Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Please be praying for the Divorce Recovery group I am a part of.
Give to the wind your fear
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up
God will lift up your head
Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command
Then shall we wandering on His way
Know how wise and how strong
How wise and how strong
God will lift up your head
Through waves and clouds and storms
He gently clears the way
Wait because in His time
So shall this night
Soon end in joy
Soon end in JOY

by Paul Gerhardt, alt by Jars of Clay

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I had 3 brothers and longed for a sister. I was about 4 years old and asked my mom to have another baby so I could have a sister. She replied, "If I got pregnant, I could end up having 3 more boys." That shut me up...I decided I like the odds as they were. I had so much fun with my brothers growing up, but deep in my heart...I always longed for a sister. Today, I am blessed with several "sisters" who are as close to me as any biological sister could be.
For years, I longed for children. Year after year, I had to fend off the comments of others asking when I was going to start a family. My heart was breaking because it looked like that was not in God's plan for me. 10 years into my marriage, I learned that I was pregnant. I had a rough pregnancy and I thought I might lose the baby, went through an emergency c-section, but there she was...my daughter...the desire of my heart. I pretty much knew that having lots of children would not happen for me. I was deeply grateful that God entrusted me with one.
No sisters to several sisters....no children to a wonderful daughter. So, it was for me again, just before Mother's Day, to have God wonderously gift my heart's desire. I received a Mother's Day card and flowers from 3 wonderful young women. They each wrote a simple and loving note. Tonight, I will go hear one of them sing her solo in her school concert. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
I have been blessed with several "kids" that I get to mother. It was only this morning that I realized that once again, God had met another desire of my heart. And I am so thoroughly grateful.
Proverbs 31:28a--Her children rise up and bless her.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


" ' All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other' (John 13:35) Could it be that unity is the key to reaching the world for Christ? If unity is the key to evangelism, shouldn't it have precedence in our prayers? Should we, as Paul said, 'make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace' (Eph 4:3)? If unity matters to God, then shouldn't unity matter to us? If unity is a priority in heaven, then shouldn't it be a priority on earth?
Nowhere, by the way, are we told to build unity. We are told simply to keep unity.....Unity does not need to be created; it needs to be protected.
...How do we do that? Does that mean we compromise our convictions?....abandon the truths we cherish?...it does mean we look long and hard at the attitudes we carry."--In The Grip Of Grace, Max Lucado.

Monday, May 22, 2006


My friend and I were talking about the fact that sometimes only certain people know the meanining behind someone's post on their blog. Each time that I write something, I just try to write down my own observation or prayer. Just a few weeks ago, I asked a friend about her blog and she said, "If I had something personal, only for you, I wouldn't blog it...I would tell you." Really, I am not sure what the blogging etiquette and rules are. Obviously, whatever a person posts should be in good taste. Can you blog without any misunderstandings or misinterpretations?--I don't know. Kindess is always a good idea when talking about others-- people or cultures. Seriously, I personally started blogging as a tool to reach out about divorce and Christianity. I don't know if I have done a good job at that, but I sure have had fun writing and reading the thoughts of others!!!!!!!

