Tag Archives: sisters

The Miracle in the Manger

24 Dec

creation swap 22155_Christmas_BellsI love Jesus. He is my Savior, my Rescuer, my Friend.  He is the One I trust will be there when I need a heart to hide to in. The One who finds joy in my company. The One I know will never tire of me or find me to be too needy. He is just IT to me and the idea that the King of Kings would stoop from heaven to show love to this ordinary woman often overwhelms my heart until the joy of being His slides down my cheeks.

I am no one special to this world. I hold no place of great esteem or importance. I am insignificant in the landscape of this temporal life. But to the heart of Jesus, through the eyes of God, nothing could be further from the truth. Not for me and not for you.

Christmas Day is the announcement that He finds you, that He finds me, to be special. It is the trumpet call declaring our importance to Him. It is the Star He hangs to shine on those who are far off and it is His chorus, filling the sky with the heavenly host to say to every man, woman, and child “You matter to me!”

Friends, that is the beautiful truth of Christmas.creation swap candles David Shrein 12966

Love gifted to us as a Baby was not delivered to the wealthy, to the influential, to the movers and shakers of the day. He was given to a young girl who appeared to the world to be nothing special. Gifted to a Hebrew carpenter who held no lofty position.

The Star, heralding the arrival of the King did not shine with revelation on an exalted inner circle of priests and scribes. It lit up the night sky for a group of outsiders. Unknown, unnamed men from the East, foreigners and strangers with no standing in the Hebrew community.

And the glory of the Lord, the angels filling the sky with praise, did not proclaim the birth of the Good News to kings and nobles. The messengers of God shared the dawning of Salvation with shepherds who lived in fields seemingly influencing no one. They were unesteemed and insignificant in the landscape of their temporal lives.

Don’t you see that stooping down from heaven and gifting the ordinary with the Extraordinary has always been God’s way? The Baby in the manger held in His tiny chest the tangible heartbeat of the Living God and no matter how ordinary we may feel . . . the Heart of the Extraordinary still beats for us in personal, real and tangible ways today.

The Gift of Christmas is still being given to those the world sees as nothing special. The Light of the season still dawns from Glory to shine for the unknown and the unnamed. The glory of the Lord stills fills the skies and proclaims the message of Love to the unesteemed and the insignificant.

The Extraordinary sees you as anything but ordinary. You will never be the nothing special, the unnamed, or the insignificant to the heart of God. He loves you so and has gifted you with the priceless life of His Son. The Christmas Child has come, Dear Sister. The cry of the Babe of Love has pierced the night and the Light of the World has dawned.

creation swap JOY 3763_Christmas_1_of_2_(REVISED) ribbetPonder these things in your heart. Treasure His grace in your soul. For blessed is she who has believed that all the Lord has said to her will be accomplished. There are no limits where the Beloved of God are concerned nor are there any boundaries that can hem His holy blessing. O Sweet Sister, embrace the full of Him in the celebration of this season and may you experience the miracle of the manger as never before. Merry Christmas

 

Beauty Speaks . . .A Sister’s Story

15 Oct

Beauty . . . you are alive and well. The image of the Beautiful One is surrounding us and we are engulfed in its heartbeat. His grace, His love, His steadfastness . . . every single attribute He possesses has been placed inside of His most prized creation. Sister, that most favored status belongs to you.

Your life, if you have accepted Jesus Christ, is being renewed and transformed to reveal more and more of the beauty the Elohim, the “All of God”, created you to possess. And we, with unveiled faces, move about this life going through the trials, the tests, the difficult stuff and we come away with a greater confidence and certainty that He is with us, that He is good and we are precious in His sight.

We confront the questions to be sure . . . Is our God a Giver or a taker? Does the Delightful One truly delight in me? Has He forgotten His promise to work all things together for the good of those who love Him? It’s part of the process. We question, we pray, we cry . . . but we do not withdraw when “good” doesn’t look like we think it will and “beauty” gets messy.

