My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Beauty in our Barren Places

ImageAwhile back my husband and I  watched  Steve and Geoff the “Meteorite Men ” trek through  barren and high altitudes parts of  the Chilean Desert called the Imilac Strewnfeilds,  as far as the eye could see it looked  lifeless to me.  I’m not a big fan of the desert, however if you add an extra S to desert it becomes the word dessert and that I am a huge fan of.  I did  become enthralled  with the whole process, seeing that  void stretch of Terra ferma  reminded me of my life at times.  When my spirit  feels barren, arid and lifeless, the  grit  of my  circumstance blurring my vision  no longer  being  able to see any evidence of value or purpose in the wasteland of suffering. How comforting to know even in our desert times of feeling  spiritually dry, parched by life’s scorching trials. God sees  the  value, the nuggets of truth, tried by the fire and ready to mine the deposits left by our painful feelings of loss and devastation.     Steve and Geoff were excited with the possibilities…they saw the gold mine that lay at their dusty boots, armed with magnetic devices and keen eyes they gushed at the wealth they were beholding, one precious rough rock  at a time. So too  God mines our souls sweeping across them with the powerful attraction of His Grace, stooping down to marvel at the beauty and value of  which we often mistake as worthless.  Beauty for ashes, life spoken over the dry bones, humanity formed from dust …. God’s redemption in the most  drought stricken  and lifeless situations.  How precious to have such a loving Father as he; to see the value  when we see none, to rejoice over what the world would overlook.
Heavenly Father and miner of our souls, thank you for knowing first hand  the value in suffering.  As we travel through the desert times may your well traveled hand guide us with  your truths and  water our weary and torrid soul’s.  May our mind be refreshed in your promises and the hope that one day we will be coming up out of the wilderness times leaning on our beloved; and just as the  iron entered Joseph’s  soul when he was chained with fetters.  Make us strong, fortified with your walls of love, seeing beyond the pain to your exceedingly bright and precious promises.  Thus,  knowing that you make all things work together for our good.  From glory to glory, one  priceless nugget at a time….

Matthew Henry commentary says, “Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers”

“Let the thankful heart sweep through the day and as the magnet finds iron, so it will find, in every hour some heavenly blessing.” Henry Ward Beecher

Isaiah 43:19…”Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”


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Merry Christmas Charlie Brown

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Ever since “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” aired in 1965 I have been a fan of this beloved holiday
special. Immediately bonding with an endearing kindred spirit towards Charlie Brown with all his self doubt and insecurities, firmly believing Charles Schulz portrait of Charlie Brown was sketched out not only about himself, but a myriad of others like me that have walked a similar journey of shame.

However, an even deeper resounding chord beyond my familiarity with Chucks’ self doubt and low self esteem was how he embraced a sorrowful looking Christmas tree in its poor state.  Wondering how Charlie Brown saw beauty, potential, and  a victorious story waiting to be told through its seemingly defective branches. Chuck was ever so willing to take a chance on the last “real” tree in the lot. Losing more precious pine needles on it’s already sparse limbs along its way home.  Dreaming of what it would look like and not of its’ present condition. Perhaps Chuck could identify with the downcast drooping tree and his own slumped spirit he found himself contending with at times.

For I know when I look at that tree it reminds me of my former wounded and broken self. Painfully bowed down with shame and guilt to see any real value in myself. Feeling bare and stripped of a rich, full  life.  Not having the eyes, nor strength to see any further then my current inner struggles. Thankfully we have a God that cares tenderly for our broken hearts, the downcast finding a home under the shelter of His wings. His love bringing us back to wholeness, while gently sending us loving people to minster healing to our deep hurts and broken places. Just as Linus secured the wobbly tree base with his prized blanket, so too friends rally to reinforce our shaky souls with their blanket of love and sacrifice.  Decorating our wounded spirit with words of affirmation, encouragement and the light of hope. Their compassionate touch transforms us into a thing of beauty that we were meant to be all along.  Just as I marveled at Charlie Browns’ boost of confidence that he mustered up for  his tree, I too marvel at Gods’ rock solid confidence He has towards me.  Not to mention all the friends He has sent my way  that exhibited that same kingdom grace and throne room love.

Perhaps your spirits are drooping today and  joy is falling off you like dead pine needles with no hope of new life.  God promises to bring you tidings of comfort and great joy.  He is a God of all Comforts and He will never fail you nor forsake you.  His grace transforming your spirit and situation with new life and hope, and just like Linus reminded Charlie Brown….”because really that’s what Christmas is all about”.

