Tuesday, October 30, 2012


If we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die. Galatians 2:21

            I sure am glad I sit among sinners every Sunday. Most are redeemed sinners, but sinners nonetheless. We are much like alcoholics on the wagon, don't you think? They call themselves recovering alcoholics. Always an alcoholic. Always a sinner.
            There are times when I think about sin more than other times. It is a valid subject to revisit, methinks. It always points me back to God’s holiness. I grew up believing that there were two categories of sin, mortal and venial. You could get away with the small sins and still be okay with God, but don’t cross the line into the biggies. I accepted this, as I had never read the Bible to see what God actually says about sin. Clearly, that man-created doctrine holds no biblical truth, and sadly, keeps its followers from admitting their sin and asking for forgiveness.
            How clear God makes it in His Word that there are no rankings of sin. James 2:10 tells us that the person who keeps all of God’s laws except one is as guilty as the person who has violated all of them. You steal a pad of paper from work and in God’s eyes, you may as well have committed adultery. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is on the same level as premarital sex. Little white lies? Sin. (There are no exemptions in the Bible for "little" or "white.") Wishing your neighbor's new mini-van was yours? Even when your own van is 16 years old, whistling and rusting out the bottom, coveting is sin. Those judgmental remarks you make about a friend, or that unforgiving, critical spirit toward your spouse? Sin. Allowing money, sports, TV---any number of pursuits---to become "idols" in your life? Sin.
            God says it many different ways in Scripture. SIN IS SIN. Every one of them cuts us off from a relationship with God. He has not handed us a broad definition of righteousness. Wiggle room, there is not. It is staggering to think of how short I fall of God’s commands and instructions blueprinted throughout the Bible. God says the entire human race falls short right along with me (Romans 3:23).
            My understanding of the character of God and what it means to live out a Christian life has evolved over the 30 years I have lived as an evangelical Christian. I have come to know Him through my life circumstances in many different ways; His love, faithfulness, goodness, His still, small voice. The past two years He has revealed Himself to me as Healer. I am always on the learning curve with my Lord. He has always revealed Himself as I have needed something from Him.
            But I think it has been the understanding of God’s holiness that has changed me the most, and it took me years to really digest this reality. It was when I began to comprehend God’s holiness that he slowly revealed to me my own unworthiness (past, present and future) before Him. It was not until I could stand before God and claim my sinfulness that I truly could grasp what an indescribable gift I had been given by a perfect Redeemer. It is that raw unworthiness before a holy God that allows me to understand WHY I badly need a Savior to forgive me and offer me salvation.
            Dick once sang an old spiritual in a men’s quartet. I remember the words to the chorus:                        
     What sins are you talkin’ about?
                        I don’t remember them anymore.
                        In the Book of Life, they’ve all been torn out.
                        I don’t remember them anymore.

            And so I am grateful that my church family is just a bevy of redeemed sinners. Grateful to know that we "Christian folk" can own our sinfulness and still be loved and valued. Grateful to know I have sisters and brothers in Christ who will pray for me if I struggle. And best of all, because of what Jesus has done to save us, I get to hang out with them all for eternity too! In that amazing space where God will tear out every page of our sins.


Thursday, October 25, 2012


I had a phone message from my friend Linda in California the other day being concerned that I wasn't blogging, and was I OK.....

Blogging has taken a low priority as I am climbing out of a really nasty 2 weeks. If the devil has had designs to torment me, and we all know that he lives just to do that, he has been doing a good job trying. Within a week's time, I was beseiged with physical issues that to me have been a direct hit from the enemy. They don't add up in the natural realm. Sudden onset vertigo (while trying on bras in Target, no less.....I wasn't on a Tilt-a-whirl), sudden onset nausea which lasted 5 days, sudden onset bladder infection, another chemo-induced bowel impaction requiring a trip to the ER), sudden onset chest pain that has gotten worse......all within 6 days.

The barage left me wilting emotionally and I spun down into depression, a place that I have been before and a place that I loathe. But it is impossible to talk your way out of it. It is a day-by-day journey. Thankfully each day is better than the one before it.

The dark side is not winning. Satan is not going to keep me from healing, or from praying for the sick, or from a ministry in divine healing. And I am prepared, as the Bible warns, for more attacks as long as I want to do good things for God's glory.

And so, my friends, I am slowing coming around. It will take a bit more time, but this round, I know a Healer God, and His promises do not fail. Whether for cancer or for depression.

I thank you for your prayers that I can endure these gray clouds and rise up to find the sun again.

Monday, October 8, 2012


We had a great weekend. It was Dakota Days here (homecoming for the university) which means the big D-Days parade down Main Street. Only a handful of floats, lots of small town marching bands, and every organization in town represented in some way. The parade is a parent's nightmare and a dentist's dream (read: nearly every child can accumulate a Halloween's worth of thrown candy at the parade). It was a bitterly cold morning, but midwesterners know how to bundle up. There is just somethin' special about a small town parade. This year's lasted over 2 hours. I got a couple good pics of Tom Brokaw and his wife who were the grand marshals of the parade. They are both alumni.



Sam came home for the weekend, and 2 of his best high school friends came home as well, so he not only got some good sleep and home cooked meals, he got to see his buds. You should have seen THEIR collective candy haul!!

The three of us also got to attend a wedding reception for the daughter of our friends, who married out of state this summer and had a local reception here. It was a lovely event and because Tara and her new husband are both Dordt people, Sam met up with a bunch of his friends who attended.




We got to watch the Vikings WIN together on Sunday before Sam headed back to Dordt.



The only mar in the weekend was a big one.....our sewer system backed up and flooded the laundry room and bathroom downstairs. It makes me cringe to think of what may need to be done. Dirt was coming out of the shower drain. As I write this, the plumber is here looking at it. He said that the drought this year (ours is severe in this county) has caused MANY basement back-ups because the roots are going crazy without water. We are holding our breath to see what needs to be done (worst case scenario, having to dig up the whole line to the street).

My right leg is worse all the time; hip and knee pain are just not getting any better with my exercises. I continue to pray that I will have some relief.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I clearly remember the moment I knew I wanted to marry Dick. The subject had never come up between us, and wouldn’t for well over a year, but there was a moment….

We were sitting in front of a waning fire at his house, and I offered to go downstairs to get more wood. He handed me the log carrier and I went to the basement. I filled the carrier and started up the steps. Halfway up, the wood shifted and the entire bundle went crashing down the steps onto his laundry room floor. As I heard his footsteps above me coming to the landing, I was prepared for a sarcastic comment about women hauling wood (and I hate sarcasm).

What I got was a gentle, quiet, “Do you want to try it again?”

I was prepared for cynicism, irritation, or some sort of male claim that HE better perform the task at hand. What I received was understanding and grace. And in that moment I knew that I wanted this man to be the father of my children.

Twenty-nine years ago today, I married that man. And he is every bit the awesome dad to our son that I knew he would be. Even more importantly, he has been a husband full of clear integrity, gentle strength, and daily love, with an amazing servant heart. He has been my rock not just through cancer, but for 29 years.

Ministers allude to “becoming one” during a marriage ceremony, but I don’t know that all marriages are lived out like that. Ours did. There are times that I'm not sure where I end and Dick begins. Despite all of the usual bumps along the way, we melded into one. A strong three-stranded cord of my husband, myself, and God.

We are not big on celebrating anniversaries with expensive gifts, dinners in fancy restaurants or weekend trips away. But every October 1, we are big on thanking God for the blessing of each other. And this year, for the promise of healing that will take us to that 30-year mark next fall.

Happy anniversary, Richie. I love you past the moon and stars, forever.