And when He clears our vision, reaching down into the depths, pulling us to the top so we can breathe, opening our eyes to see just a slice of what He is doing . . . Beloved, we scarce can take it in.

That’s the place my Sweet Friend found herself in just a short time ago . . .the place where God peeled back the worries of this world and showed His splendor just for her. She gave me permission to share her story, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t bring the words together in a way that captured her heart and the way His love absolutely flowed over her in those moments. See I think that no matter how up close you have watched someone, walked with someone, or done life with someone – you can’t really tell their story quite like they can.

I so wish you could sit face to face with her, see the tears in the corners of her eyes as she spoke—because the tears would be there believe me—and hear her voice take on the hush of holiness as she poured her heart out and marveled at His goodness, but that’s just not possible.  So instead, she’s allowing me to share her story in her words. She wrote this originally as an encouragement to the Sisters she studies the Word with – a tangible way to put skin on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 sharing of our very selves—not anticipating the invitation to encourage a much larger audience.

creation swap glimpses1 Paul Snyder 10439 ribbetSo, being affectionately desirous of you,

we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God

but also our own selves,

because you had become very dear to us.

 1 Thessalonians 2:8

True to the image she was created in she has answered the call to come alongside us and let us glimpse God’s glory with her. May He bless her one-hundred fold for giving voice to His goodness and testifying to His love. My Sweet Friend, thank you for living and loving out loud in Jesus Name. You are tangible proof to me that beauty thrives in a fallen world. Blessings to you.

creation swap coffee cup painting beauty lori macmath 9079 ribbet

OUR SISTER’S STORY

You all know I was on a long journey with my Mom as she was dying. TammyandherMomma ribbetIt was one of the hardest journeys God has ever taken me on.  I lost her in December of last year.

Facebook Post from her Momma’s bedside–December 4, 2013

Sitting here with my Mom during the last hours of her journey here on earth. It’s strange how they usher us into this life and we get to usher them into eternity. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. What a blessing to hold her hand through it all.

tammy'sjacob ribbetSoon after that my son Jacob’s caregiver, (Jacob has Down’s Syndrome) that worked for us around 4 years, was engaged and got married in April.  So she left us too.  She is like a daughter to me so I was so happy for her but it was a big loss.tammymikejosh graduation ribbet

Then Jacob’s twin brother Josh graduated in June and left for college on September 1.  Honestly I wasn’t sure I would make it through all of these losses.

I had a few months where I didn’t leave the house much.  The massive amounts of snow were a good excuse to stay home.  I did pray and read my devotional and even sometimes my Bible during this time.  I had awesome sisters that kept praying, bringing coffee and checking on me.

As spring came and the sun….I felt God so close.  Just as I had in my Mom’s last days.  I slowly started moving again and getting involved in life.  It was a very long process but as I shared with my counselor and my girls, God had told me to be still when my Mom had died.  I was still but the pain was so overwhelming sometimes.

We had to help Josh decide on a college.  This was so hard.  To guide but not insist or pressure.  God gave us such wisdom and patience.  I knew where I felt he should go as soon as we hit the campus but Josh wasn’t sure.  It also cost way more than we could afford.  I kept praying Lord is this the place?  Show us, tell us, we want to obey.  By May, Josh had decided it would be Spring Arbor, my choice too.  Then God provided the money we needed.  It was amazing.  All that he did to show us his answer.

Anyway, as summer ended we packed Josh up.  We arrived on campus and were overwhelmed with God’s goodness. From each person we met to how smoothly things unfolded.  We had never met Josh’s roommate but quickly knew they were a match.  His mother and I stood in the hall listening to the RA and Spiritual advisor for the boys tell us their hearts for these boys and how they wanted to encourage and guide them.  Amazing.

After lunch we went back to the dorm.  Drew, Joshua’s roommate, was talking to someone and I heard him comment

“That can’t be true because I am adopted.”  I looked up and said “Drew, your adopted?”  “Yes”  he said.  I said “Wow, Josh is too.  Did you know that?”  “No, I didn’t”.

