Select Page

Heads up. If you’re on my email list, you may have seen a rough draft of this story last weekend. I accidentally published it (that’s humbling) then moved it into private so no one else could see it. I’m trying again. Because this flower can’t hang out in private!

My amaryllis

Just a little over two weeks ago, this beauty was a dead brown bulb plopped in a heap of gravel. Dead as a door nail. The picture of a hardened heart.

Look what happened!

I don’t have to look too far these days to see that God is in the business of making all things new. My amaryllis is a reminder of what he does with hearts. Mine, for one.

And I think of the verse from Isaiah 55, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways…as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Thank goodness.

As I edit this story, I’m visiting my son in Virginia. The sun sparkles through the tall, budding tree in his yard, lighting up the deck and my shoulders, lighting up me. Because that’s what God does. He makes all things new (like this post). He makes us new. Thank goodness.

Many years ago, when I started writing, I didn’t realize how valuable preserving the stories of people who have traveled the hard road that leads to a beautiful softened heart, and pave the way for us to follow truly is. What a gift to be able to pass on the love and wisdom we’ve received, from one generation to the next.

I don’t want to be redundant, but it inspired me to write a second book, telling the story of two “ordinary people” (in their words, not mine) living extraordinary lives because their God is. As we worked together, I drew on their fearlessness (one thing I struggle with) the beauty and power in them, and it’s my hope, that will be transmitted to the reader.

Because it’s no secret, God’s power is meant to be passed on daily, from life to life, mind to mind, heart to heart—his to us and us to each other. Renewing, redeeming, restoring us for new things. His things.

As Todd handed me the newspaper last week, with the obituary of a dear friend’s brother (our age), I was once again motivated to share that message. It’s a simple one. We don’t live for ourselves, according to our plans. There’s a bigger plan we get to be a part of. Thank goodness.

We have received spiritual gifts and been given this life, I believe, because of the One who gave his life for us, this man, Jesus. And we are called out of our puny selves and selfish ambitions to live according to God’s big, beautiful, divine purpose and plan yet to be revealed. It’s a choice.

Confession: I still hesitate in simply stating that because I don’t want to alienate anyone. Certainly not those closest to me. My self-proclaimed position in life for the longest time had been approval-seeking Debbie, “People Pleaser”. But God gave me a new name, Deborah, “Busy Bee”.

“Busy Bee?” My friend with the same name at church said. “Queen Bee!” I wanted to laugh. “Hardly,” I said. “Oh, I have a book for you, sister. It’s called, Deborah, the Anointed.”

Well, hello there, Queen Bee!

The truth is, I have a lingering fear of alienating people with my faith, my Jesus. Although my dad meant well, he could alienate. He did me for a long time, so I’m hyper aware. But God changed that and softened us both. “Grandpa lived what he preached,” my son, who he also alienated at times, says, “So it’s okay. I love Grandpa.”

There’s that, but I had to realize, it went deeper. It’s no secret an abusive marriage leaves its mark on a spouse and child. I’m also hyper vigilant, my son helps me realize. The old sneer would return, like my ex-husband mimicking Nietzsche, saying God is for weak-minded people, or Marx, that religion is the opiate of the masses. “You’re an artist, you’re different, you don’t fit in to all that religious stuff,” I started telling myself and believing.

I may not have “fit in” to the religious stuff, but I fit quite nicely into my relationship with the living God, I discovered through Jesus. The patterns of my former self were well established, but God’s heart surgery breaks strongholds. It’s a choice to refuse to live in fear of others’ opinions and judgements and with a divided sense of truth. Perfect love casts out fear.

We don’t have to agree, but I do believe we have a responsibility to listen well and hear each other. That’s how love enters the picture. And that’s what matters.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death,”Proverbs 14:12 says. That verse pulls at me every day. King Solomon asked God for a heart that discerned between good and evil before he became king (in 1 Kings 3). And God answered his prayer, giving him more discernment than any other figure, then or now, on the condition he not forget the first commandment—to love and honor God.

Well, we know how that went. Like it goes with all of us at some point. When he became successful he thought his knowledge was of himself, to use for himself. He lost his Anchor, he lost his way.

It’s a daily struggle. Every day, I find myself asking, “Is this the way, Lord? Am I following? Is this what you want? Because I’m done with what I want.” What I wanted left me hollowed out. Empty or as Oxford puts it: “deprived of elements that enable something to function.”

Hallowed, on the other hand, means to be made holy, to be set apart for sacred use. To be gloriously filled. “Hallowed be the name…for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. “And ever!” my mom would add. When that became my cry, how my heart changed. And that’s the way I hope to live out the days I have left on earth. With reverence, the Spirit’s power moving and working in and through me, praying and praising as I go.

You see it in people living humbly, with purpose, with truth and grace, “Christ in them, the hope of glory”, working through them. They glow. They love well, they live well. And they die well. That’s how I hope to love, live and die, and I think it’s worth writing about. ❤️

Coming at a yet to be determined date, hopefully, not too far off in the future: Just Along for the Ride ~the Missionary Journey of Marc and Nancy Erickson

Charlie and me, Winchester, VA

“Because we are so engaged with the world, we usually forget how fragile life can be and how vulnerable we always are. It takes only a couple of seconds for a life to change irreversibly.” Irish poet and author John O’Donohue.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: