Monthly Archives: August 2013

living the “get-to” life …

We sat on his front porch talking about this-and-that while relishing Saturday’s break in temperature. The wind kindly caressed our conversation. It was a beautiful gift—the weather and the fellowship.

I haven’t always been good at my relishing, especially when life is crowded. There are times in my day (many moments of prolonged dreaming), when I consider what it would be like to continually hold moments like Saturday’s pause. To slow life’s pace and live God’s grace as it arrives.

Have you ever wanted to just stop at that place, jump into a peace-scene and linger there without constraint? Strip away all the must-dos and, instead, tarry in the get-tos? Me too. And here is what I’m realizing about my life.

The get-tos are becoming more habitual; the must-dos less demanding. This is my time to pause. There are ample opportunities to do so.

I get to linger on front porches.

I get to take long walks and make new friends.

I get to study the feeding habits of our neighborhood herons.

I get to watch my children learn the stuff I don’t remember learning in the 6th and 7th grade.

I get to take my time at the grocery, searching out bargains and counting on familiar faces.

I get to read the newspaper.

I get to spend uninterrupted time in prayer.

I get to order my days rather than having my days order me.

The list is endless. It’s not that these get-tos haven’t been mine all along. It’s just that I’m more willing to entreat them. Make room for them. Insist on them.

This is my life. No more fantasizing about what I might do should life slow down. Life did slow down. Life is slowing down. And I am winding down. Not because I must-do, but rather because I get-to.

Oh how sweet the pace of a get-to life! I’m not sure we can rush this one, friends … force the get-to life. It’s been evolving in me over these past few years. I don’t have a clever plan for rushing you to your get-to. Perhaps just thinking about it today might create a little space in your heart for its arrival.


My heart is with you. You know that, right? You are one of my get-tos, and it is always my hope that these ramblings inside of my head might resonate with one inside of yours. That God would continue to use my inconsistent and unscheduled pen to bring a little peace to your day. A must-do or a get-to. I don’t know how I rank on your list, but either way, I am exceedingly grateful that you’re here.

Thank you for stopping by and sitting on my front porch for a while. May God’s goodness and grace be evident to you as you marshal through your must dos, all the while reminding you of the privilege of your get-tos. As always …

Peace for the journey,

Porch Photo Credit: Susan Hood Photography

faith meets life . . .


I listen to their voices as they herald their morning choruses. Songs of faith. Melodies written in antiquity, yet music still breathing the living witness of God.

I hear them recite their morning verses. Words of faith. Scripture written in antiquity, yet truth still breathing the living witness of God.

My children are working their faith through with the help of our homeschool curriculum. What joy to hear these sounds again! Something about the rocks crying out resonates in my spirit. What I have forgotten to do … what I have often chosen not to do resurfaces in my son and daughter. This is good habit. This is music to my soul.

And my mind wanders across the sea to others who are doing the same—heralding their morning choruses and reciting their morning verses, despite great persecution. My brothers and sisters in Christ living out their faith on the front-lines in Egypt. This is when it counts for them—when faith works itself out in their flesh … literally. The surrenders being made there cannot be measured by statistics. Not really. Instead, this kind of surrender can only be measured by the heart.

True worship. Authentic praise. Unparalleled obedience. Unwavering trust. Faith on the front-lines of the battlefield named Persecution.

This is the life of a Christian in Egypt today. Great strain coupled with great faith.

Is this the life of a Christian in rural North Carolina today? Is there anything great about the strain and faith in my life? Is there anything great about yours?

Each and every day we wake up to the battlefield named Life. Accordingly, we have some choices to make.

How will we worship?

How will we praise?

How will we obey?

How will we trust?

If our faith was placed on the front-lines of the battlefield named Persecution, how would we stand?

I’m thinking there’s a great deal more to this suffering than my mind can comprehend, a lot of refining attached to hard choices made on the front-lines and in the face of certain, painful consequences.

Perhaps, this is when faith shines brightest. My brothers and sisters in Egypt may not be able to see the light from where they’re standing today, but I see their flame from where I’m crouching in rural North Carolina. Their candles burn brightly; their faith shines surely. Certainly, it is enough to strengthen weak hands, fortify feeble knees, and straighten the paths that our faith is living upon this day (Heb. 12:10-13).

Songs of faith. Words of faith. Antiquity made new again in my heart this morning. Here on the battlefield named Life. There on the battlefield named Persecution. Faith lived in between and among us.

From rural North Carolina across the sea to Egypt and everywhere along the way, light the candle of faith, friends. Keep it burning. We need one another. As always …

Peace for the journey,

Living Faith-Attentive


“Be on guard, Elaine. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.”

God’s voice couldn’t have been clearer in my spirit yesterday afternoon while I was out for an afternoon stroll. His certainty forced my immediate, audible response.

“Yes, Lord, I’ll be watching for the snake.”

One lap around the block, then two, almost three before a thunderstorm blew in and interrupted my search. No snakes in sight, just a caution in my spirit that lingered inside of me throughout the nighttime hours.

“Be on guard, Elaine. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.”

Morning came, this Sabbath morning. My body ached, and my heart was heavy. Not today, Lord. Can’t I just call in sick … sit this one out? I’m not feeling it. I want to live in, not out; stay close, not expand.

“Be on guard, Elaine. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.”

There it was again. A reminder to stay vigilant. Watchful. Faith-attentive.

And so I did something I don’t normally do on Sunday mornings. I grabbed a pen and began counting the fish—the blessings in my life. I kept writing and writing until it was time for us to make our way to corporate worship. My body still groaned its resistance, but my heart was lighter. Faith had taken the lead, while my feelings took a break.

With the van loaded and spirits lifted, we backed out of our garage. It was then that I saw it out of my driver’s side mirror. A water moccasin slithering its way across my driveway and up the Crepe Myrtle planted next to the basketball goal. I watched it for a long time. Thought about it for a long time. I’m thinking about it still on this Sabbath afternoon – a time normally reserved for napping.

“Be on guard, Elaine. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.”

And I’m thinking on it. Pondering snakes—the ones that slither through our front yards and the ones that slither through our hearts. How often they go unnoticed in our lives, camouflaged and quiet in their approach. Real and present danger close at hand and, most of the time, we’re caught off guard because we’ve missed the warning.

“Be on guard, Elaine. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.”

Oh the vigilance of the faith-attentive heart! For eyes to see, ears to hear, and a willing heart ready to receive and believe the voice of God’s Spirit as he speaks.

I don’t want an overgrown heart full of weeds and worries and wickedness that block the ear-splitting whispers of the Holy Spirit. I want the thunderous clap of God’s clarity ringing in my soul as I walk this earthen sod. I’m weary of the world’s words—those clattering, clanging, and banging cymbals of nothingness. God save me from those hell shrieks—those sounds that will never speak me into the folds of heaven but, instead, hasten me into the bowels of permanent torment.

“Be on guard, Elaine. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.”

Be on guard, friends. You’re going to see a snake. Be looking for a snake.

It will come quietly in the night; boldly in the day.

It comes now.

May God grant you his voice, his protection, his direction, and his strength to stay faith-attentive as these days are growing shorter. The kingdom draweth nigh. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

Peace for the journey,


Come What May


He autographs my copy of his book, along with a postscript – 1 Cor. 1:9.

I visited this biblical address in my morning deliberations with God.

“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

Word by word, I let this one simmer in my soul.

God. Calling me. Into fellowship. With Jesus. My Lord. Is. Faithful.

I notice the bookends – God and faithful. Could it be any other way? Sometimes I think it might be, but my thinking (especially when emotions are involved) doesn’t always accurately portray truth. No, it cannot be any other way. God and faithfulness go hand in hand. There is not one without the other. God cannot be unfaithful, and faithfulness is defined by God. Faithful is who he is; faithful is what he does. Knowing this … believing this, I can live my life confidently, in peace, and with the full assurance that God will see me through to the finish line, come what may.

Why, then, do I sometimes crumble with the come what may?

Come what may. What came into my life last weekend was a phone call, preceded by a car accident involving my eldest son. And while he’s OK and his car is on the road to being repaired, I’ve yet to fully recover. Seeing his Scion crashed into an embankment, along with a “stop sign” buried in the sandy soil beneath the carriage of his car, has left a lasting impression on my mind. Hearing his cries for help on the other end of the phone has left a lasting impression on my soul.

It matters not the come what may, especially ones of the crumbling kind. They leave lasting imprints.

  • Sickness.
  • Death.
  • Divorce.
  • Abuse.
  • Crime.
  • Unemployment.
  • Under-employment.
  • Financial strain.
  • Learning difficulties.
  • Relational woes.
  • Dreams deferred.
  • Dreams forgotten.
  • ______________.

My recent come what may came and went; still and yet, it lingers in me. Tearing up my peace. Messing with the truth. My what ifs have temporarily dislodged the what is. What is?

God is faithful. Regardless of my come what may, God is faithful. I should rest securely in between.

I hate that I forget this, that I often don’t live this. It’s so concrete, so foundational to the faith that I profess to believe. When adversity howls down my pathway, I’m often paralyzed by the blinding darkness that surrounds me. The enemy would have it this way.

Come what mays grow larger in the dark. Come what mays thrive in the shadows. Come what mays come and stay when entertained in the cover of night.

It’s only with the light and witness of God’s presence that I am able to dispel the darkness and make the next step of faith. When I can see truth (even just a little bit), I’m able to move through the reality of my come what may and make progress toward something better. That better?

My Father’s come what may.

His faithfulness. Time and again, God showing up on the scene of my life and making certain that he can be seen. Touched. Tasted. Heard. Felt. I’ve never encountered a come what may that he wasn’t there in the midst of the chaos. My mess is his mess too. And when I embrace his light, when I take hold of the sacred lantern and lift it up against my fledgling faith, my come what may shudders and begins to break apart beneath the weight of holy illumination.

Come what may, God’s faithfulness does not change. It can be ignored, but it cannot be altered. His faithfulness stands, even in the midst of our crumbling messes … especially then.

“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

Let this promise simmer in your souls, friends. Let this truth settle deeply within your spirit.

Come what may, our Father has the final say. He is faithful. He will keep us through the night and, with the morning light, bring word of his unfailing love. This is enough light, the right light to move me forward. I know this is truth.

God help me to live it, even as I boldly proclaim it … come what may.

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