Luke 2:8-14  “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


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This Little Light

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Through the years during Christmas time my mom would buy me a special ornament, a little something that caught her fancy, which in turn hoped to catch mine. Whether it be whimsical, or festive, they were always tokens of her love.  At times those tokens where presented by hand, lightly wrapped in tissue, tied up with a bow of mother’s excitement. On other occasions, I would find them lying on my canopy bed concealed in the small bag that they were purchased in….eager to surprise me. These memories sparked a fondness for ornaments that carried into adulthood, kindling a desire to continue this tradition with our own children.

Each year we would add to our family collection through  thrift store finds or clearance bins, being continually delighted in each new addition. However, regardless of this vast assortment to chose from  when it came time to decorate the tree only one out shined them all.  One small golden  house with intricately cut out windows and doors, all in all, a rather simple ornament with no grand history to tell of its’ origin. Somehow it became their most coveted treasure. The boys were always eager to awaken it from the slumbering storage box that had kept it safe….then with even greater anticipation they beamed with honor to nestle it among the tree boughs.
From day one I marveled at their exuberance over this seemingly less than showy bobble. For when surrounded with an array of grander, glitzier ornaments it appears to be completely obscure; easily overlooked and underrated by the average curious onlooker.  Nevertheless, our boys  immediately recognized its’ hidden potential at first glance. Their tiny hands cradling the small delicately crafted ornament and with their help, would soon place a miniature bulb inside causing luminous light to spill through each opening.  Thus, this once dark vessel was now aglow with warm splendor.

Though that was many years ago, seeing through their eyes this uncovered gem made me see its’ worth to a greater depth. Still to this day, this jewel  continues to shine brightly, faithfully stirring our hearts with it’s simple wonder. Recently while thrift store shopping our son Trent found by chance the exact same ornament.  With great joy he purchased it to give to his brother Derek to celebrate his first Christmas in his own home.
Besides all the warm memories that flood my thoughts as I gaze upon that wondrous ornament,  Matthew Chapter 5 comes to mind which states:

“You are the light of the world a city on the hill cannot be hidden”, Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house”.  Matt. 5:14

You my friend are a light !…esteemed with value which you have been  curiously and intricately wrought from the hands of your adoring creator Almighty God. You have not been overlooked, rather uniquely fashioned  to shine brightly and with purpose. The Message says ” Shine ! , Keep open house; be generous with your lives . By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven.”

Today and everyday I pray you’ll see all God’s glory and  know you have been personally handpicked to shine …..
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven “.   Matt.  5:16


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Met in a Mosh Pit

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During one particular day while praying for our two sons to know God’s love more completely, my soul was stirred to read Psalms 19.  The first few verses captured me as I read, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmaments shows and proclaims His handiwork”. “Day after day pours forth speech and night after night shows forth knowledge”.

Quickly my thoughts envisioned how they would see God’s love. Maybe the countless celestial stars would blink out… I love you!, or could it be a glowing majestic moon that reveals this captivating message?  Perhaps the infinite marvels of nature would point straight to their loving creator.

Several days after that devotion it was time to take our youngest son and some friends to the “Demon Hunter” concert….complete with a mosh pit!. That night my prayer included an extra protection clause for safety.  Somehow the words “Mosh Pit” conjure up all sorts of unpleasant images; one of the downsides of thinking creatively.

Thankfully, after the concert was over, all the boys piled back into our van, safe, sound and full of stories to tell. Our son Trent recounted the evening sharing about the confined crowds and in particular, a young man dancing with reckless abandonment across the room from him. Shortly after Trent noticed him he realized that the sweaty, carefree dancer was standing right along side him. Trent decided to ask if he was okay, of which he replied ” Yeah man, I’m just praying for you.” This man spoke into our sons life with insight and clarity, speaking hope and encouragement doing so with pinpoint accuracy. He then closed with, ” Just a little FYI for you from the creator of the Universe”, quickly returning back to his original location, all the while moshing with tremendous flair.

After Trent finished his story my eyes welled up with tears remembering my prayer for our children to see God’s love as a creator…. thoughts of crashing waves, warm sunshine or snow covered mountain peaks came to mind. Then I was reminded that God pours forth His speech and knowledge without limitations, impediments, full of compassion and creativity. Being more then willing to meet us in a loud, stuffy and overcrowded mosh pit. Unknowingly, my thoughts and ways painted a thumbnail picture when I needed a canvas to capture the image of a God with no restrictions. Portraying his true nature the creator of the cosmos who  is standing by us no matter where we find ourselves. His rapturous ways and thoughts higher than heaven, earth or our very own.

Today, may you feel His adoring love, whether you are on one of life’s impressive pinnacles or in the impoverished  pits….God is with you!….and to coin the passionate mosher phrase,  “Just a little FYI  from the creator of the universe.