Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

returning to worship


Thanksgiving vs. Christmas

this year, for the first time in ever, Christmas has infiltrated my Thanksgiving fortress.

all the kids have Thanksgiving week off and we have a road trip planned.  This road trip has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, or Christmas for that matter, it’s just that it coincided time off for everyone and resources available to travel.  we’ve been planning and anticipating for ages, focusing in on the states and sights and mapping our course.  to say we are all excited is quite the under-statement and it’s just now sinking in that we are also in the midst of the holiday season.

because of being gone for these last two Sunday’s in November, i had to begin the Advent study i’m leading early to fit all the lessons in.  and a few of the sights we’ve picked for our trip will be all decked out for Christmas.

in the middle of the night, with study and trip prep swirling around inside my head, something occurred to me.  as i pondered the advent lessons and anticipated the Christmasy sights headed our way, i was reminded of my stubborn battle cry of; “no things Christmas until after Thanksgiving….by golly we will be thankful thankful thankful!!” and i became doubly aware that this resistance has little to do with Christ, and everything to do with culture. in my fight against culture, i’ve inadvertently bought into the lie of what Christmas is actually about.

i know what Christmas is about.  we decorate with nativity sets and have a Bible under our tree instead of presents.  We bring Christ into it in every way possible.

do you see the subtle lie woven into what i just said?  We bring Christ into it? is not the whole of Christmas Christ bringing Himself to us?  (que the music; and the soul felt it’s worth)

as i’ve begun early to meditate on Christ’s coming, as i’ve prepped for our trip and a Thanksgiving week different than it’s ever been, i’ve realized that in my fight to keep Christ in Christmas and Thankfulness in Thanksgiving, i’ve unknowingly declared that the world has triumphed and the battle is mine to wage.  this year, the Spirit who speaks to the churches has been infiltrating my heart in a whole new way-as He does year by year, month by month, day by day, hour by hour.  it’s a re-setting of worship, and it looks a little like pondering the Christ-child early;  a little like being awe-struck and immensely thankful for the babe in a manger, a Lamb come to save His people from their sins.  a little like breaking through my stubborn resolve and allowing the fluidness of the Spirit to be my guide instead.

….regardless of what the calendar says.


on paris and suffering

these days haven’t been completely consumed with prepping for our trip and the stuff of life.  i’ve seen the news headlines and read the reports.  we as a family also watch and pray for the persecuted and my heart has held a vigil for those in N. Korea for years.  we’ve people near and dear suffering just down the road and our prayers for healing continue to be prayed without seeing any visible results.

i’ve no profound words today to offer that would do anything for all the questions.  but there are those who do and i wanted to point to them:

Seth Haines book Coming Clean just released last month.  it’s a book about pain and faith and offers such nourishment and companionship to anyone else who has experienced suffering and the questions that come. (which, unless i’m missing something, would include all of humanity.)

Emily Freemon offers us a Prayer for those who are grieving.  

and a couple of years on the tail end of a fire that was on the tail end of a different fire there was a flood-and i penned some words about it-taking comfort from this song by Christa Wells that she is now offering for free: This Thing is Not Going to Break You 


both the art of these fine artists and the Spirit’s movement in my heart lift my eyes away from the calendar and the newscasts pointing them instead towards the One who was and is and is to come.

thus, worship is restored.

to draw further in:  Revelation 4 and 5, Romans 8, Matthew 1, Luke 1-2



misunderstood shoes


I’m standing on the street corner with my two boys when a voice calls out from a car window;

“What kind of mother are you? Get some shoes on that kid, sheesh! Have you no love or care?”

Yes, it is cold out and yes my older boy doesn’t have shoes on.  It takes about 45 minutes of therapy for him to wear socks….and then shoes. There was this helicopter you see…..but there is no time to explain, he just calls out his disdain and speeds away.

….he knows nothing of the countless hours of pouring out my very self as mother to 3 children, one of which has sensory processing disorder. What kind of mother am I?….

in celebration of National Family Caregivers Month, i’m sharing a bit of my story over at Anita’s caregiver connections blog Blessed (but stressed).  Join me over there as i discuss the loneliness and pain of being misunderstood.


fumbling pray-er


the crisp air fills my lungs as my feet hit the pavement.  the paths are new to me since i’m running and walking while waiting to pick up my oldest from her school the next town over.  i’ve gotten lost a time or two as my mind focuses on the inner language happening in my soul rather than the names of the streets i’m on.

it is not consistent, this exercise thing, but it is important to me.   instead of quitting because of the lack of consistency, i just keep watching for the opportunities and take them when they come.


and so it goes with everything else.   a teen who wants to talk deep and so the dishes wait and i sit. a book with words that nourish and so i take a chapter when a free ten minutes appear.  creativity springs forth and so i respond, creating a mess in an already messy space.  writing in the cracks.  exercise on car-pool days.  there is nothing controllable or predictable here, somewhat because of the season of life i’m in, but mostly because of who i am.


the God i love has been distant, quiet, and so my footing feels shaky.  doubts attack  and the unpredictability in the day to day threatens to wear me out.  i have a son who needs routine and predictability and to know what is happening tomorrow and what exactly is a macadamia nut that is in this different granola bar you decided to get this time??   and i have a family who need to be fed by a mom who is present,  and a body that needs exercise and a soul that needs books and creativity and words written on a page.  through the distance, there is still the constant; “help me here Lord,” along with the deep “thank yous”  of the day to day sort, but the predictable solid  ‘quiet times’ disappeared so very long ago.

i fumble through the opportunities snatched to be still and quiet with my Savior, aware of the dullness i feel, i puzzle at the way He is present in all the above situations; giving me words to say, words to type, patience to respond.  how can He be so present and seemingly so far away all at the same time?  i don’t know. i don’t understand this struggle.


i am a fumbling exercis-er, fumbling writ-er, fumbling pray-er.  just like on those paths one town over, i feel lost.  but instead of quitting i remind myself that the One who sits on the Throne has invited me to call Him Father, has promised that He never leaves nor forsakes.


and He knows the way home.


to draw further in:  Revelation 4 with Rev 7:9-14 and Romans 8.


October’s lessons


October, with all her glory in the leaves a changing and writing for 31 days straight has taught me a few things.

  1.  the leaves will change and beauty will appear whether i’m ready for it or not.  i can not press pause until i’ve time to take a walk or take a picture.  so i need to press pause on something else and take that walk or that picture.
  2. i am not able to publish everyday and run.  i didn’t get out for a run or walk the entire month.  the topic i chose didn’t lend itself to simple words or brief posts.  writing everyday was exactly what i needed, i’ve known that for some time and the challenge to post gave me the motivation to make it happen.  but in dedicating time for writing i let exercise slip away.  i’m entering into November with eyes looking for what it looks like to do both.
  3. i’ve more loyalty to everyone else around me than i have to myself.  i pushed myself every day to publish because i said i would, even if it meant neglecting my home, family, or self.  i already knew this-remember this summer how i wouldn’t quit on my daughter, but if she hadn’t been in the equation, i would’ve quit on myself.  entering the 40’s a few years ago i realized how much more effective it was to work with myself instead of against myself.  since i know this loyalty thing to be true, i’m praying over how i can work within it to both write and exercise-two things that are specifically for me.
  4. reading good authors can usher in fear and super strong temptation to quit writing.  reading good authors also ushers in inspiration and strong courage to write.  it is a real battle for me. sometimes i have to abstain from reading until after i’ve written.  other times i need to read so that i have courage to write.  i can’t predict one from the other, except that i’ve grown in my ability to sense the stirring of either fear or courage and respond accordingly.




linking up with Crystal Stine for write31days and Emily Freeman for things we learned in october.

chasing joy | final words


But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give!

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.