When I looked up at his Mom and Dad they were both smiling.  His Dad asked me when we had adopted the boys.  I told him August of 1996 from Christian Cradle.  They smiled bigger….

”I approved your adoption” he said.

“I was on the board of Christian Cradle at that time.”

tammy'sboysbaby ribbet

I couldn’t even speak.  I actually held my hands up to God and started talking.

‘You have planned this since the beginning of time…you knew these two boys would meet today and that we would find out this information.  Unbelievable!!!!”

I said to them “Can I just say thank you…”

What a confirmation!  God told me in no uncertain terms that Josh was supposed to be there at that very moment.

He is more than I can even put into words.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Savior of the World, the Lover of the Soul.  Every intricate detail…from greatest to least.  He has filled me with more hope and joy this Fall than I ever thought possible.  PRAISE HIS NAME!!!!

I don’t know about you but I can’t read the words of that Sweet Sister without the tears rolling down my cheeks. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it beautiful? It absolutely was. It might not have been our idea of what beauty looks like but when He peeled that curtain back and she got to see His tenderness, love, and care toward her – Beauty was speechless.

In all those years, God was storing up that moment and treasuring it in His heart until the very time she needed it most. That’s Who He is. Regardless of what our eyes see or how messy our lives may be –

the Beautiful One never ceases to work for the good of those who love Him.

What goodness, what treasure, do you suppose, Beautiful Sister, He is storing up for you? Where might you be, what storms might you have endured, when He peels back the curtain and reveals to you His splendor? I don’t know when that moment might come. We have no way of pinpointing the time when He will show His tenderness so plainly . . . the time when we will glimpse His glory and we will be left speechless. But we have heard this testimony and we know He is faithful so we can be certain Girlfriend –the time will come and His Glory will be seen!

tammyjoshcollege1ribbet

And we know that for those who love God

all things work together for good,

for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

You Make Your World More Beautiful . . . Just by Being You.

3 Oct

Tonight I was reading in 1 Corinthians 10 and my eyes slid across this passage. . . “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” It simultaneously brought tears to my eyes and made me smile because those few words were the answer to a prayer I had breathed only moments earlier asking for God to show Himself gentle to me. See those words are like an old friend taking my hand and leading my heart because of the spiritual mentor who helped me learn them. So as the words hit my brain the memories of her diligence toward me flooded over me, I thought to myself, “That’s from Psalm 24,” and sure enough when I glanced down at the footnote for confirmation, there it was . . “Psalm 24:1.”

That Psalm is the first Scripture I clearly remember memorizing and it was Nanny, my paternal grandmother, who went over and over every syllable with me—in the KJV no less . I’m certain there were other verses I memorized for the Sunday School classes she took me to but that Psalm – at least part of it—was different. Not only was it huge to my little person mind, but I recited it in front of the whole church at the Vacation Bible School program. Angela L. said the other half.

I was about eight or nine I think, but unlike the age that I have to work to recall, I have perfect clarity of how I felt . . . I was terrified. I don’t remember Angela L. looking at all nervous which must’ve made the ashen colored fear on my face stand out all the more to the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who were there. I distinctly remember thinking that I could either look at all their expectant faces or I could recite the Psalm, but I couldn’t do both. So, rather than look at what seemed to me to be thousands upon thousands of people in the pews, I closed my eyes. . . .and I didn’t miss or stumble over a single word.

Now Nanny had worked with me on that Psalm all week long. She made certain I could say that thing forward and backward . . .not just my part but Angela L’s too. I was so afraid she would be disappointed or embarrassed because I hadn’t stood straight and tall, I hadn’t looked the congregation straight in the eyes with the steadfast confidence of someone whose Grandma had made certain she knew her part. I hadn’t done any of the things she had helped me prepare to do. I had closed my eyes and tilted my head down to speak but if she was disappointed in me, she didn’t let me know it.

