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Thursday, August 31, 2006
Guiding Star
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Psalm 32:8

Everyone has an opinion. I seem to have no shortage of guidance from wonderful, loving friends and family. This is a good thing, first of all because it lends a feeling of security in my life at a time when I could easily feel adrift in a sea of decisions. I find comfort in knowing that people who care are "looking out" for me. The problem with all these opinions, however, is that they often reflect totally opposite views, or at least varying degrees of views over a broad spectrum. After taking it all in, the ball still falls in my court to make the final decision.

The Bible tells me there is safety in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14). As I formulate plans for the future, I have purposely sought out the advice of my spiritual mentors. I want to make good and wise choices, not just hear someone echo what I "want" to hear. But the One who's counsel I need the most is that of the Lord. He is my Instructor, Teacher, and Guide. It's quite an interesting word picture to read "I will guide you with My eye." Malcom and I used to communicate like that at times when words were not necessary or possible. We knew each other so well and were tuned in to slight nuances of behavior, that just a look this way or that was enough to spur the other into action.

This should be my goal. Indeed, it should be the goal of every believer. To know the Lord in an intimate way so that He can guide me with His eye. I remember back in 1972 after a brief courtship, Malcom and I decided to get married. There was a very wise pastor (who I dearly love!) who cautioned me about making any rash decision. His advice was sound and logical. But God had given me peace that it was His will for us to marry and spend the first year of our life together in Taiwan. The events of the years that followed have proved over and over the solidness of that decision.

What will I do? Where will I go? How long will I stay? These are all good questions, and if you have an opinion, bring it on! But the eye of God must be my guiding star.

posted at 12:33 AM  

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
A time to mourn
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

My friend, my enemy, my tormenter and healer: Time. It is that fickle thing that rushes by too fast, or crawls with excruciating slowness. In the same amount of time I might accomplish a lot or a little, depending upon my physical or emotional state. It plods or races and I must consider it's purpose. Is it possible that two months have already passed? It seems like a week; it seems like a lifetime.

Today as I made my way to the gravesite, I faced the fact that it is my time to mourn. The sense of loss and aloneness is more keen now rather than easing up as I thought it might with the passing of time. Perhaps it will, but it is too soon to expect relief. The headstone has been in place for more than a week. The sight of it adds another layer of finality and sorrow wells up from deep within my heart, finding it's way out through my tears.

Even as I mourned, the Lord brought to mind a precious promise from His Word. "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." (1 Thessalonians 4:15) I was comforted by these words as God knew I would be. I do believe! My mourning is one of hope as I conjure up mental images of Malcom with our daughter, Sue, whole and happy with Jesus. I long for the day when we will be reunited for a timeless eternity. On that day my mourning will be turned to joy.

posted at 12:18 AM  

Saturday, August 19, 2006
In the Shadow
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

A shadow is something that can only exist where there is light. If I see the dark image of my shadow on one side, I can turn and gaze upon the brightness of the sun on the other side. As a child, I recall laying in my bed at night making shadow figures dance upon the wall. There was just enough light coming in the window from the moon to fuel my playtime. A shadow really is nothing to be feared. And yet, when we find ourselves immersed in the shadows, seemingly unable to see the light source, fear creeps in and the darkness stalks the sensitive emotions.

I live in these two extremes--shadow and light. Every day I live under the shadow that death has cast upon my life. The shadow is filled with sadness and loneliness. The shadow is very real. Sometimes the reality of it overwhelms me. I cannot deny it, it does exist. But there is light in my life too: my family, my friends, my church, my Lord. If I linger in the shadows I will soon despair, so with effort each day I turn and gaze upon the brightness of the Son of God and all that He provides. It is a valley I walk in that is not of my own choosing. So I draw strength from the promises of Psalm 23 verse 4: "...Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." He says He is with me. But just in case I cannot see Him in the shadow, I can touch the rod or staff and know He is there.

posted at 1:01 AM  

Sunday, August 06, 2006
The antidote of music
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19

As I journey down the path of grieving, there are many things that help me to cope with those times when I poignantly feel the pain of separation from my beloved. I try to stay busy doing the things I need to do both personal and ministry related. I set small goals for each day and try to focus on making each day count for something purposeful, rather than retreating inward and giving in to self pity. Recently I rediscovered one of my best friends: my piano! In the process of preparing special music to sing at church and putting together a song list for an upcoming retreat, I have once again realized just how much God uses music to uniquely touch places in my heart and minister grace and comfort to me. Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs bring beautiful melodies to fill the silent rooms. Words penned by others speak encouragement and spark hope. What a gift from the Maker of music, a way to simultaneously bless both the creation and the Creator!

Last Sunday night I sang a couple of songs in trio with my son and daughter-in-law. We were blessed even in the preparation and tried our hand at composing a second verse to the song “There is a Savior”:

When there are questions in your heart
And the trial you face seems too hard to bear,
When you find your faith is too weak to go on:
Then strengthen your heart with His good news,
There is a Savior, and He will carry you.

The two songs we sang can be heard at this website:

posted at 12:06 AM