Sunday, December 30, 2012


At the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers/Photo copyright Erik Thorson 2012

That's what momma always says. 
She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. 
Just give hope a chance to float up. 
-Birdee Pruitt 
"Hope Floats"

The bling of Christmas 2012 will soon be gone. That is, it will as soon as I get out the boxes and reverse last month's decorating binge. Next week, a bloated culture will begin the grind through another gray January. The treadmills will come out for a few weeks, and a host of promises will briefly but hopefully bathe the new year in a rosy tint.

For many of this world's inhabitants, there is no rosy tint to the coming year. Heartache and suffering are on a rampage unrivaled in history. The icy jaws of uncertainty have the infant year in its grip already as we brace for a collision as America's ship of state falters.

Fear has been uncaged as the nations stand at the brink of uncharted waters.

Thank God we have been freed from fear. Thank God we have a Captain who knows the way. Because we have such a great Controller of all things, we "exult in hope of the glory of God."

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint.
Romans 5:2-5

Because no matter what Birdee's momma always said, God's Word tells us that the ending will be awesome. He has promised a future so bright, the sufferings of this world won't even compare. Not even a little.

No matter what the new year brings, we know that to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Our ending has been secured for us, and it's going to be glorious.

We have no idea what is coming in 2013. But we can rest assured that our hope in Him will float. If we cling to Him, we will come safely through every storm. The path is only uncharted for us. He knows the way.

He still calms the waves.

Call to Me
and I will answer you,
and I will tell you great and mighty things,
which you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Heart of a Child

But Jesus said,
"Let the children alone, and do not hinder them
from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven 
belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14

We started celebrating Christmas early the year we learned that our eldest daughter and her family were coming from Minnesota for the holidays. We got excited when we thought about the fun we were going to have together, and it just grew from there.

Long before Thanksgiving, we were planning and buying gifts. Christmas decorating mingled with - and finally preempted - the turkey and fall colors. It created a bi-polar as the subdued hues of harvest succumbed to the manic noise of jingle bells. Competing Christmas songs blared from opposite sides of the house. We watched nearly every Christmas video we could get our hands on - sometimes twice.

We may have been a touch over-zealous. But we have had our share of heartache in recent years, and it felt good to have something to celebrate. We packed the glare of a decade of lost Christmases into one joyous clamor.

But that Christmas ended as every one has for me - with a sigh. Each year, I pack Christmas away with the feeling that I'm packing away a little bit of myself. It's the child in me, the one who never grew too old to believe in miracles.

Grown-up sorrows have buried the wide-eyed and trusting little girl who lay awake most the night listening for sleigh bells. I've forgotten how to bounce out of bed before first light to race breathlessly to the tree. I miss running in bare feet on cold floors, eating guiltless plates of cookies with milk, playing outside in the snow too long, and not knowing that homemade egg nog could make me sick.

I especially miss believing that the golden glow of the season was real.

Somewhere along the way, the child in me got trampled, starved, and seriously lost, too sad to dream or let hope out to play.

Somewhere along the way, a tired cynicism replaced the wonder.

Somewhere between faith and futility, the child grew into an old woman.

That won't do anymore. This year, I opened my present early. I unwrapped the fragile heart-shaped box of my soul, and there she was, a tiny little babe born in the stinking barn of this world.

Oh, those trusting eyes! See how she reaches for her Father! What a gift from God!

I think I'll name her Joy.

Oh holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
-Be born in us today.
-Phillips Brooks (1835-1903)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Time to Be Silent

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson copyright 2012
  Ecclesiastes 3
 There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven-

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
It's ten o'clock at night. All my chores are done for the day, I've just left a writer's group meeting, and I'm enjoying some last-minute Christmas shopping. The store lights are dazzling; Christmas fills my senses as I stroll down the aisles. The holiday stress melts away, and I'm swallowed up in the sights and sounds of the holiday. Joy surges and threatens to overflow.

A time to mourn and a time to dance;
My shopping is finished for now. My favorite Christian CD blares in the Jeep as I head out on the long drive toward home. I'm caught up in its anointed message of hope and do a little head banging as an external release to the dance my spirit is doing. 

The city streets are quiet. The darkness deepens as I leave the streetlights behind. As I pass the city park, the ghostly outline of a flag at half-mast brings me back to the awful reality of the last week. 

Innocence killed. Courage revealed. A nation broken.

Again I weep.

A time to be silent and a time to speak
We are a nation living on raw emotion. Fear and grief have gripped America. Little children and people who were just doing their jobs have been brutally murdered. Their families are living through a hell that no one should have to endure.

This is the time to let them grieve in peace. Let's resist the urge to editorialize and jump into the fray with our opinions. This is not the time to seek to advance our own agendas at the expense of the suffering. No one is interested in why we think this happened or what we should do to solve it.

When our son nearly died from a devastating spinal cord injury, our lives were shattered. We experienced every emotion imaginable; we asked God a myriad questions. Especially, we asked "Why?" 

Most people were unbelievably kind and supportive to us. But there were a few that took it upon themselves to "instruct" us as to why this could have happened. They felt compelled to "fix" us. Their actions and words caused us much pain at a time we were very vulnerable. We were so heartbroken, what we needed were strong arms around us to hold us up and a shoulder upon which to weep.

Answers would come much later.

The tragedy in Connecticut has gained a worldwide audience. The temptation to use it to bolster or defend our worldviews is strong. But I urge you to hold your peace. Save the political and philosophical debates for another day, and let your words simply be those of comfort. A hurting town needs our love and compassion. 


Answers and perspective will come later.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. 

Below is a link to a blogpost that I found especially appropriate for this time. Just click on the link

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Have No Fear

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson copyright 2012

Tuesday I was invited to share from an author's perspective on my book Song in the Night with the members of a local book club. The members read the book during the month of November and brought their questions and comments to me in an informal get-together at the Juliaetta library.

I was delighted to share with them and touched by their insightful questions and comments. As some of them their shared their own stories, I was humbled by their quiet strength and deep faith. As always, I felt I received more than I gave.

This is why I love writing.

Many thanks to the Juliaetta book club and library for their warm hospitality!

The last few weeks have reminded that we live in intense times. This has reached me deeply on a personal level as I have watched the suffering of those I love.

As we celebrate the coming of the Deliverer, join me at CMADDICT.COM for this Wednesday's devotional Slightly Obsessed: Have No Fear.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Promised One

Ignacio Falls  Photo courtesy Erik Thorson copyright 2012
Lying on the border of the neighboring states of Brazil and Argentina,  Ignacio Falls is comprised of 275 breathtaking falls spreading over a nearly two-mile area of the Parana Plateau. In 2011 it was declared to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The force of the water breaking as it plunges into the river canyon below produces a mist rising between 100 and 490 feet at the famed Devil's Throat. When the light is right, a ethereal rainbow crowns the falls.

I've never been to Ignacio Falls, but my son, daughter, and son-in-law have, so I've been privileged to hear about it secondhand and see the pictures. The falls themselves are spectacular, but I'm always drawn to the haunting rainbow produced by the water's savagery.

It is that forceful plunge to the depths that intrigues me, how the river throws itself over the edge with such abandon.

The breaking is beautiful.

This is the season we celebrate the coming of the Promised One, the Deliverer for whom generations prayed and waited. We watch again with amazement as the Word becomes the Christ, pouring Himself out from heaven to descend to the lowest places of our existence.

In trust He abandoned Himself to the power of the Father from whom all life flows. He allowed his life to break into a glorious flood of blessing for us. His sacrifice was crowned with the radiance of a myriad angels singing praises to His name. 

Feel the force of the river of life pulling you in unknown territory? Is God calling you into deeper faith? Are the fearsome rocks of self-sacrifice looming ahead?

Take the plunge. Leap with abandon into His promises. Crown the Savior with your trust.