Nanny My grandma and spiritual mentor,

Nanny
My grandma and spiritual mentor

Instead, she put her hand on my shoulder—the one with all the extra skin that I liked to press into big ridges and then smooth down before I went to sleep at night—and she said, “That was beautiful. Psalms are written to be prayed. Your eyes closed and head bowed was perfect.” I remember that evening and those words so clearly—not that it was good enough, not that it would do. . . .”it was perfect.”  The tears are sliding down my face right now and I can feel her perfect hand, the one with the extra skin, on my shoulder.

Oh how I am praising God for bringing those words of love and that touch of grace to my mind this very moment. See, when I opened up my Bible this evening, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by my own imperfections and shortcomings and I asked Him to lead me to a tender word from Him, to be salve to my heart because I felt so less-than. And this is where He took me . . .to this tender memory, to this gentle touch and the echo of my Nanny’s voice. . . “it was perfect.” Thank you Lord.

It fits so well with all that He has been showing me lately about the beauty that women of all ages, occupations, and personalities bring to their worlds. He’s just been putting them in front of me everywhere I go. . .pretty places and not-so-pretty places.

Momma full of grace

The Voice of Grace

I walked into a public restroom and bent down to scan the space between the bottom of the door and the floor to see what one might be empty. My eyes stopped and my heart took in a picture that spoke a thousand words. Now the photo isn’t too clear because it isn’t exactly the place where you take a lot of time to focus your camera but if you look close you’ll see three little pairs of feet engulfed in a sea of white toilet tissue facing one another sideways and . . . one pair of larger feet, toes touching the ground, facing forward. I expected to hear some harassed and helpless sounding shrieks come from behind that pink stall door, but instead the voice of grace poured over my ears, “I just need a minute and then we’ll be done.” Her tone was soft. She spoke tenderness to those babies. Not a harried response or a sharp retort within earshot and she had no idea anyone was listening. She was grace come to life. . . making her world a more beautiful, softer, grace-filled place. I never saw her face but I know she’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever encountered.

A few days after that, I worked out at a fitness center and the Mom, Daughter, Wife, on the elliptical beside me got interrupted not once but four separate times – twice by her daughter, once by her dad, and once by her husband in the span of about 15 minutes. And that beautiful woman, who had no idea anyone was watching, kept a posture of love the entire time. She never folded her arms once. Never shot a look that could kill. Never did the long exhale through her nose. Nope. She poured love out on every single one of those interruptions wearing skin . . .she made her world a more beautiful, kinder, love-filled place. She was drenched in sweat, wearing her heart on her sleeve, and she was radiant to me.

spine cancer beauty

The Stride of Devotion

The following morning I was walking on a flower-lined sidewalk with a friend and a woman about our age came up behind us. We invited her to pass through because we were more concerned with chatting than with keeping up a good pace and she was so pleasant as she walked between and eventually passed us.  She turned back as she made her way by with a smile and explained, “I’m not as quick as I used to be with this limp.  I have spine cancer and I’m afraid I overdid yesterday.  I just finished radiation but I wasn’t going to miss this vacation with my husband and kids.” No bitterness. No this-isn’t-fair cadence to her words or her stride. Just pure devotion . . . .selfless, heartfelt, devotion . . .she would not be brought to a stand still.  She was tenacity in motion and she made her world a more beautiful place.

And then there was Eloise and Yaya. Two complete strangers to me. Eloise, about 2 years old, and Yaya who was about 70 years her senior . . . granddaughter and grandmother playing in the pool. Eloise full of energy and spunk in her little retro bathing suit flitted from one thing to the next, chattering the entire time. Yaya never told her to quiet down or suggested they take a rest. She engaged fully in every toddler utterance that came from Eloise’s mouth. She was wise enough to soak in every moment that was passing between those generations and you could tell from the look on her face that she was treasuring that day up in her heart. She may not have had the zip her grandbaby did but as a friend who has many grandbabies of her own often tells me, “my speed might be gone but the stamina is still there!”

