Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Okay to Cry

In much wisdom there is much grief,
and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.
Ecclesiastes 1:18

They were born alive, squirming, whimpering, gasping for breath. As they lay fighting for life on the filthy table, an employee took a pair of scissors and snipped their spinal cords. In some cases, the infant was nearly decapitated. 

The recent reports of the horrific conditions at an abortion clinic run by Kermit Gosnell turn my stomach. I can't even think of what those children and their mothers endured. It unleashes a mourning within me that threatens to rise to the surface and spill over into heartbroken grief. It makes me want to wail.

I always wonder why I feel like I have to keep it controlled, why I have to think about something else. It's so much easier to look away than it is to have the pain and responsibility of knowing the truth.

The Bible tells us God is all-knowing and all-powerful. If He knows everything, then He sees not only every act of faith and courage that happens on earth, but every act of evil and injustice, as well. How His heart must break! How much pain He must bear! Because He has reserved judgment until all have had a chance to accept His gift of forgiveness, He restrains His great power and waits.

He waits for us.

It's our responsibility to know what is happening in our world, and how it relates to God's Word. But it's not enough to understand. As we increase in knowledge and wisdom, it's time for action

In Christ alone lies hope for a weary world. It's our job to be His hands and feet and heart. There are people dying without hope today. If we have Christ's heart, we will weep with Him. If we are His feet, we will go to those who are dying and lonely and distressed. If we are His hands, we will reach out to give and comfort. others. If we have His eyes, we will not look away from suffering. 

If we have His voice, we will speak the truth.

The next time bad news comes on the tv. it's our call to action, whether it's to pray or to move or to give. It's okay to cry. Just don't look away. 

Is it hard for you to hear bad news on the airwaves? How do you deal with the heartache you see around you? What is God calling you to do? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Photo courtesy Erik Thorson 2013

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, 
nor angels,
nor principalities, 
nor things present, 
nor things to come,
nor powers, 
nor height,
 nor depth, 
nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Famed evangelist Billy Graham tells the story of an English missionary who died in India during the early 1900's. Immediately his former neighbors broke into his home and pillaged it, stealing the man's possessions. The English consul was notified, and an official went to investigate.

The missionary did not have a lock on his door, so it could not be secured. The official simply pasted a piece of paper across it and affixed the seal of England on it. After that, there was no more looting. No one dared to break the seal because it represented what was at the time the world's most powerful nation.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth,
the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, 
you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
who is given as a pledge of our inheritance,
with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, 
to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14

In the East, a seal was more important than a signature. The signet used to imprint a seal usually sat in a ring inscribed with words or symbols and reflected an office of importance. It was usually used with clay, because of its permanence. Wax was used, too, but was not as desirable because it was prone to melt in the hot sun. Clay hardened over time. In order to break the seal, the clay itself would have to be broken.

In the Bible a seal represented both security and ownership. An official seal was used to hold Daniel in the lions' den, and the seal of Rome kept anyone from tampering with the tomb of Jesus under pain of death. In the book of Esther we discover the Persian king who ruled over Israel was unable to revoke his own decree, because it was sealed it with his official signet ring.

Ancient Ephesus was a port city and carried on an extensive trade in lumber. A purchase was made by selecting the timber, stamping it with a signet or other sign of ownership. When the buyer was ready for the lumber, he would send an agent with the signet to locate and claim all the wood with his seal on them.

Remember now, that You have made me as clay.
Job 10:9

If you have bowed your knee to Jesus Christ, the imprint of God is on your heart. You are sealed by the authority of the Lord on high. You are under His protection, and the power of all Heaven stands behind His mark. He is sealed in you. He can't leave without breaking the clay and His promise to never leave you forsaken. 

You may feel fragile, weak, and ready to break. The heat you're feeling, however, will just harden the seal of the Master on your life. Nothing in this creation, nothing in your future, and nothing in your past can destroy you. The power of God is unbreakable, because He will never revoke His own decree.

You are, quite literally, possessed by Christ. Be comforted, for the full power of the Lord is behind His mark on you. You are safe. You are His. You are treasured.

You are unbreakable.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay 
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tribute to a Stepmother

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson 2013
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
"Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all."
Proverbs 31:28-29 

When she heard our son Kevin was in a Canadian hospital with a broken neck, she fell weeping to the floor. She begged God to spare his life. She cared for his little sister and did the family chores while we were with Kevin, first in Canada and then in the Spokane rehab hospital.

