Saturday, January 29, 2011


When I was young I just loved Easter. I still do, but now, for a very different reason.
When I was a kid, Easter was all about the basket.
Waking up to that very special commercially packaged, woven container was sorta like Christmas. Always a surprise, delectable treats dropped off by a mysterious visitor with long white ears and whiskers. I never did see him, but I was certainly always thankful when I'd wake up on that glorious Sunday morning to find his trademark left behind.

And, the chocolate bunnies!

I love chocolate.

With careful anticipation I would disassemble my securely wrapped gift, always looking first, for the coveted chocolate bunny. There, I would spot him sitting proudly amongst the plastic green grass, tucked behind the less than popular bright yellow peeps and fake jellybeans-- although, the black ones weren't bad. All dressed and ready for his big day, shiny, illustrated foil pressed perfectly to his form, he cheerfully peered through the clear cellophane window of his brightly decorated holiday box that screamed springtime and happiness.

A dozen Easter mornings came and went before I noticed a very important detail of this blessed event.

There were times, in my hasty approach of making acquaintance with this new milk chocolate friend, I would bite into his extended, smooth brown ear, only to discover... ...HOLLOW

I had missed the warning sign.  
The box might as well been labeled "Empty Chocolate".

Those who are easily wooed by chocolate know what I'm talking about.

It's been, I don't know how long, since I've bitten into a chocolate replica of Peter Cottontail and it's been just about that long since Easter-time's infamous furry idol has made a stop at our home. The eggs no longer get colored, hidden or found. (I never did get that...a rabbit that hides eggs?)

Through the years my mind has changed about many things, including Easter, baskets and chocolate bunnies. My mind has also changed regarding Solid vs. Hollow. I still love chocolate but, my love for God is my true worship.

Now, I choose HOLLOW.
Poured out.

The less I have of what I think I want, the more I have of what He gives.

Less discontent.
Less anxiety.
Less impatience.
Less me.

Today, I understand that hollow means more.
Much, much more.
Hollow means richer.
Hollow means sweeter.
Hollow means the best.

I want to be hollow so that I might be filled to overflowing.

More love.
Richer truth.
Sweeter peace.
The better way.

Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is so good? Have you felt the presence of His Spirit as He speaks sweet and powerful words of help and comfort to your starving heart?

How sweet are His words to my taste, sweeter than honey (chocolate) to my mouth.

"And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, [The Comforter, The Encourager, The Counselor] that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17

Okay, yes, I'll admit, in the midst of my grateful heart, was the beat of disappointment.
For I was a SOLID chocolate worshiper.

Solid meant more.
Solid meant richer.
Solid meant better.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Breath-taking joy overcame every nerve in my body.
The gladness of my heart stretched from ear to ear.
I couldn't believe it! I just couldn't believe it!
God had listened to my heart -- He answered my prayer!

It was a filled day already. I left the house at 5:45 a.m. to begin a day of go, go, go! 
Prayer service, carpool, and gym class, followed by 3 hours of yard work and errands left me exhausted, still I had promised in my heart to take my oldest daughter's car to be washed--a surprise for her return from Haiti. I molded into the inviting couch of our den eating a much needed bowl of cereal. I quickly considered dissing the whole, thoughtful-gesture-car-wash-idea; besides, who would know any different? In a more relaxed mode I opened my email and found a fresh update from the Haiti Team. Words of excitement, love and selfless living poured out of it's message. Instantly, I was given a fresh jolt of "just do it" and headed to the carwash.

Sitting in the outdoor lounge, underneath the warm afternoon sun,  I scroll through my inbox, occasionally looking around to "people watch". Out of the blue he appears! Yes! The certain man who walks! My heart begins to race, thoughts rush through my mind; I ignore the voice that says "don't go" and I immediately get up. I cross the strip mall parking lot toward his direction. As I approach him, he looks at me then looks away...I say "Hello" and offer out my hand as I enter his space. And so it begins, His Divine Opportunity.

"My name is Dana" I say, with restrained excitement and a warm smile. He puts out his frail hand and receives my greeting. I tell this man of my story, my prayer, my desire to know who he is. I find myself rambling a bit, whether nervousness, excitement or both, and he looks somewhat hesitant, yet appreciative. If he only knew I wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him, "I love you.".

His name is Shanshi, a native of India, now living with family just right up the street. Shanshi is not tentative to tell me about himself, his living here for 10 years, a citizen for the last two.