Yaya was in it for the long haul with Miss Eloise. She would not be deterred from loving all out and all in where Eloise was concerned. She was enthralled with the little girl before her and Eloise was enamored with her Yaya and they were beautiful .. . .they made their world a more beautiful, love-out-loud, treasure-the-day, live-this-moment place.

I don’t know if any of those women have confessed Christ as her personal Savior or not. I hope so, with everything that’s in me, I hope so.  But the truth is, God can display His glory and impact my life through whomever He chooses and for this moment in time He chose them. His plans don’t need our approval to move forward and for this season in life it appears that His plan is to increase my awareness of the beauty of women and tender my heart toward them in a way I’ve not experienced before – – not just the ones I’m blessed to know but the ones I may never meet.

Some I'm Blessed to Know

Some I’m Blessed to Know

These encounters changed me.   None of those ladies know how they impacted me. None of them know how they lived out loud, loved out loud, and brought beauty to my world. . . .but they did. And YOU, sweet, sweet Sister, YOU are those women.

You’re the daughter, you’re the mom, the grandma, the wife, the friend, you’re the sister making the world a more beautiful place. A softer place. A grace-filled, love-filled, life-filled place.

Your lives aren’t easy—the toilet paper tangle on the floor is sometimes as good as the day gets. But you do the messy stuff and you make even that crowded stall, with all those feet, a beautiful place to be. You reach out a hand with extra skin, lay it on the shoulder of one you love, and you make life better. Your tenacity for life, your pure devotion, they make your world beautiful.

I know it’s easy to feel as if we don’t bring much beauty to our circumstances. We get too caught up in the imperfections and the shortcomings, but I assure you Beloved . . .

YOU ARE BREATHTAKING IN HIS SIGHT

and He will display His glory and His love through you. . . . with or without your approval.

Every time you choose a posture of love over a posture of impatience. Every time you refuse to be deterred from being fully with the ones you love. Every time you do the daughter-mom-wife-grandmother-friend-sister pour out grace, love, and life stuff. . .every time you are YOU, you make the world a more beautiful place because you, my Sweet Friend, are a glimpse of His glory.

Enjoy Life — till it Overflows!

24 May

I spent last weekend with some beautiful women.  Each one dressed in Jesus Christ from the inside out and doing their best to wear Him well.  The conversations shared around tables, over coffee, and in tucked away corners ran the gamut – raucous laughter and poking fun at ourselves to tears shed and hearts laid bare.

My Cup Overflows

My Cup Overflows

To me, that’s true beauty, uncontainable radiance in action.  Sisters doing life together, bonded by heart and bound by soul to other daughters of the King.  Some meeting one another for the first time—not a thing in common but their love for their Jesus.

  • All denominations.
  • All age groups.
  • All manner of occupations.

Each one stretching outside of themselves to connect with His people.  The blessed sisterhood hand-picked for them by the lover of their souls.

This particular conference was called a “Women’s Refresher” rather than a retreat and my mind really enjoyed that change of title.  It gave my heart a sense of expectation and hope.  Hope that we all might walk away with souls renewed, spirits refreshed, and hearts at rest.  With a rejuvenated resolve to stand firm in the face of whatever might lay on the other side of the weekend.  See, I think that

“rest of the soul — refreshed heart” living is the mental expression of our spiritual reality.

Christ came so that we could have life and have it the full.  Not do just a little bit of living, but really go after the thing with all He has created us to be.  The Amplified Bible translates John 10:10 in such a way that I can’t keep the smile from creeping across my face and my heart simultaneously . . .

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have and enjoy life,

and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). 

John 10:10 AMP

Isn’t that wonderful – enjoyment of life with the Life Giver.  Abundance that does not change with the ebb and flow of our circumstances.  Life to overflowing that isn’t subject to our limited human vision.