Unless the Lord had given me help,
    I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.


Thank you for reading along these past 31 days, may you go forth in Joy!

to draw further in:  Psalms of Joy; listed above are 5:11, 16:11, 21:1, 21:6, 28:7, 90:14, and 94:17-19

chasing joy | where it can be found


so i tell you this….that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking….

there’s this saying in AA that goes something like; “this is where my best thinking got me.”   as a Romans 8 woman, it’s become a freedom cry of sorts for me.  an acknowledging that on my own i only travel so far.  i need someone else to intervene.  my best thinking puts limits on who God is and how He loves.  my best thinking is futile and ignorant and darkened. But God who is rich in mercy steps in and invites; ‘come, enter into the Ocean of Who I Am.’


15 years ago i hadn’t made it far from shore in my understanding of this God i love, and thus my understanding of Him was shallow.  it’s where i started, it’s where we all start. all along He’s been inviting me bit by bit to move deeper into understanding the ‘remarkable wonders of His Person more completely.’  this has been the chase of joy.


As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace….

Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing…”

Christ brings peace, Immanuel brings joy that cannot be taken, and He longs for us to be willing to receive it.  the vessels through which it comes have been so different than what i thought they’d be.  it has looked like a small yard and a small house in the city.  it has looked like forgiving the unforgivable.  it has looked like a cabin built through wind and fire and flood (yes, there was also a flood).  it has looked like a child needing help to simply wear a pair of socks.  it has looked like sharing the fellowship of Christ in His sufferings, it has looked like basking in the wonder of a life made new.   He asks me to be willing to trust Him and when i do i grow in understanding and find my footing in deeper waters.


I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection: [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers],

I want to know the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him: by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but i press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.


Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

i still chase after joy.  every single day.  lets press on together, shall we?


to draw further in:  Ephesians 4, Philippians 3 (above i quoted from the Amplified), Luke 19: 41-42; Matthew 23: 37-38; Hebrews 12


chasing joy | a cabin story: all things new

I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

I will not yield my glory to another.

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted….
to comfort all who mourn…..
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of despair.

for Joni and Zeke, mere inches made all the difference.  for our cabin, it was the direction and speed of the wind….every time.  13 families lost their homes in this fire and i can’t speak about their grief. we sat on the outskirts of it all a bit, because we still had our home and our belongings in town.

in town.

He’d been building a life for us in town.  there was a community we were made for and we had come to know it.  i had lost complete control of my days-never knowing when a knock on my door would change my afternoon.  He provided a church family and a place for us among them.  we knew this was where we belonged, we understood that we were not meant to abide in the mountains, still we never felt His leading to sell.  we still believed we needed to finish what we started, though we couldn’t explain why.  there was a community in those mountains that we visited, and we were welcomed in every time-but we didn’t fully belong there, only part of us did.  but the part that did, wholeheartedly did.

and that part was now ashes.  and we were already so worn out from all the other traumas we’d been facing over the past year.  and we were so worn out from all the traumas we’d endured thus far on that mountain.

come let us reason together…..

if not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of His will, if he has called the stars by name and not one of them is missing, if all of psalm 139 is true, than He is a God who is sovereignly involved in all of the details.  and that gives me such comfort.  if He has placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, if the waves and the billows roar but cannot pass, if He commands the wind and it obeys Him, then He sovereignly reigns over His earth.   and that makes me tremble.

inches.  is He the God of inches?  is He only in control when the details go my way?