She visited him whenever possible in the hospital. She learned with rest of us how to care for a person with a devastating spinal cord injury to give the family respite when he came back home.

It didn't matter she had only known us for three years when Kevin broke his neck. She was as devastated and devoted as if she had known us forever.

Juanita is my stepmother, and she was sent straight from God to be our new mom, grandma, sister, and friend. She married my dad after my mother died from complications of a series of strokes. She started out as "Grandma Juanita" to our children. That was too much of a mouthful for my nephew, who was just a little guy at the time. He shortened it to "Gramita," and the name stuck.

She never tried to take Mom's place. Instead, she made her own place in our hearts. She gave us space to remember Mom without displaying jealousy. She graciously accepted our family traditions and helped us create new ones incorporating her rich Mexican heritage. Because of her, I now know how to make tamales with corn husks and fry up our own taco shells with masa flour.

"Gramita" with great-granddaughter Rebekah in 1997

She is a loyal wife, a faithful mom to her own two children, a loving stepmother to my brother and me, an adoring grandma to her grandchildren on both sides of the family, and a generous great-grandma. She is an auntie many times over. She is tender and giving. She is one of hardest working people I have ever seen.

Since my father became pastor of the Leland Pioneer Community Church in historic Leland, Idaho, Juanita has been a tireless supporter. She serves their community beside my father and lives to tell others about the Savior who redeemed her and set her free. Her love for Jesus is both inspiring and contagious.

In honor of this week's tribute to Moms everywhere, I salute Juanita and the stepmothers like her who take on a whole new family - baggage and all - with grace and love.Yours is a difficult and often thankless job.

Every time you swallowed down a retort, listened to the same family stories all over again of the years that never included you, took flowers with your husband to his first wife's grave, put aside your holiday traditions to accommodate your new family's schedule, and generally accepted the people your husband loves, be assured we noticed. Your sacrifices have made us love you all the more.

You are appreciated and adored. Thanks for being you. May God reward you in the measure of devotion you have shown us, overflowing with blessing.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Toilet Cleaning and the Perfect Storm

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson copyright 2013
Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27

Last week was stressful, to put it mildly. I had a manuscript to get back to an editor. My new computer, the one I bought because I was afraid my faithful old Dell would kick the bucket any time, chose last week to fail me.

Every spring we have the annual re-certification time for our certified family home, which involves extra paperwork and things like having our water and fire extinguishers tested. As a young mom, I used to tease that if I didn't get the house cleaned soon, the health department was going to shut us down. Now we do get inspected by the state. Getting shut down is a real possibility now if I don't keep the toilets clean.

At the first of every month, I inventory Kevin's medical supplies, make out a new order, get it to the medical supply company, and put the supplies away after they arrive. I also have to set up new monthly charts because I keep daily charts of the care I supply at our home. Every month we also test the smoke detectors and change out equipment. All this, and toilet cleaning, too.

Last week was the perfect storm. All this was brewing, and I had to get sick. 


Several nights ago, I was tossing and turning in bed in my misery when I heard my husband and youngest son chatting downstairs. I dragged myself down to the living room. "I can't do this," I whimpered. "Could you guys pray for me?"

They did. It was awesome. 

I didn't feel any better, but God's peace enveloped me and I was able to sleep. The next morning I was on the mend.

Erik Thorson/2013
Today the world looks brighter. The manuscript made it to the editor. The computer is under warranty and is on its way to the manufacturer. The certified family home paperwork is coming together. New supplies will be here tomorrow.

Best of all, I am reminded how close we are every day to the source of peace and comfort. I wasted a lot of emotional energy before simply asking for prayer and giving everything over to God once again. Jesus warned us not to "let" our hearts be troubled or fearful, implying we have the power to keep it from happening. We have more control over our happiness than we think we do. Living in a state of peace has nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with what we allow to shake us.

When we're in over our heads and trouble has already been let out of the gate, we can turn to others for the support we need. We're not meant to do this alone. We're in it together.

Are you troubled today? What do you do when peace can't be found? Do you have a trusted friend or family member who will faithfully pray for you? 

If you need prayer, send me a comment in the comment section. It will not be published or made public in any way.  I will pray for you.