He is the Door to Life.Oh that’s some good news to me.  It means that regardless of how hot the flaming arrow the enemy sends my way may be or what kind of a mess I may walk myself into, God will not change His mind concerning the life His Son purchased for me.  The same is true for you Sweet One and here’s more good news –no matter how many translations I looked at I couldn’t find a single one that said “ I came that they may dig in with their fingernails, grit their teeth, and worry their way into glory.”  Nor could find a translation of John 10:10 with an asterisk indicating that there were exceptions to this verse so you cannot possibly be the one person in all the ages that this passage does not apply to.  See,

we cannot mess it up so badly that God changes His mind about His love for us or about the way He wants to raise us up for Kingdom purposes.

The same God who brought you through fire and water – a wall of despair on the right and a wall of destruction on the left – kept your feet from slipping and delivered you to a place of abundance is alive and well within you this very moment.  And the Spirit of God has not come so you might simply survive—He has come so that you may thrive.

He has crushed the head of your enemy with the heel of Jesus Christ so not one obstacle stands between you and the Father.  Jesus Christ has overcome them all so that you and I, those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, can not only approach the throne of grace with confidence – we are welcome to live there!

Do we get that?  I’m not certain I do.  I hope you’re further along in the process than I am because too often I find myself unaware of being in the Presence of God.  I too often confine Him to my “quiet time” or to Sunday mornings and leave behind the all-encompassing knowledge that He is always with me.  And that’s when it begins – hanging on by my fingernails, gritting my teeth, fretting and stewing about life from one day into the next.  I forget God and I remember me and when I’m at the center of me – well, suffice to say nothing goes well.

I put my own slant on life and quickly become consumed by myself—beleaguered by insecurity, embittered by rejection, and eaten alive by someone else’s blessings.  But even then, God does not change His mind concerning me and the Blood of Jesus still flows for me.

Isn’t that something?  Standing before Him, in all my “me”, and He doesn’t change His mind.

Maybe you have those less-than moments too, when you stand before Him in all that is “you” and He doesn’t change His mind.

And we’re left in awe and wondering over and over again, “Oh Lord, why do you love me so?”

When I was beleaguered and bitter,     

totally consumed by envy,

I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox     

in your very presence.

I’m still in your presence,     

but you’ve taken my hand.

You wisely and tenderly lead me,     

and then you bless me.

You’re all I want in heaven!     

You’re all I want on earth!

When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,     

God is rock-firm and faithful.

Look! Those who left you are falling apart!     

Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.

But I’m in the very presence of God—     

oh, how refreshing it is!

I’ve made Lord God my home.     

Psalm 73:23-28 MSG

I want off the merry-go-round that constantly spins me back to the place where I begin and God is forgotten.  I want the life my Pastor calls “present-time-Christ-conscious living.”  Centered on my God, revolving around my Jesus, and led by the Spirit.  Not hit-and-miss, but all day every day—standing so close that the shadow of refreshment falls over me day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

Girlfriend, that’s what we were made for, life in His Presence—His overflowing, to the full, abundant Presence.  So you leave yourself behind, tuck yourself inside the refuge of His wing and make your home there.  Don’t forget where you live for one single moment.  The place of heart refreshment, soul renewal, and spirit rest will not be found apart from Him.  Move through this life so closely connected to Him that His shadow covers you from head-to-toe and in that shade Sister, I promise, based on the authority of His Word, you will find what your heart is longing for.

He who dwells in the shelter

of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of

the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1Picture of Refreshment

This post is part of the #mywritingprocess blog tour. I was invited to participate by the most encouraging young woman I have the privilege of doing cyber life with. You can find her, Spirit-filled and heart full of Jesus, at http://igivegodalltheglory.wordpress.com/. I cannot tell you how amazed I am that God has seen fit to take Glimpsed Glory around the world to more than 70 countries at this point. Oh, how I pray it is encouraging every Sister that visits to stand strong in the faith and to live well in His Name. I’d love it if you would join the journey by following the blog and having new post notifications sent straight to your email. You can also find Glimpsed Glory on facebook with daily encouragement and @glimpsedglory at twitter. Thanks for stopping by and thanks to I give God all the Glory for the opportunity – Keep shouting His praise from the mountaintops Miss Jennifer!

