Tuesday, August 23, 2011


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What does God want? He wants me to pray continually. He wants me to be full of joy, to give thanks all the time.
I’ve heard that verse all my life, and my first thought is always, I can’t do that. I can’t do anything continually. How can I pray non-stop? That’s ridiculous. And I just kind of glide over that verse…
Then I decided to study that word “continually” more closely. The definition of continually is:  seemingly without interruption, habitually, without end or stopping, steady. 
It is the picture of something that recurs frequently. When I read that for the first time, it finally made sense. God isn’t saying that I have to be laughing and praying, and giving thanks every second of my life – but he is saying that I should be doing these things so often that it appears that I never stop. It seems to be without interruption. Suddenly, what God is asking me to do becomes possible. 
Have you ever sat down at a piano keyboard and started playing a single note. You play it over and over and over until the sound seems to blend together, the sound of one note continues in the air until the next note is played? A hum begins to hang in the air until it sounds like there is no space in between the notes you are playing. It seems to be without interruption.
That’s the picture the Bible is painting in this verse. My life should be characterized by joy, by prayer, by gratitude so much so that it appears I never stop. One prayer should still be hanging in the air when I voice the next one. The result of my gratitude should still be felt when next I give thanks. My joyful smile should still be felt by one person when I share it with someone else. 
That’s what God wants me to do. Live my life like that. It brings Him pleasure and it brings me pleasure too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweeter Than Honey

I had an appointment with the surgeon last week.  As I sat in the waiting room I started thinking of all the things that had happened in the three months since I'd seen him last:

I traveled to Africa, Costa Rica, Colorado, and Galveston; I enjoyed time with all my kids; I visited with all my extended family; Sarah got engaged; we bought a wedding dress; we baptized 95 people, we buried two friends. 

I was so thankful to be alive! And so thankful to be the healthy person in the waiting room! 

As these thoughts swirled around in my mind, the voices of an elderly couple in the room broke through my thinking.  They were there to see the doctor.  She was obviously sick. And they were discussing the fact that this was the final road. They weren't upset. They weren't sad. In fact, they were happy, reminiscing about all the good things they had experienced together in their life. It was such a beautiful, peaceful, intimate conversation, I almost felt guilty for overhearing them.  Such love. Such bravery. Such beauty. 

I wondered to myself, "When my time finally comes, will I face it with such grace and faith?" 

Once again I heard the words "All Clear!" from the surgeon. He congratulated me on the two year anniversary of my initial surgery. He reminded me that we are going to continue to be aggressive in monitoring me for any recurrence. I thanked him for that. 

I  walked to the car, fighting back tears - tears of joy and gratitude for more time to live.  Honestly, I wanted to shout it to the whole world:  "I DON'T HAVE CANCER ANYMORE!!!"

Instead, I hopped in the car, sent an "All Clear" text message to Mark, and hit I-10 for the drive home. I turned on the radio and the words of "Even Now" by Will Reagan of United Pursuit began to play. They perfectly expressed the fullness of my heart:

"Your love is sweeter than honey, Your love is stronger than death, Your love lifts me of my burdens, and shows me how to dance." 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

July 13, 2011

Tyler proposed...  Sarah said "YES!!"

Thanks to Christie Lacy Photography for the beautiful pictures!

On a warm summer night, on a beautiful beach on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Tyler dropped to one knee and asked Sarah to be his wife. He put a gorgeous diamond solitaire on her hand making her the happiest girl in the world! 

Tyler, we have prayed for you for 23 years! We are so happy to have you as part of our family!  We are excited to see all that God is going to do in and through the two of you together!

CONGRATULATIONS to my sweet Sarah! 
We love you both so much!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

God's Love Call

Living in the wake of cancer, at times I find myself still struggling with residual thoughts and feelings. Thankfully, at this point, it is not constantly on my mind, but most days it still enters my thinking at some point. Not long ago, I spent the whole weekend, several days in fact, despairing if I would ever find "me" again, if anything would ever be the same again. Every thought, every conversation, every waking moment was consumed by these ideas.

And all weekend long there was a bird in our yard yelling at me. He would swoop across the backyard squawking. He even sat on the patio chair looking in through the back window - literally for hours, without provocation - hollering at me, scolding me, warning me.

I was aggravated. What is he doing? He is dirtying the chair! Disturbing my peace! Upset over nothing! We aren't going to bother him, or his nest. He has the whole backyard to himself!

Hours pass. The bird is still there - angry, determined, frustrated, squawking. This bird is crazy! Everything is fine, the yard is safe. We even like birds, for goodness sake!

The next morning I wake up, remember to spend time with God, pray, journal, ask His forgiveness for trying to make it on my own (again!) the last few days. I open up "Jesus Calling" for that day and here is what it said (I kid you not!):

"As you listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My love call to you... You can find me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief. I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a pattern for good."

God, it was you all along! Trying to get my attention, to pull my focus back to you, to get my eyes on your truth. You also gently tell me that I have been sounding a little like that squawking bird... fussing, complaining and whining instead of resting and trusting in your goodness. You're pretty funny! You can use anything and everything. You make me smile again. Thank you, Lord, for my crazy bird. And for never ceasing to call me, for never ceasing to meet me, for never ceasing to pull me up! Your love is never-ending. Please help me to recognize your presence today in whatever form it takes! I love you!

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, 
or ask the birds of the air, and they will tell you. 
Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, 
or let the fish of the sea tell you. 
Every one of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this. 
The life of every creature and the breath of all people are in God's hand." 
Job 12:7-10

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sorrow and Joy

Summer 2011 has been one of sorrow and of joy.

Sorrow came in June as two sweet friends finished the race, left this planet, and entered into the presence of the Lord. Joy came in calling them "friend."

I met John Dettore in April 2010 and was immediately intrigued by his story and inspired by his attitude and faith. John's life was characterized by three things: his commitment to Jesus; his love for his wife, Ellen; and the joy he found in being a father to Alexandra. I only knew John for fourteen months, but during that short time, in spite of the difficult circumstances of his health, he consistently brought encouragement, hope, and laughter to my life. He served the Lord well, he loved his family well, and he left an example to all of us of a true warrior for Christ. Thank you, God, for allowing me to know John. Please take good care of him until we meet again.

Dan Chase was a quiet man of strength and grace. We met the Chase family many years ago when we attended the same church. In 2003, as we started Community of Faith, Dan and his family decided to join us. True to his nature, Dan immediately stepped in and started serving. He took the most difficult position - one that required early morning hours, long days, physical labor, and working in the Houston heat and rain. - he was the leader of our Roadie Team. For years he made sure everything was set up and ready to go on Sunday mornings, providing a safe, comfortable place for guests at COF to relax and learn how much God loved them. He never once complained, never once let COF down. What a gift he was to our church! The great love of Dan's life was his family - Melissa, his wife of 27 years, and their four children. When he wasn't working, Dan was camping, playing games, joking, and hanging out and loving on those five people who had the privilege of experiencing God's love through him. What a great example he was to all who knew him, and what a great emptiness has been left by his death. Thank you, God, for the honor of knowing Dan Chase. May I learn to be as humble and caring as he was.

Photo courtesy of www.randyolive.com

Thank you, to so many of you who have prayed for these two men in their health struggles. Please continue to pray for their families as they grieve and remember their sorrow and joy.