He isn't as tall as I once thought, actually he is not tall at all; but thin, oh yes, very thin indeed, due to a long suffering disease known as Graves. In his struggle to maintain what health remains, he walks one hour daily.  I notice this particularly warm day he is wearing 2 sweaters over his feeble frame. I learn that this precious man is a 25 year cancer survivor, Stage 2 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma to be precise. He tells me his Graves is from thyroid replacement therapy, his spleen removed way back when. I share that I am quite familiar with this, that my husband, a survivor too, Stage 2 NHL, no spleen, the whole thing, and now journeys forward in remission from Mantle Cell. His kind heart asks, "How is he doing now?" I am assured by his question our conversation is welcomed.

I ask Shanshi if I can pray for him, for healing, and his family? "Yes", he comfortably replies, "you can pray anytime.",  so I go for it...

"Do you know Jesus?"

He tells me he has a different religion, yet welcomes my prayer upon him. I tell him it is Jesus that has healed my husband, many miracles He had shown us last year.

In bridled joy I lay my hand gently upon his bony and fragile shoulder, with closed eyes, I begin to talk to God, in Jesus' Name, for Shanshi.

As I withdrew my hand a part of me stayed with him,  a love sincere, put there by God.
I assured Shanshi I will be praying for him and then closed with "If you hear a honk and see someone waving at you, that's me! ". "That's nice", he gently replied with what I believe was a smile in his heart.

Breath-taking joy overcame every nerve in my body!
God answered my prayer!
Suddenly, I realized deep within my heart, 

God had answered a prayer for Jesus too.

My new prayer is for Shanshi to be healed of his debilitating fate of Graves, but more so than that, I pray for his heart, his mind, and his soul.

Spiritual healing is my prayer for the "certain man who walks".

"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.". 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"I Wonder if he Knows Jesus"

I know of a certain man who often walks the streets of a neighborhood nearby.

This certain man, a curious fellow really, equally tall as he is thin, unhurriedly gaits the dependable concrete path set before him. His constant white, long-sleeve dress shirt and dark trousers cause me to estimate the nature of his character to be that of an "old school" gentleman. I'm guessing he is well into his years, although we've yet to meet. A pair of sturdy rimmed glasses frame a placid, reserved countenance; his complexion, a rich brown, from seemingly long sunny strolls and a foreign descent. He carries with him as he walks, just one simple thing-- an expression of poised solitude, in his eyes and his step.

He walks always,

I am intrigued by the presence of this certain man, I find I now anticipate seeing this gentle landmark. Daily, I drive my usual route, and sometimes more than twice, with hopes to encounter "the man who walks" and possibly catch his eye.

I have tucked away within my heart a special new prayer today.
It's rather odd, yes, some might think, to desire this chance to touch lives with a stranger,  His divine opportunity.

I want to meet him, this certain man who walks for no other reason but to share a great love.
I want an exchange of smile, maybe a handshake and a name;
I want to know where he's going, perhaps which way he came.
I wonder if he gets tired or thirsty on hot afternoons,
I wonder if he has family at home or is he alone most of his days.

I wonder if he knows he is deeply loved, I wonder if he's ever been told,
That another certain man died for him, the god-man who shed sinless blood.
I wonder if he knows Jesus,
I wonder if he is free,
I wonder if he knows true salvation,
his sin paid for on a tree.

I want to tell him Christ lives today,
That He is risen from the dead;
I want to tell him he is deeply loved
By the Maker of woman and man.

I want to meet this certain man, for a glory with which is not mine,
My heart is to introduce him to the gift of divine love,
The Light, the Bread, the Vine.

"For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being
saved and among those who are perishing;" 2 Corinthians 2:15

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"GOD IS JUDGE" is my Name

I've been told that I am not enough.

Not fast enough.
Not smart enough.
Not skinny enough.

Not good enough.

Rejection settled deep within my bones and decayed my self confidence.

In desperate acts to be good enough,

I've spent myself
And starved myself.
I've sacrificed myself half to death.

All to be "enough".

I've been told I am too much.

Too harsh.
Too weak.
Too bold.

Too much.

Son of God was crucified for being too much.

Too righteous.
Too truthful.

Too holy.
Too god-like.

Truth called out the idolater, the hypocrite, the adulteress, and the Vipers.

Love sought out transgressors; with His blood, paid every man's debt.

Just as well, the
Son of God has been told He is not enough.

