Easter–a Day Late

A long time ago, the man named Jesus of Nazareth made an astounding claim: “I am the Light of the World.”  The apostle John, writer of the gospel that bears his name, described Jesus this way–“In Him was Light and the Light was the Life of men.” If these words are true, and I believe they are, then on the day we call Good Friday over 2000 years ago, the light was put out and it seemed the world was lost in darkness forever.

But Easter morn–the Light burst free from the darkness that held it, never to go out again. And with this event, He claimed yet another title: The Resurrection and the Life. Everything Christians believe comes down to this one truth–Jesus Christ did not stay dead. He is light. He is life. He is our salvation.

I did not have the best day yesterday. Long story and it doesn’t apply here but except as a reminder that even those of us who follow the Light, sometimes sojourn in darkness. For awhile. Anyway, I pulled out of that rut last night and turned to my Facebook page and found some stories of the light that made me weep. Two friends, traveling hard roads in this ultimate road of life. One, I’ll call her Gwen, has lost much in the last few years. Her father, and her husband/soulmate. Both gone. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. It’s been painful but Gwen has soldiered on, loving the Lord, following His light, even through her tears. Gwen’s aged mom has been ailing the last few years and this corona virus thing has made it harder. Mom, in assisted living, couldn’t have visitors, didn’t understand what was happening, was heartbroken. And more recently, went down hill swiftly. Gwen’s report last night was succinct and loving. “What a wonderful Easter! Mom went home to be with the Lord today. She woke up in the arms of Jesus.” I didn’t know Gwen’s mom but I cried. This is what it’s like when you follow Jesus–the Light of the World. His light will lead you through the darkest places, but always back to the light. It’s His way…

My other friend, Misty, has been living one day at a time in grueling circumstances these last several years. Her young husband has been battling cancer–one of those cancers that doesn’t go away. They’ve prayed, believed for miracles, done everything the doctors have ordered. Their children are in their early and mid-teens now–after years watching their dad go down hill. I don’t think I’ve ever known a fighter like Misty but sometimes, even the strongest must surrender. Yesterday, Misty’s Facebook post was simple: “Scott wanted to see the ocean one more time.” Following were photos of the family together at the Oregon coast, just for the day, hugging one another, smiling for the camera, on a sunny Easter Sunday. Just one more time…

And again, I cried. These ladies are walking dark pathways, but they’re refusing to give in to the darkness. Through the darkness, they’re walking in the light, because they know the One who IS the Light.

Happy Easter, one and all. Wherever you are today, God loves you. I pray you’ll t

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urn to Him and let Him lighten your way. “For with you is the fountain of life; In your light, we see Light.” Psalm 36:9

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Stories from Days Gone By

Trying to get my actual website up and running but until then, I thought I’d post a few stories to share with my FB Author page followers. Anyone else who finds this? Feel free to read on! 🙂

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Challenges to Faith

A friend runs a lovely Facebook group called “Broken Dreams and Detours.” She encourages listeners to share their stories, whatever they may be, about how God has uses the hard things in life to grow us up, teach us things we wouldn’t know otherwise, and to let us learn that He never, ever leaves us. Recently, my friend asked that we talk specifically about how  “by the time the sun rose in your life again, you were a changed person. I’d like to hear from some of you about the struggles you faced. how you reacted when you realized you were in for the duration, and how your faith was challenged and grew. How did Jesus reassure you? What are your stories?”