I know Him as the God who wrestles with His people.  who invites His people into His intimate presence, naked and unashamed.

and so yet again i answered His invitation to come and reason.  I poured out all of my grief. i pounded my fists against His chest.  i didn’t understand His choice of inches.  but this couldn’t rip the rug of His love out from under me because He is a Shepherd who keeps what is His.  i was walking in the dark in a myriad of ways, but i knew my God could be trusted, so i relied on Him to give me a garment of praise instead of despair and to bring beauty out of these ashes.

and then through a series of details of things that aren’t supposed to happen, this untamable Sovereign God gave us this:





to draw further in:  Jeremiah 5:22; Isaiah 45; 61; Matthew 6:25-34; 10:29-31, psalm 139, John 10

chasing joy | a cabin story: through the flames


life had been chugging along full speed.  From fall of 2010 to Spring of 2011;  Jeremy had collided with another player while playing softball, requiring emergency surgery and 8 weeks with his jaw wired shut.  i’d taken a trip to Uganda, there had been visits from friends and family from out of town and out of the country.  my dad had had heart surgery out of state and i’d traveled to support him and my mom. we were heavily involved with a homeless ministry through our church, in leadership with Bible Study Fellowship, i was homeschooling the two boys (5 and 3) while Hannah (9) was off at our neighborhood public school. plus there were the weekly sessions with Zeke’s OT where wonderful progress was being made, but not without persevering work.


on the tail end of all of that, i wrote in my journal:

April-Friday the first-quiet day-mel cleans classroom, kids play.

Saturday the 2nd we go to Property for a day with the Hansons, take Janet her bench we purchased for birthday/memory of the sudden passing of Ames’ (their dog) the previous week. We walk together, look at our logs, map out Jeremy’s Frisbee golf course, the kids play all day, we visit about life, spiritual things, real and deep.  It is a beautiful day.  we leave around 10.

amidst the crazy, we’d carved out a Saturday to spend the day up on the property.  we checked on our logs adjusting the tarps where needed, walked inside our foundation and talked a little about when we’d ever get to start building again.  then we walked on up the hill to visit our dear friends who’d built their house on the property next to ours.  it was always a treat to get to visit and let the kids play and hike and catch up on things.  we laughed together, grieved losses together and broke bread together.  we stayed up way to late, and drove back to town in the dark satisfied and filled.


my journal continues:

at midnight Adonai wakes Janet-they have 15 minutes to evacuate-due to sudden fire.  Jon calls us at 12:30am to let us know.

while we were driving home a fire that had been burning miles away intersected with that hurricane wind creating a giant blow torch.  we’d just laid down our heads when we received the call. the next day we spend with our dear friends.  waiting and waiting and waiting to be given permission to drive up to see-to know what has happened to our property; their house and our land.

finally we are granted access.  we drive up together with them and their oldest son.  we read the psalms.  i just open my bible and start reading -its psalm 116.  i get to verse 7 before i realize this is my ‘property psalm’ but the One who is ever present knew that.  unable to read now through my tears, i hand my bible over to Jeremy and he flips the pages and resumes reading.  psalm 16.  this is Janet’s ‘property psalm’.  Jeremy of course didn’t know that.  but the One who comforts as no one else knew.  His nearness is deeply felt.

We arrive just barely in time to see the damage before dark.  The entire hill destroyed by fire.  our logs evaporated in thin air.  Hanson’s house dust and ashes.

it’s snowing-which is bizarre to see white flakes falling on black ashes.  we stand in silence and awe as the darkness of night moves in.  in the days that follow  we will return as a family and walk our now barren land.




I love the Lord, because He hears [and continues to hear]
My voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, my specific needs).

Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.

The cords and sorrows of death encompassed me,
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, please save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and [consistently] righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.

The Lord protects the simple (childlike);
I was brought low [humbled and discouraged], and He saved me.

Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have rescued my life from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from stumbling and falling.

I will walk [in submissive wonder] before the Lord
In the land of the living.

I believed [and clung to my God] when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”

I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars.”

What will I give to the Lord [in return]
For all His benefits toward me?
[How can I repay Him for His precious blessings?]

I will lift up the cup of salvation
And call on the name of the Lord.

I will pay my vows to the Lord,
Yes, in the presence of all His people.

Precious [and of great consequence] in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones [so He watches over them].

O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid;
You have unfastened my chains.

