Because He Loved First

Because He First Loved Us
Because He First Loved Us

My Psalm

Like a child standing on tip-toe,

unable to reach the light switch,

like a girl groping cellar walls,

unable to find the stairs

I waited in the dark.

The drone of traffic in the streets

in rising and lowering songless pitch

neared my heart

then passed me by,

hope deferred yet once again.


I cried, “Oh God! Where are you?”

Pouring my effort into limp flowers

potted in desiccated soil

I watched as hope seeped through again and again

staining the white tablecloth beneath.


“I can never be good enough,” I whimpered.

But you,




said, “Come.”

You placed your strong arms under mine

and lifted me up.

You tossed me high

into the sunlight

and caught me with your grace

stronger than any fear of failure.

You held me in your lap wide as a green orchard

and fed me words from your mouth.


Abba, you are my light in the hall.

Papa, you are hope like the door left ajar.

Father, I hear you in the kitchen preparing a feast for me.

You are my strength, my light, my hope, my joy.

I love you.

(re-blog from April 2, 2012)

Find Me!

Come and Find Me!
Come and Find Me!

My little grandson loves to play hide-and-seek, but he hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet. Little Mighty Man runs around my feet chanting, “Find me, Nana! Find me! I hide.”

He then makes as much noise as he can opening and closing the bedroom closet door, or shoving the potty across the floor so he can stand behind the door in the bathroom, or sneaks behind the curtains -in plain view. Sometimes I’ll call out “Little Mighty Man! Where are you? Oh, dear, I can find him!” and he will immediately drop a tiny little hint. “I’m in the closet!”

Nothing is worse than a game of hide-and-seek when the seeker is distracted by a phone call and isn’t actively looking. We want to be found.

Sometimes, when God has me in a dross-burning season in my life, I think it would be nice to just slip away for a while. “Flee as a bird,’ the psalmist said. I argue that the cost of removing contaminated, moldy ideas from my mind is too much. That which was supposed to be a simple renovation in my heart has resulted in tearing down walls and lifting flooring that has served me quite well thus far. (Well, good enough.) I just want to escape from the confusion and hide for a while.

But I’m hiding with my feet sticking out. Please look for me, Abba. Please laugh and pick me up and hug me when you lift the curtain.

You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

 I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
 If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

(Psalm 139:5-12, 12-18)


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

(Ephesians 2:9 & Psalm 139:14-18)

And Peace will Guard your Hearts and Minds

sunset 11

Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times.

Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord.

 Don’t worry over anything whatever;

tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer,

and the peace of God which transcends human understanding,

will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.

 Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God,

fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good.

(Philippians 4:4-7)

sunset 10

Which Way?

Winter Forest
Winter Forest

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

 Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

(Proverbs 3:5-8)


More than Words

Though I Walk Through the Valley
Creation Waits

She sang to us. She really did.

That first day, as we settled into our new desks, Miss Cheney sang “Getting to Know You.” The other grade four kids snickered, and I probably went along, but this teacher fascinated me. That was the day I met the woman who taught me the survival skills I would need in a confusing world where any display of emotion was castigated as an annoying weakness at best or punishable disloyalty at worst.

She was a little over the top, our Miss Cheney. She wore pretty flower-pink lipstick and wide swinging skirts and colourful scarves over soft low-cut sweaters that managed to just graze our strict principal’s nerves. She taught us arithmetic with music, poetry with music and gym with music.

Dahlia -detail

I was the kind of kid who tended to disappear in a classroom. My parents once went to a parent/teacher interview with a teacher who insisted I wasn’t in his class. I was. My main coping skill up to that point was knowing how not to make an impression. But Miss Cheney noticed.

She noticed I was sad. She noticed I could sing. She never asked me to tell her why I was sad. Perhaps she knew I couldn’t. Instead she took me aside and explained to me that when it wasn’t safe to cry or tell people how I felt because they would be angry or disappointed, I could take my sadness and put it in a song and people would say it was beautiful.

She taught me “Come Unto Him” from the Messiah. She taught me “I Wonder As I Wander”  and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” She taught me “Whispering Hope.”

People said it was beautiful. Then they cried. I no longer needed to.

I learned music was a safe place for sorrow, for joy, for anger — for all the tumultuous emotions that later pummeled me in adolescence.

I learned music was a safe way to express my prayers when I had no words.

Someone mentioned recently that when people quote the famous verse in Romans 8, “All things work together for good…,” it is usually quoted without the previous verses.

“Go back and check them out,” they said, “It may change how you understand that verse.”

This is The Message paraphrase by Eugene Peterson:

“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:22-28)

I  know deep in my heart there is more than this. Not all communication with Abba Father needs to be in words. (Neither English nor any other spoken tongues are his first language.) When we groan in pain beyond words he intercedes, translating our sighs into even deeper expressions of longing. We work together for good. Together we pray for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This is what Miss Cheney was trying to tell me, and the day when I could sing Rachmaninoff’s wordless Vocalise, lost in prayer,  I knew she had been a messenger of grace in my life

God bless you, dear Miss Cheney, wherever you are.

I no longer have the voice I once had, (I now use art and photography to try to say what I cannot) but this song still expresses the unexpressable in my heart. In this recording Anna Moffo sings the Rachmaninoff Vocalise No. 14.

I Will Fear No Evil
Though I Walk Through the Valley