We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

When Someone's Watching You . . .

Have you ever had a strange feeling that you're being watched? It feels almost creepy and you hesitate to look around, for fear of who you'll find with their eyes fixed in your direction. Or maybe you worry that someone's stalking you, following your every move.

At other times, you and I may think there's not a soul in the world who has a clue where we are, what we're doing, or what we're thinking. We feel lonely and vulnerable. Often we've worked so hard, yet feel like we're running in place instead of making headway. We wish someone--anyone--would look our way to lend us a hand or to give us even a smile.

I found myself reading Mark 6 this week. After Jesus fed 5000 families with a little boy's lunch (verses 30-44), Jesus encouraged his disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake. Easy enough . . . until an antagonizing wind came up, pushing against their efforts to reach their destination. 

And [Jesus] saw that they were making headway painfully ("straining at the oars" NIV), for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. . . . He spoke to them and said, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded . . ." (verses, 48-51, emphases added).
I read the story over and over as the words washed over my weary mind. Jesus watches us when we are "making headway painfully." He understands the obstacles that impede our progress in our service. He offers us courage by His presence. He gets into the boat with us in the middle of our tough situations. He offers us an inner stillness despite the raging winds around us. And sometimes He calms our circumstances.

So, if you feel like you're being watched, you are! The Lord Himself has His eyes on us. He understands our struggles and our frustrations. He comes to us, right where we live. He speaks truth to us and gets into the boat with us, all the while reassuring us with the words, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."


This weekend, I had the privilege of sharing our story at Williamson Bible Baptist Church in New York State. Despite the chilly temperatures, we had a warm time together as we talked about THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. Special thanks for your wonderful hospitality. I loved connecting with old friends and making new friends as well.

I promised you a link that summarizes our identity in Christ. This is just one of many online.

Blessings to you all as you "run with endurance the race marked out for you, looking to Jesus. Consider Him . . . so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."

First two photos from bing.com

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Remembering Grace

Fifteen years. One hundred eighty months. Seven hundred eighty weeks. A long time, and yet in some ways, it seems like our family's car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike happened yesterday.

Today, fifteen years from April 5, 2003, I want to take time to remember.
Our Toyota Camry
"Remembering the crash site reminds me of an old Sunday school lesson. An angry king sent a great army by night to surround a prophet's residence. At dawn's light, overwhelming panic seized the prophet's servant when he saw the innumerable number of enemy troops, horses, and chariots surrounding them. But the prophet stayed calm and unafraid. When God opened the servant's eyes, he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around--the army of the Lord. They had been surrounded by God's protection the whole time [2 Kings 6].

"Words cannot fully describe the frenzied scene of the pile-up on the turnpike. Like Elisha's servant, we found ourselves surrounded. Surrounded by an army of charred and twisted vehicles, shattered glass, and broken bodies. Overwhelming distress and fear seized both victims and responders alike. 

"Looking back, I have to believe we were also surrounded by God's army--an army of grace.* The fading fog. A young woman named Bethan who called us back to the scene. The lady who sat with us. The offer of a cell phone. The rugby team. The medical personnel. Grace-givers every step of the way. And the promise of God's presence in the midst of it all" (Penned Without Ink,** pages 10-11).

Sarah and Elisabeth, age 5
God's grace continued with us . . . through uncertain hospital stays, through months of grueling recovery and rehab, through the uncomfortable adjustments once we again lived under the same roof, through the job and financial challenges, and through the lingering limitations that followed us. God's ever-present guidance, even when we couldn't see Him, has brought us to a wider place, a place where we can look back with gratefulness to Him for taking care of us every step of the way.

Today is also a day to express our thanks to all who stood by with loving hearts and helping hands. Thank you for praying, for supplying meals, for giving us rides to therapy, for offering the proceeds of your garage sales, for helping with yard work and minor repairs, for sending cards and notes, and for your smiles and hugs of support. 

Through all these years, our family has been blessed beyond measure. Every day is a gift. Every challenge, still an opportunity to trust in a God who will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Life isn't perfect for any of us. But today, we can choose to remember grace. God's grace.

It's always enough (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

*Grace: the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life; benefit, favor, gift (from Strong's Concordance)
**Read our story HERE.
Barry and Sarah, finally home