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call on the name of the Lord.

I will pay my vows to the Lord,
Yes, in the presence of all His people,

In the courts of the Lord’s house (temple)—
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)


Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.


to draw further in:  Psalm 116, 51:12 (quoted above,) 117, 118; Psalm 16; and various verses throughout chapters 30-60 of the book of Isaiah-there were many that were personally and specifically life giving to me during that season.

chasing joy | a cabin story: willing


be at rest O my soul, God has been good to you

i wrote this where the yurt once stood to remind myself that this was true regardless of what my circumstances were.  a reminder to hold both His sovereignty and goodness in my hands.

…and He determined…the exact places where [man] should live.  God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

our experience with the Yurt and relocating also settled something sure within us: there was a place for us and the One who names the stars can be trusted where He leads.  where He takes us is so we would seek Him….with all of our hearts, and be willing to follow because of Who He Is, not what we understand.  reading about the story behind the hymn; Have Thine Own Way, i came upon a poem that became my inner plea.  not necessarily because i was willing, more that i wanted to be…..

i am willing

to receive what Thou givest
to lack what Thou withholdest
to relinquish what Thou takest.
to surrendor what Thou claimest.
to suffer what Thou ordainest.
to do what Thou commandest.
to wait, until Thou sayest go.

-author unknown

i’d  begun to hand over full control of our money to the owner of cattle on those thousand hills (rather than just ten percent).  i grew in my understanding of belonging wholly to this One who gave all for me.  and i began to realize His knowledge of me contained thoughts too wonderful for me to fully grasp.


we were thick in the throws of identifying and treating a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, homeschooling our oldest, and working on rebuilding that foundation whenever we could, all with minimal funds.  occupational therapists and homeschooling materials and building materials are expensive.  and then there is the matter of needing to eat.  all  this continued my education in praying without ceasing.  so many times all i could muster was a small chirp; “help” and every time i prayed for help, every single time, the Lord helped me.  whether it was wisdom and self-control with an out of control child, or how to make the menu stretch, great oh so great is His faithfulness.


in the midst of all of that He led us to send our oldest to our neighborhood school the following fall.  then we found ourselves needing yet again to move.  the market had shifted and rentals were now hard to come by, so we looked at what we could purchase.  at first there was not a single house in our city cheap enough. this perplexed us, since the Lord had made it clear where Hannah was to be attending 4th grade.  we looked in other towns, but never had the Lord’s peace.  i had also made it clear to both the Lord and my husband what type of house i was willing to live in.  then the market took a turn and 5 houses popped up in our city that we could afford.  there was this one only 2 blocks away from where we were.  we’d drive by often, but had never been willing to consider it, it was so run down and needing a ton of work to even inhabit.  it was slightly bigger (820 sq ft.) but still only 2 bedrooms.  we really wanted our daughter to have her own room.  we thought she needed her own room.  then one day i found myself walking over and looking in the windows.  and then one night i mentioned it to my husband.  “maybe when we go to look at those other 4 we should just add this one to the list?”  so we did.  and we prayed.  and the Lord led.  and He made us willing.


the driveway and detached garage had dirt floors.  i contacted a guy who came over and gave me an estimate to concrete them.  on a whim, i mentioned to him our situation up on the mountains, those concrete block walls that needed filled, and our inability to get any concrete companies to drive up there.  he was willing and he’d work it out with the owners of the concrete and the trucks.


this picture always makes me cry.   so much time and uncertainty and sacrifice and waiting we’d had to overcome to get here, so many details that only the One who tells the sun when to go down could work out.

even with a huge project of a house in town, this day was a day of celebration, of joy, of being satisfied in the things the Lord gave.







to draw further in: psalm 139, psalm 104:19;


chasing joy | kind companions in the dark of winter

i just realized today that this is the last week of October.  saturday is it for this 31 days writer’s challenge-woah!  i know some people plan their writing out in advance and outline their posts and such-i always wanted to be like them.  it really is a wise and thoughtful approach, especially for the reader.  but while i am waiting for that change in me, i have to just keep writing anyway, and pray that you, the reader, will give me grace.  the next thoughts for the cabin story are needing more time to flesh out-so have to wait till tomorrow.  i did actually look at the calendar this morning (progress!) and hope that i can wrap up the cabin story in three posts, which will give me two days for final thoughts on this concept of chasing after that joy that cannot be taken.  