Not tolerant enough.
Not cool enough.
Not fair enough.
Not flashy enough.

As a depraved world of withering bones craves to be fed, it desperately grapples for temporal remedies.  All to perpetuate delusive feedings, the darkness of deception and death set in. The whole in it's heart is forsaken.

Empty passions,
Selfish ambitions,
Worldly pleasures,
Tormenting addictions

All imitate opulence to the lost and hurting soul.

I am not enough and I am too much.

I am OK with this.

Because of this very thing: the One who has begun a good work in me will continue unto completion.

For the
Son of God is my bounty, my advocate, and Redeemer.

He is my passion and my comfort.
He is my God, 

He is my Lord, Jesus Christ.

He is my judge.

He is more than enough.

Is He enough for you?

"God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 4:21-24

GOD IS JUDGE: "For man looks outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Dusty, empty containers come out of the garage once again to put Christmas away.

I dread this part.

Nevertheless, the monotonous work begins.

I carefully take down each festive bauble, trying to fit Christmas back into it's box.  
In this bland commission, my solemn heart senses the novelty of the season dissipate into a new year.

Next, as I mull over every precious photo card and heartfelt greeting, I see God's reflection of love for my family and me. To tuck these away, not just for a year, but for always, seems odd to do. Smiling
faces and joyous salutations put away in a dark cabinet, or for some--in the trash, reminds me of my own flawed heart. I think of old friends, long forgotten ones too. Relationships put away for awhile; sometimes never to be brought out again.

It occurs to me how easy it is to put Jesus away. To disregard His living presence seems appalling, yet so recurrent. Along with the inanimate carvings of angelic Nativity scenes, left over ribbon and shiny, gold wrap, the Spirit of Christmas, known more commonly as a day,  is carefully and orderly packed away.

This year will be different. 

This year I plan to keep the Christmas lights up. 

Brilliant and pure, burning bright in night's sky, I love the radiant drapery adorning the exterior of our home. This reminds me of Jesus. 

The light in the darkness, 
The bright morning star, 
The root of David,
The light of the world.

This year will be different.

This year I choose to purposefully not put Christmas away.

The Savior may have been born in a dusty, empty stall, but, He is far from fitting into any box.

Choose light.  Choose life.

"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."  Daniel 12:3, 2 Corinthians 4:6

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Does it Take to Humble a Man?

The fear of losing everything is not enough to bring a man to his knees. 
Fear is inadequate. Overrated and misunderstood, fear provokes pride. Inner pride in dark, secret places. Pride that demands my right. It may not reveal it's bitter reflection at first, but, in sunless chambers, incubation can't help but produce it's defensive refuge of preservation.

Fear promotes false protection and deceptive strength. 

Who am I, really, but a vapor, protecting myself and my rights? This is a seriously ridiculous flaw in my thinking. When I examine the Scriptures I undoubtedly discover God's holy omniscience. He is EL ROI, "The God who sees".  The One who so mercifully gives me breath, the One who sustains all life. The God who sees ALL things. Yet, the first and shortest question asked of man by God is this: "Ayeka?" "Where are you?"  Oh, the penetrating brilliance of our Creator's rhetorical words, to cleverly shine light upon the inner strife of man's guilty shame and nakedness. Nevertheless, my thoughts focus on the one who hides. His name is Fear. Fear's need to hide is insistent and unyielding.

God surely giveth and He taketh away. If I lose all things, by the Sovereign hand of my Author and Perfecter, who is it I contend with? Is it God Almighty? 
No. It is my flesh.

I love me. And regardless the degree I may despise this or that in and of myself, I can't help but think of me. 
What I need. 
What I want. 
What I deserve.
To fear the loss of self is a most devastating concept. To die willingly is most unnatural, fighting against man's innate desire of self-preservation. As I fear losing my rights, my life, I find myself gripping tighter still, holding onto all I know as comfortable, self-serving and obedient to my will.

What does it take to humble a man?

Fear is no match to pride.

The answer is love.

Sincere, devout, sacrificial love.
Reverent love.
A love that knows no fear.
A love so strong and selfless, willing to face the cost of all loss
with hands freely open, arms stretched wide.

Within the convoluted layers of my heart, the Spirit of Truth, in meekness and severe honesty, exposes precisely what I deserve.


O LORD, May I be given Your divine grace to die to self, so that LOVE may live.

"Whoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting."  -Lk. 17:33, Ps. 139:23-24