrance
changes me
sets me free
rains light
on ropes pulled tight
across my chest

Rest in Me
He speaks
in sweet
of mercy
Sleep long
and deep
I am strong