The White Witch?  Who is she?

Why, it is she that has got Narnia under her thumb.  It’s she that makes it always winter.  Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”

Lucy and Mr. Tumnus from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

it has felt like a long long winter, and i’m not talking about the weather.  it has been a long time since i’ve experienced the Lord’s presence in the way i used to.  like Mr. Tumnus, i can handle the winter as long as there is still Christmas.  there is so much depth in these few words Lewis penned, and if nothing else they bring the gift of a kind companion who understands the dark and hope-needy places.


There was one who was not afraid of any evil tidings, for her heart stood fast believing in the Lord.  And her trust was in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever.
Often He had arisen as light in the darkness.
Often she had called upon Him in troubles and He had delivered her, and heard her what time the storm fell upon her.
He had been merciful, loving and righteous, and she had said, “Who is like unto the LORD our God…..

And now she found herself standing alone, looking into a great mist.

     Fold after fold the hills lay there before her, but always in mist.  She could see no path, except a little track in the valley below. She thought that she was quite alone, and for a while she stood looking, listening, and feeling this loneliness and uncertainty harder to bear than any acute distress had ever been.

     Then, softly, voices began to speak within her, now discouraged, now encouraging.

“My flesh and my heart faileth.”
“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
“My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my soul: and my kinsmen stand afar off.”
“Nevertheless, I am continually with Thee:  Thou has holden me by my right hand.”
“My tears have been my meat day and night; while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?”
“Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God.”
“My way is hidden from my God.”
“He knows the way that i take.  All my ways are before Him….They thirsted not when He led them through the deserts.  Will they faint when He leads them through the hills?”

     Then she looked again at the mist, and it was lightening, and she knew that she was not alone, for her God was her refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  He was about her path; He would make good His loving-kindness toward her,….He would not let her be disappointed of her hope.

    So it was enough for her to see only the next few steps, because He would go before her and make His footsteps a way to walk in.  And of this she was also sure: He whom she followed saw through the mist to the end of the way.  

    And in that hour a song was given to her.  She sang it as she walked……And as she walked thus and sang, others whom she did not see because of the mist that still lay on her way, heard her singing and were comforted and helped to follow on, even unto the end.

-Amy Carmichael Figures of the True

to read of another who found herself in a mist and then to be comforted by her song does two things for me.  it gives me the gift of being understood and it gives me the courage to sing the song given to me as i walk.  in a way that is why i write here.  i write out the ‘songs’ given in my hour of need.  those ‘songs’ are that living water that never runs dry, that joy that cannot be taken.


I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know?  I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it.  I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

-Markus Zusak The Book Thief

i could go on and on about this story, and the real kind of pressing on hope and community that it bleeds throughout it’s pages.  i have often asked myself why it is that i am drawn to these types of stories.  my favorite movies to watch are in the genre of Life is Beautiful and Good Will Hunting.  my favorite types of books, Green Leaf in Drought Time, Things as They Are, the Book Thief, All The Light we Cannot See.  i read a lot of things, but these are the ones that resonate with the deep questions i wrestle with.  they so often seem too dark for my friends, too sad, too ugly, too brutal.  but like the Giver so eloquently illustrates, it brings the color back into my world as so much beauty and glory and brilliance shine through.  and for me this is the reality of the life on this earth where the enemy works to make it always winter and never Christmas.  these stories remind me that while it may be winter, Christmas will still come.  and that gives me hope, which ushers in a joy that cannot be taken.


Christmas will always still come.


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