Friday, May 19, 2006


This week I got into an altercation with a co-worker. I was telling my daughter about it and she asked me, "Mom, did anyone stick up for you?" She stumped me. At first glance, it looked like no one had or even needed to. Yesterday, one of my bosses sat me down to talk about what had happened. He had seen the tail end of things and believed I was 100% in the wrong. Rather than jump in, he decided to step back. He waited a couple of days to talk to me so I could recover. And he gave me a chance to talk about my perspective. This morning I went in and thanked him for how he handled things, for giving me "the benefit of the doubt" as my friend observed, and for giving me a chance to explain myself when he thought I was in the wrong. I realized that by doing that, he actually was sticking up for me and who he knows me to be.
Since yesterday, I have thought a lot about "sticking up" for people. Sometimes I have been great at sticking up for others. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, I joined a group of my friends before school to wait for the morning bell to ring. They were really trash talking one of my closest friends, Linda, who was nowhere to be seen. Every girl there was saying mean and hateful things about her. I finally jumped in and confronted them and let them know that in no way was I going to stand by and let them talk about her like that. The next thing I knew, Linda jumped out from behind a few of the girls. It had all been a set-up to see what I would do.
Several years ago, there was a woman who got into a minor traffic accident while exiting Belle Isle in Detroit. The owner of the car she bumped into began to attack her. Despite there being a huge crowd of onlookers, no one stuck up for her. No one moved to help her. She ended up jumping off the bridge she was on into the Detroit River to get away from this man. She drowned. I will never forget this story because, sadly, there have been plenty of times when I stood by and let someone get made fun of or hurt emotionally because I was too afraid of the crowd to step out and stick up for someone. I am not always good at sticking up for others.
The truth is that sometimes sticking up for someone costs us. A few years back, myself and some friends went through a pretty rough time because we stood up for someone that we loved and believed in. Our community held us in disdain really, for our decision to stick up for our friend. On the other hand, I know that our community was also sticking up for the person they believed to have been offended, rather than being the offender. I was asked once if I thought it was worth it, and I said yes...Despite the difficulties and trials, I believed it was worth it. I could not have faced myself if I had let me friend go through this without knowing he had my full support and commitment...because he had always been the one that was there for others, the one who was always sticking up for others, even those who were turning their backs on him then.
The Book of Job holds many lessons for us. But one of the most poignant for me is the picture of God sticking up for Job. When Satan accused Job of only loving God because God had blessed him so much, God stuck up for Job. By allowing Satan to basically trash Job's life, God was really in Satan's face saying, "I KNOW my servant Job. I KNOW who he is. I KNOW his love for me. Do what you will, but I KNOW Job." How amazing is that really? I wonder how many times that God has stuck up for me, but I wasn't aware because I was only focused on the crap going on in my life. (Gosh, I hope I eventually made Him proud.) You know, had I not learned this lesson, that sometimes sticking up for a person is believing in them, I would have missed one of the most powerful and loving pictures of God. How amazing to think that the Alpha and Omega, I AM, the Almighty Creator, our Redeemer and King, thinks so much of us that He will stick up for us at times by not stepping in but by standing back and letting us prove our love, letting us find out for ourselves and in front of everyone else, that our love is real and deep and true. To think that God trusts us so much, when we are still so imperfect and growing. I don't know, that just makes me want to fall down and worship.
JOB 1:6-12: 6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Since Jack Bauer of the TV show 24 can teach spiritual lessons, I think the winners of the current Amazing Race can too! Those crazy hippies, BJ & Tyler, won themselves a cool million on this seasons race. I watched them week after week, running this race with joy and love and grace. When other teams were fighting, complaining, or degrading the others, the Hippies interacted with the locals, enjoyed the challenges, worked together, remained friends, and just lived day to day with a zest for the race. They maintained an almost innocent and childlike enthusiasm. There was only once when I thought they might give up. They came in last on 2 occassions but were saved because of non-elimination rounds. Once they tried to play mind games with another team, but quickly backed off because that's not the kind of guys they are. Last night I was a tad bit disappointed in them when they told people to lie to the other teams, keeping another team from using the internet to make flight arrangements (which worked against them b/c the other team ended up with a better flight). But that seemed to be their only fall from grace. The mean teams hated them because they were....well, so nice and so good at the race.

So, where is the spiritual lesson? With a million bucks at stake, those crazy Hippies didn't forget who they were. They were crazy, outrageous, smart, caring men who weren't afraid to be different. And they took time to enjoy the situations they were faced with. For us crazy Christians, it can be difficult to avoid the distractions and temptations that constantly move to throw us off our game. Sometimes it is hard to draw a line, to be different, to stand apart from everyone else, to run our race within our cultures and yet continue our transformation into holiness. And, to even be despised because we are crazy Christians. It can be difficult to react in love when the pressure is on.