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So here’s mine. It was a long time ago, but nonetheless, true. I hope it encourages anyone who reads this and is not on the “Broken Dreams and Detours” page. 🙂

I was a young mom living in the Bay area in California. My son was around a year old and I’d already learned my husband was not going to “be there” for us when things got tight. We had no money, the cupboards were literally bare. The spouse sat in the living room, watching television. The child was hungry and I lost it. Screaming ensued. The spouse finally shrugged his shoulders and said “I can’t do anything about it.” I grabbed my purse and stormed out. We were serving in a Christian school; we’d come from the Pacific Northwest, believing God was leading us. Or at least I did. But now? I felt totally abandoned. I decided if God wasn’t going to keep his promises to provide for our needs, then I didn’t have to follow his ways either. I went to the grocery store, loaded my cart with all the food we needed and paid for it with a check that I knew would bounce. I went home, crushed, but at least I had food for my son. It was another week before we were paid and for some reason, that check never hit the bank. It did not bounce; I wasn’t arrested for writing bad checks. Time went by. Sunday came. The husband got up to go to church but I stalled. If I didn’t believe in God anymore, why would I go to church? Then my son toddled out and it occurred to me that whether God was real or not, I’d rather raise my child in church, than out of it. So I went. I went through the motions for a few months before finding two verses in Scripture that changed my life and attitude forever. Job said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” And many centuries later, when Jesus asked the disciples if they would abandon Him, too, Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we turn? You have the words of eternal life.” I realized I had no one else to turn to. Only He has the words of eternal life. Even if He chooses to slay me…I must trust, must follow. And I’ve tried. Never perfectly, but I’ve kept going. Much, much later, I realized I could have gone to people in the church for help. I could have called my dad and he would have helped. But at the time, I didn’t think of any of those things and wouldn’t have done it if I had thought of it. I was panicked and I was shamed. But He was there and waited until I had crossed my own mental/spiritual line before quietly reminding me He’d been there all along. And always would be. He keeps His promises, even if we can’t see it at the time.

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I am a Writer.

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I’ve been writing since I was in my early teens. Stories, poems, lots of high school and college papers. Many, many magazine articles. Books. I’ve written books. Three now, though none are published yet. So why has it taken so long for me to acknowledge “writer” is an essential part of who I am?

Mostly, I think it’s fear. When someone mentions writer, or even worse, ‘author,’ what goes through most people’s heads? Hemingway, Shakespeare, Tolstoy. Or more recently–Stephen King, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling. Not mild-mannered mom and grandma Dawn. It seems like the height of arrogance to use words to describe myself that others use to describe such luminaries.

But the reality is: Writers are those who write. So, Hemingway, I am not. But I do write and plan to keep writing, with the hope that more people will one day read my words and be touched by them. If I can stand up and battle this dragon of fear, write my stories anyway, and put them out for others to see–then perhaps my readers will be encouraged to fight their own dragons.

And that’s a good thing!


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Good Friday?

GOOD Friday

In many ways, it’s hard to think of what this day represents asIMG_2353 GOOD. An innocent man was executed in a most torturous way while onlookers scoffed and gambled for his few earthly goods. So why do we, after two millennia, still remember this event? Unfortunately, a lot of people have been tortured to death–this is not a pleasant world we live in. But this death was different because the man’s life was different. His life had been remarkable since it began. Stories had circulated about a so-called virgin birth, angels talking to shepherds, and a star that did not obey normal pathways across the sky. It was all very strange and people shook their heads, and then, for the most part, there was silence.

Thirty-some years later, he reappeared, walking along the Sea of Galilee, talking to fisherman and to anyone who would listen about the Kingdom of God. Most of you know the rest of the story (though not everyone in this country does, I’ve discovered). The man was Jesus. He spoke of God as his father, performed ‘real, live’ miracles one-on-one and in front of crowds. And loved people who never expected to be loved. But he also ruffled feathers, especially among the religious elite, because he just wouldn’t do things the way they wanted him to. He was funny, that way…

His own people, the Jews, rejected him, so he did something that riled them even more–he turned to those gentile dogs. (That would be most of us). He offered love, forgiveness, purpose. And eternal life! Which is why you can’t just say Jesus was a good guy, who, like good guys before and since, have made the wrong people mad and died because of it. Jesus called himself the Son of God; He said he could forgive sin; He performed miracles, and He promised his followers an eternal home in heaven after their part in the earth-story is over.

