Beauty in the Barrenness

August 5th, 2014


DSC_0876It’s easy to miss the beauty when struggling to stay balanced.

 Avoiding the sharp, unsteady rocks becomes our goal.

Being careful not to step on the wrong rock, the one rock that will send us toppling as our foot gives way to the unexpected movement of dry stones unevenly stacked, we move forward.




Sometimes reluctantly.

And yet there’s beauty there in the barren creek.

There’s unexpected treasures where water once flowed freely.

Maybe it’s in the forced slowness of this pace that we’re finally able to notice what we otherwise could have missed.






And maybe it’s only because of the seasonal lowering of the waterline that we’re able to see our roots clearly.

In the drought, we find out what we’re holding onto most tightly.

In the search for water, we realize just how strong and deep our roots have really grown.


We know we need water for life.

By digging deeper, we know we will be refreshed……………….in time.

Like a deer longing for water in a dry, thirsty land;

we show up at the barren creek time and time again.

We nibble on what’s left of life,

because deep inside we know there’s water.


Under our feet, somewhere, the water still moistens the deepest parts of us, and one day soon it will once again run over the rocks we now find painful.

And these very rocks that trip us up today will become the twists and turns of the water flow tomorrow, the hidden guides of our creek’s current.


Hosea 13:5

I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought.

Psalms 63:1

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.


Remembering Debbie

August 4th, 2014



Debbie “Pitten” was her name to Nick.

This was a four year-old’s way of saying a name that held letters he still couldn’t quite grasp phonetically.

She was a second mom to him that year-

the year I thought I needed to finish my college degree.

The year I thought it was time to take off my “stay-at-home” mom hat and venture out into the “real world” full time.

I remember her laugh as she would tell me about Nick’s adventures each afternoon.

They would take walks and Nick would cart with him every Power Ranger figure he could juggle in his little fingers.

I remember her smile as she would fix me a cup of tea and try to slow down my racing mind filled with five kids’ schedules and my own new life’s demands.

Her own boys were teenagers, busy with their own worlds, but Debbie still stayed home.

Still felt the call to create a calm space for her husband and kids………….

and I…………….

I admired her  for her ability to keep sacred what I was allowing to slip through my hands.

While I was busy creating chaos, Debbie was pouring out peace.

I shouldn’t be surprised that God called her home early.

I have a feeling He longed to have her presence right there with Him just like I loved having it right here with me.

Nick once again has his Debbie “Pitten” with him.

The thought of his  priceless grin combined with her gentle smile warms my heart this morning.

I believe she’s still trying to teach me something this morning as I continue to create chaos in my life.

She never tried to be significant.

She never tried to lead.

She never needed a pat on the back or a round of applause.

She lived to serve.

She was happiest when she was talking about her faith.

She lived humbly and never seemed to long for more.

When I entered her home, my pulse slowed and I felt safe.

She taught me to love deeply.

She taught me to hug freely.

I walked through an old cemetery early this summer,

and my eyes were drawn to a row of three ancient tombstones decorated with bright flowers.

The flowers seemed to pop out in the sea of weathered grey stones like jewels on a tarnished crown.

As I walked near these headstones, I wondered who had set the flowers here and why.

I wondered about the lives of these people who had left the world so long ago.

Not famous.

Not historic.

Just every day people who lived every day lives and then died.

I wondered if they, like Debbie “Pitten,”  had been so good at pouring out peace that their stories had somehow passed down through generations, calling great-great grandchildren here to this quiet placesimply to say “thank you.”

I wondered what they taught the world while they were living, leaving a mark that still drew visitors today.

As I was reading this morning about prophets and kings and countries that turned their back on God, I had no idea I would be led to write about an old friend I miss dearly and about weathered tombstones that had captured my attention several months ago.

But the chaos of the Old Testament, the worship of all kinds of false gods, convicts me and makes me think about my own life, my own heart, my own legacy.

It causes me to examine myself closely, wondering what I need to tear down and throw away so that I can be completely His.

When I think about this purging of  all that doesn’t matter, I can’t help but think of Debbie and her heart for God.

 I can’t help but think of  flowers on ancient tombstones.

So, this morning, I’m laying flowers on Debbie’s grave through this blog post.

I’m saying, “thank you” to a friend who, in spite of her earthly passing, still teaches me about life today.

I’m remembering her warm kitchen, her full pot of hot tea, and her carefree laugh;

and I’m feeling better after our brief visit.

I feel the peace she always poured so generously.

And I’m thankful.

I want to pour peace today.