I want to run my race with joy and enthusiasm. I want to respond as Jesus responds, not as others deserve. I want to be in awe of the places this race takes me. I want to never give up, even if it looks like the race is over for me. I want see people, experience them, love them, learn from them. I want to never be so consumed with my race that I can't give a hand up to someone else. I want to forgive those who trip me up and try to sabotage me. I don't want to run alone, I want to run in a team....a good, strong, smart, joyful, wonderfully crazy, tolerant, loving and giving team. But most of all...I want to win. I want to hit that mat and see my prize....My Jesus!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.-Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I am so "not cool". How can I be considered cool or wise when my mouth betrays me? When I accidently say to a customer, "I'm sorry, it's my fart" instead of "it's my fault"? Or, when I am speaking to a women's group and am trying to make these deep spiritual points and say stuff like, "It was difficult back in the day when virgins got pregnant" or "...the King of Cereal" instead of "...the King of Syria". Or turning to my daughter after singing all the words to a song from her station and proudly saying, "Know how I knew all those words? That was a REVERB!" followed by those confusing moments that pass between us until she identifies that I really meant to say "remix".

Or how about this visual in the work setting....trying to be all professional and then having someone point out that I have toilet paper sticking out of the back of my pants? Happened today, and it has happened before, and I fear...that it WILL happen again.

Once, I was in the drive-through at McDonald's and noticed that the woman in the car behind me was getting rather impatient. I shrugged my shoulders and was trying to communicate in gestures that the long wait wasn't my fart...er, fault because noone was taking my order. I must have also commented out loud because my daughter said to me, "Ummmmm, mom....did you know that is the hood of the trash and not the order speaker?" Poor lady! I am sorry that it took us even longer, because I couldn't drive from laughing so hard.

Yes, I would be the person who's picture was taken receiving the Publisher's Clearing House multi-million dollar check with a huge smile and something stuck in between her two front teeth. Or the person who would trip while walking up to receive a distinguished award from the President of the United States.

I am just not cool. I am not sophisticated. But, I am old enough to stop trying to be cool. And, more importantly, I am old enough to enjoy my uncoolness. It just makes for so much fun, don't you think!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Not everyone understands, but you always seem to.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Last night my daughter and I were talking about some of the changes we are seeing in our circle of friends. Lives are changing. Kids are growing up. People are moving into new circles of friendships. Circumstances are bringing new and different people into the midst of old friendships and relationships.
New relationships refresh us, rejuvenate us, energize us, bring us joy. Newly weds, Aaron & Danielle just stopped by the office so Aaron could pick up his check. It was wonderful to talk to them about their wedding day (just this past Saturday, in fact!) and all the other fun stuff you get to talk to newly weds about. They are new friends and I am so glad to have them as part of my life.
At Easter, my daughter and I spent the holiday with old friends, the Cooks and the Vanns and Heather. I stayed up all night talking our very first night there, because it had been so long since some of us have seen each other. It was warm, comfortable, cozy, relaxing, and so normal. Like we had never been apart. These friends know me better than anyone and I love that they are part of my life.
If I am wise, I will learn to embrace the new friends God is bringing me (and those I love) and will also savor and protect those deep friendships I have already been blessed with. Combining the two may take effort, but music is the most beautiful when there are harmonies. I learned this song when I was a Girl Scout and it still applies today:

Make new friends, but keep the old...some are silver and the others gold!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


God has been talking to me for awhile now about burning some bridges and NOT burning others. In my devotional time this morning I came across this:
"Beware the tendency of asking the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative, stop hesitating, and take the first step. Be resolute when God speaks, act in faith immediately on what He says, and never revise your decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do a thing, you endanger your standing in grace. Take the initiative, take it yourself, take the step with your will now, make it impossible to go back. Burn your bridges behind you...."
Of course, this caught my attention since God has been bringing this theme to my mind over and over. I try not to burn bridges. I try to keep doors open. But there are times when "making it impossible to go back" is a very good thing.
For many years, I was a consultant to long term care facilities, helping them comply with state and federal law. On one crisis management team I was part of, I met a woman who I seemed to really connect with. With two others, we started putting together a home health care company, while we continued to work on the crisis management project. But as we were beginning to end that job, I started seeing things that I knew I could not endorse. At a seminar that two of us were teaching in Lansing, this woman dropped in to say hi, and then billed the organization that hired us with her mileage, despite the fact that our location was on her way to another client, whom she also billed for the same mileage. As I was completing my part of the crisis management project, I wrote a short report summarizing the interventions that had been put in place and my recommendations for continued compliance. It took me an hour to complete, but I was asked to bill out 8 hours, which I refused to do. After additional incidents, I realized that I would continually be asked to compromise...straight up...to lie, cheat, and steal. After seeking God, I pulled out of the health care company, sending a letter that basically burned my bridge to the company.
A few years later, I came across an item on this company in a business journal, listing their revenue in the several millions! I actually felt sick to my stomach. I was going through a divorce, not knowing how I would be able to take care of my daughter, I was broke most of the time, creditors were beginning to call. I went back to my side of the river and looked longingly at the other shore. If I could have, I would have gone back. I am ashamed to say I wanted, desperately wanted, what the other shore held. Thank God, that bridge had been burned. When I think of what I wanted to trade for money......now, THAT really makes me sick to my stomach and sick at heart.
So, for me, the question still remains....What bridges do I still have standing that I need to burn?
But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.--Luke 9:62

