Bruising Seasons – Reblog from A Life Overseas

All the world feels bruised today. We have rain coming down making sure all the garbage of the city is mushed under foot. A gum wrapper here, a cigarette butt there, dirt of a city everywhere.

And in the United States, Oklahoma is grieving while so many grieve with her. The hardest of hearts must melt with the stories of small children drowning at an elementary school. The softest of hearts may question a God of love during this time as news report after report tell of loss and death.

Sometimes you don’t have the words yourself and you choose to use the words of others. Today I am sending you to read the words of a mom and goodbyes, for though the grief has not the severity of death, it still bruises, still hurts.

Bruising Seasons. – here is an excerpt from this beautiful article.

It’s a bruising feeling. Deflating and depleting. And I want to say, to the men who tell us the kids have passed the visa checks and are out of sight, to our guard when we return from the airport, to the woman who taps on our window and asks for water, to my husband, can you let me be bruised for a little while?

There’s a bruised reed in Isaiah 42:3 and God does not order it to stand upright. He does not force it into a strong pose. He does not cut it down. He does not stomp on it or grind it into the dirt. He doesn’t laugh at it and he doesn’t demand it try really hard to be unbruised, or to turn away and mask the bruise.

He makes a promise. His Servant will not break it. A bruised reed he will not break…….Read the entire article here.

Those words I choose to remember this day: “A bruised reed he will not break…”

Sindh region of Pakistan where bruised reeds are plenty

What about you? You can’t go through life for long without experiencing a bruising season. What help do you look for when bruised? 

When Your Wrist is Your Canvas

When emotions cannot be expressed, when the pain of life is too great, when you think you will die if you face any more anguish – do you use your wrists as your canvas?

Does the deep cut that bleeds red help to ease your pain? Does the needle pierce deep enough to comfort? Does the design help you get through the next day? Hour? Minute?

Do you long for people to see your canvas and confront it? Do you want to be offered healing and hope? Do you long to change so that your wrists are clean and your canvas is….well, just a canvas?

Lord comfort those whose wrists are their canvas. Touch the scars with your hands that are scarred for their pain. Heal the pain that bleeds from their wounds; remind them that Your body died a cruel death, that you might offer hope and change the canvas.

And as their scars heal, may their canvas tell a story of redemption and hope, of grace and God.

And in healing scars, may hearts be transformed. Lord change the canvas, paint your picture on the scars of our lives.

“So He willed sharp nails between his own wrist bones, self-inflicted wounds, to hold himself to an upright cross– let his own blood to run down his arms, soaked the ground of Golgotha, and felt what others feel. And it was a costly token He used to speak love, emptied His hands of perfect to become sanctuary, intercessor, for all the bloodletters and bleeding hearts. And He writes love on our arms.”*

 (From For all the Bloodletters and Bleeding Hearts by Tamara at A Deeper Story.

Bloggers Note: This post was inpired by the article quoted above For All the Bloodletters and Bleeding Hearts

Scratched on the Walls of an Insane Asylum: The Love of God


The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell

It has been my favorite hymn for as long as I can remember. I remember singing it as a little girl, learning to play it as a young piano student, and memorizing it as a college kid.

It has traveled through life with me. It has outlived campy songs, sung with clear voices while holding hands with the Boyfriend in Murree; it has outlived worship choruses, sung with sincerity across the globe.

But I didn’t know its history until recently. The words were found scratched on the walls of an insane asylum by a patient. The story goes that he must have scribbled it in one of his “saner” moments.

It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell

I wanted to weep when I read this. These words, poignant words of the love of God from someone who suffered from a disease of the mind. What depth of understanding he must have had of living hell; what horror he must have experienced in the prison of both his own mind and at the will of evil men who find the insane easy prey.

And yet within all that he could pen these words.

To believe in the redemptive love of God through Jesus is to believe in a reordering of life, to believe that things are not as they seem. It is to believe in transformation of the whole person; it is to believe that beyond the ugly is beauty; beyond the broken is wholeness; beyond dementia is a sound mind; beyond sorrow is joy; beyond insanity is sanity; and beyond death is life.

It is to believe that nothing is beyond the redeeming love of God.

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Always a Wiseman, Never Mary!

In a twist on the American phrase “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” I give you “Always a Wiseman, never Mary”. In Christmas pageants of my childhood I was never Mary. I was always a Wiseman. I desperately wanted to be Mary, with her blue robe and glowing perfection. But I had a short, pixie hair cut and was a bit on the stocky side. Stocky, short-haired Mary wouldn’t do. The honor would go to my pretty and best friend Nancy with her olive skin, long dark hair and deep brown eyes. Yes, Nancy was Mary.

But the desire never changed. As long as there was a pageant, I wanted to be Mary. While I was externally a Wiseman with a purple robe and beautiful brass from the bazaar as my gift, symbolizing gold, frankincense or myrrh, internally I was Mary.

Then I became a grown-up and the pageants became real life. And there were always those parts that seemed favored – the ‘Mary’ parts.  Those parts that I longed for but didn’t get, receiving instead the parts that were the ‘Wisemen’ that came from afar. It was easy to look at the parts that seemed better and watch on in envy. The problem? If you always want to be Mary you don’t make a very good Wiseman. It comes through in both the pageants of childhood and the pageants of life.

It took me a long time to grow into the part of the wiseman. Contentment is a process that can come and go, depending on our willingness to accept the roles that life brings.

What parts in the pageant of life have you longed for, feeling in your heart that they are the best roles, perhaps watching from the sidelines those that seem to get those favored roles, wondering when your turn will come?

And then. perhaps like me, there are times when, as we bow at the feet of the One we were created to worship, in moments of glorious insight we willingly and gratefully accept our role in the grand scheme of life.  We have become one of the Wiseman.

Bloggers Note: At the age of 35, the author finally did achieve the goal of becoming Mary, largely because her fifth child Jonathan was Jesus….it seemed a little late.

If you celebrated Christmas growing up, what part did you play in Christmas Pageants and were you satisfied? If you didn’t, were there other areas where you didn’t get the part you wanted? Weigh in through the comments! 

“What do I love when I love my God?”


What do I loveAUGUSTINE’S GREAT CANTICLE OF LOVE (Confessions 10, 6-8)

My love of you, God, is not some vague feeling;It is positive and certain.Your word struck into my heart,and from that moment I loved you.

Besides this, all about me,heaven and earth and all that they contain proclaim that I should love you.

But what do I love when I love my God?

No material beauty or beauty of temporal order; not the brilliance of earthly light so welcome to our eyes; not the sweet harmony of melody and song; not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes, and spices; not manna or honey; not limbs such as the body delights to embrace.

And yet, when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space; when it listens to sound that never dies away; when it breathes fragrance that is not borne away on the wind; when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating; when it clings to an embrace from which it is not severed by fulfillment of desire. This is what I love when I love my God.”