A Giant Love Story

7 Jul

I love reading the Old Testament.  I always have.  My Aunt Shirley used to have these children’s Bible books at her house that were filled with the Old Testament accounts of the larger-than-life events God chose to record from that period of History.  I can still bring the artist’s rendering of the scenes to my mind and feel the pages that recounted the mother of Moses placing him in the basket of reeds to escape death.  I can see the book lying open on the floor of her living room that drew me into the life of Hannah and made me feel so sad when she left Samuel with Eli. And I can recall the drawing of Delilah as she tried to coax Samson’s secret from him.  I doubt Aunt Shirley had any idea of the impact those children’s books would have on me, but I am convinced that they are one of the things God used to stir my heart at that young age.  Know what? I still love reading about those faith giants.

Noah laboring to build the ark.  —  Genesis 6

Abraham faithfully walking up the mountain. – Genesis 22

Jacob wrestling with God. – Genesis 32

Moses standing on Holy Ground.  – Exodus 3

Rahab dropping the scarlet cord.  – Joshua 2

Gideon fighting with a few.  – Judges 6

David choosing the stones.—1 Samuel 17

Elijah pouring the water. – 1 Kings 18

And the list goes on and on and on.  I am just as enthralled with them all now as I was when I was small.  But now when I read about the events in their lives, I’m reading the Book that gives the full account.  Not just the beautiful shining moments but the ones tarnished by human nature as well.   So not only do I know that Abraham was a man who trusted as he walked up the side of that mountain with Isaac at his side,  I also know he was a man who lied and slept with a slave girl.  I know now that the same Moses who rose to lead the Israelites was a murderer who ran away to avoid the consequences.  And David, who stood to face the giant, was an adulterer and a murderer who wanted to hide his sins from God in the worst way.

All of the giants of faith, every single one of those everyday people, led insignificant, messy, imperfect lives. And yet, He chose to display His love, His grace, and His power through them.  Apart from Him, their stories would have gone unchanged, been unremarkable.  Jacob would have remained a deceiver, David an obscure shepherd, and Rahab a prostitute. It was God who made them different.  It was God who wrote the extraordinary excerpts of their ordinary stories.  He was the Author who penned their significant moments and transformed their lives.  It was all Him—because the story, the history of it all—is His.  It’s His story.

Girlfriend, it’s still all Him and it’s still His story, but may I ask you to believe today with everything you are that His pen has not gone dry?  He is still about the business of writing the most extraordinary excerpts on the pages of ordinary lives – OURS.   Our imperfections do not scare Him.  Our insignificance does not deter Him.  And our messiness will not dissuade our God, who does not change, from swooping down from heaven and transforming our lives.

Now, from our chronos perspective in this very messy, very imperfect world, His story is still unfolding and we may find ourselves wondering where the giants of the faith have gone.  But make no mistake Beloved, they are here.  Oh, they are here.   I know this to be true because I see them every day.  I see them marching out to their mission fields in nursing scrubs, company shirts, and work uniforms.  I see them mowing a sick neighbor’s lawn and bringing a meal to lighten someone’s load.  I see them coming alongside a grieving family, offering comfort, and holding a hand. And yes, I see them putting Old Testament story books into the hands of small children and planting seeds of faith.

I see His wonders.

I see His miracles.

I see His LOVE.

And Sweet Sister, don’t you know . . . . it looks just like you.

Yep, you’re the one.  You’re the giant of faith He has raised up for this place and this time.  He has written His Name across your heart.  He has chosen you to display His grace and His glory.  Don’t you doubt for a moment that His story has always included you and it has always been one Giant Love Story. You know I used to tell my students that “authors always write to be read.”  Thinking about that now,  I don’t think “The Author” is any exception.  I might go so far as to say that the concept is absolutely Biblical.

Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you.

Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit;

not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—2 Corinthians 3:3 MSG

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