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The other day, my friends' 3 year old son came into my office and when he saw a pile of change sitting on my desk, he joyfully scooped it up and went to show his mom his find. His mom asked him where he got the money. Without skipping a beat he pointed my way. What was so awesome for me was that he knew without a shred of doubt that he could take it. He knew that was part of our relationship....when he comes to my office, I always give him any change I have lying around. He has learned that the spare change is his. You see, more than a year ago, this little guy didn't own a single thing. He lived in an orphanage. And now, he is surrounded by a loving family and many loving friends. And he is so confident that he is loved, that he totally inhabits this new world that God has placed him in. It is that confidence in our love...in my love...that led him to take hold of this "stuff" in front of him without doubting, without having to question.
I watch him and his younger sister (also adopted) with wonder and awe. They totally believe they are loved and belong. They have been teaching me, over the past year, how to be adopted myself. You see, I know that I have been adopted by God. I know He loves me and I know He has my heart and I have His. And, I find it easy to adopt other people. My friends laugh when they see me "doing it again", meeting someone or seeing someone and deciding that I want to adopt them. I frequently meet someone that I think I need to mother or have as a new friend. The funniest thing that ever happened was with Charles. He was a very old and very bent over slight of man that I had been watching come to church week after week. He inspired me because this frail little man just engaged in worshiping his Lord at every service, even though it looked like a gentle breeze could knock him right over. So, I made it known to my friends that I wanted to adopt him. My respect and care for this semi-stranger just seemed to grow and grow until I could stand it no longer. So one Sunday, I approached him in the vestibule and very enthusiastically pronounced, "I just love you Charles!" He looked up at me with his bent little frame and emphatically replied, "I'm too old for you!" "Charles," I said. "I don't want to marry you, I just want to adopt you!" Poor Charles...I didn't mean to scare him like that!
My trouble is belonging to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, this is very strange to admit since I am surrounded by so many loving friends. Friends in Christ who I say have become my family. Friends who have proven themselves to be dependable and reliable, trustworthy and true. It totally doesn't make sense...and sense is what I have been trying to make of this. But the truth is, I have been holding back parts of me. One reason is this huge independence thing I have going on which can be based in pride, and which I have lovingly been confronted about. I can do for you, but I am very uncomfortable when you do for me. And part is a trust issue, also which I have been confronted about. (Inside joke...'You don't get it do you?') I don't believe you when you say we are family or that you can sustain our relationship. And then there is fear. I guess I fear that this family in Christ is not true, but an illusion, just smoke and mirrors that will one day just disappear. If I give myself fully, what happens if you leave or we get separated?
But when I watch this wonderful little guy and his sweet little sister, they just accept that what they see, what they hear, and what they feel is the truth. They have accepted each person God has placed in their lives and have responded in kind, returning love for love. I cherish the look on their faces when Daddy and Mommy, Grandpa and Grandma, Uncles and Aunts walk into the room. I love it that when I visit their playroom at work, one grabs my hand and pulls me down to sit on my lap so I can read her a book, and the other says, "Kaki, are you staying? Take off your shoes!" That is why I cherish that small, seemingly insignificant moment when a little boy came into my office and took a pile of change off my desk because he could. That moment is frozen in time for me. His comfort in his action communicated to me that he trusted me, believed in my love, and knew my love was real.
I love you my little friends. I am so grateful that you belong in my family. I am grateful that you are both teaching me to belong to a family as well.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.--I Peter 1:22