As CS Lewis points out, there’s only three ways to adequately account for the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. #1 The guy was a liar and cheat. A master at playing the crowds and sleight of hand. #2 He was off his rocker. I mean, what kind of person goes around telling crowds that he’s God? Or, #3 He was exactly who he said he was. Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. The evidence, both then and now, is strongly in favor of Option #3. People for 2000 years have believed his claims and have based their lives on his.

He didn’t die on that cross to pay for his own sins (he had none) but for ours. Your slate can still be wiped clean, because he is still not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

And that’s why this Friday is good.

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Happy Birthday to Me

She was 13, a child of the ’60s, though Flower Power hadn’t hit her area of the Pacific Northwest hard yet. Mom was mentally unstable, dad, an on-the-road workaholic. She was fairly bright, academically, but a slow-developer, socially, and had already managed to draw the attention of the “mean girls” at her junior high school. She was called names, made fun of, threatened. She was lonely and often afraid
Then someone invited her to church.
Even though she’d always said ‘no,’ before, this time she said ‘yes.’ She didn’t know why, but she got out of bed, dressed as if for school, and walked the four blocks to the little church around the corner. They sang songs in the teen Sunday School class, she recognized a few kids from school, and the teacher was a friendly lady who told them stories from the Bible and invited her back the next week.
She came back. It was nice to have people smile when she came into a room, to feel welcomed. It wasn’t stressful like home, or scary like school.
Then she heard the story about Jesus. She’d heard about Jesus before, of course. Everyone knew he was the baby born at Christmas. And she’d heard rumors about that same baby growing up and being killed in a terrible way, but she’d never understood it or why anyone would do such a thing. Now, they told her. That baby had grown up to be the most perfect man the world had ever seen. He was kind to everyone—even the unpopular people no one else liked. He befriended people, he healed them. He did things no one had done before– miracles. And He told them He was the Son of God and that He loved them. Some people listened, learned, and loved Him back; others didn’t. They hated Him. His goodness shone a bright light on the darkness of their own hearts and they sought to destroy Him.
Eventually, they did. It appeared the darkness had won, as it so often does.
The girl listened to the story and she cried in her heart. It was so wrong. How could anyone have done such a thing to one so kind and good?
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Not only was Jesus kind and good, she learned, but He was all-powerful. Just as He’d said–He was God Himself, and death—the last great enemy—was nothing. On the third day, He blasted through death’s feeble hold, and walked out of the grave, never to die again.
Nearly 2000 years later, on March 3, 1968, the 13-year-old girl heard His voice. He said “I want you to be my child. Will you follow me?” She didn’t understand it all, but she still thought that was the best idea she’d ever heard. She said “Yes.”
Fifty years later today, she’s never been sorry she heard that voice and answered that call.
As you’ve probably figured out, this is my story. The last fifty years have not all been sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had my share of crashes and confusion but He has never abandoned me—not even once. He is so good and I am so thankful that He looked down from heaven one day and saw that lonely kid who needed Him so much. Thank You, Jesus, and Happy (spiritual) Birthday to Me!
How about you? What’s YOUR Jesus story?

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Happy New Year!


And so 2017 fades away. I had a good year; I know not everyone did and I’m sorry. Our land is fraught with division such as I’ve never seen and people are filled with fear and anger. I get it. I have grandchildren who will inherit this world and I want so much for them to have a bright future, but I know there’s no guarantee. I’ve read the history books, as well as the newspapers and (grimace!) social media. Still…I have hope. I have to. God has promised: To never leave or forsake me; to walk with me through the raging fires and deepest floods; to be with me to the end and when it’s time, to welcome me to that other side. I trust Him and I’m moving forward. Outside, the fireworks are whistling and blazing, the (fake) bombs [are] bursting in air(!) and 2017 winds to a close. Hello, 2018! I look forward to what you have for me and mine. Onward and upward, one and all–it’s (another) new beginning.

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