This post was not written by me.  I copied it from Marie's blog--A MINIATURE CLAY POT--because I wish I had thought to write something like this, and because even if I had thought of it, I could not have worded it any better than she did.

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(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

"So, you still believe in a merciful God?"  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.


Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.

In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.

Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil.

I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or  fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there.

Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? If anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught.

He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil.  It’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act.  Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness.

We have not yet slept, so the girls and I are overtired and a bit emotional.  But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness.   I love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine:

Up to this point I haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. Then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, I know your heart and I’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise. 

Though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What  can mere man  do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

God is always good.

Man is not.

Don’t get the two confused.

We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

If you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. Somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do.

Pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. Pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways.

As for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness.

Still grateful for this wonderful life,



"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,
as some count slackness, but is longsuffering
toward us, not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance."
(2 Peter 3:9)

The contents of this post have been mulling around in my head ever since the unexpected super derecho that blew through a few weeks ago, causing so much damage.  It made me think of how much we tend to take for granted, and how we are never promised tomorrow--or even the next moment, for that matter.

I couldn't stop thinking about the story of Noah, who was obedient to build an ark even though he had never even seen rain.  People taunted him, made fun of him, called him a crazy old man, until the very day God shut Noah and everyone/thing with him safely in the ark.  Then the windows of heaven opened up to let the floodwaters pour out, and those same people perished, as did everything else on the earth.

Why I didn't sit down and write the post then and there I'm not sure.  Maybe there was more to mull over?

Two nights ago we were hit by another big storm, and although it was nothing like the derecho, and caused no damage, it did share the derecho's unexpectedness.  Only hours earlier I had gone out to dump my trash, and noted how blue the sky was, and how the oppressive heat and humidity we'd been experiencing the last several days seemed a lot less intense.

Surprised by the storm, I sat on my bed watching the lights flicker and praying they would not go out.  Again, I thought about Noah, but this time I also remembered something said about those days in the New Testament, in Matthew 24, which chapter starts out describing the signs of the end times -- "Take heed that no one deceives you ... you will hear of wars and rumors of wars ... nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places ... you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake ... many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another ... false prophets will rise up and deceive many ... lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

I kept reading, and found what I was looking for in verses 36-39 -- "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."

Just as the ark, in Noah's day, seemed foolish to the masses about to perish, so even today, "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Cor. 1:18a).  It is written: "'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent,' ... For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believed" (1 Cor. 1:19-21)

Dear reader, if you are one of many who thinks you still have time to think things over before making a decision, please take to heart the verse at the very beginning of this post.  Don't put it off any longer, or it may be too late.  Be prepared, so you are not left behind.



"Be still and know that I am God."
(Psalm 146:100)

The last few weeks have been so full of challenges, it's been difficult not to worry about the outcome, and yet that still small voice within, which I have come to recognize as the prompting of the Holy Spirit, keeps exhorting me not to project.  The Lord sees my needs and the circumstances that overwhelm me, and He is in control  (Matthew 6:25-34).  Things look quite different from His perspective than they do from mine.

Instead of focusing on my stressors, I need to be willing to turn them over to Him and trust Him to work things out (Psalm 55:22).  He does not need my help.  When I try to rush things along or take back control, I only get in the way.  God's timing may not be my timing, but it's always the best timing. He's the only one who can see the whole picture.  My vision is very limited.

So what can I do in the meanwhile?  I can learn to be patient, and to focus on my many blessings, both past and present.  I can focus on all the ways the Lord has been faithful to come through for me, and rejoice and be glad.  I can thank Him and praise Him for who He is, and what He has done.  The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Lord, help me to be patient and to wait with the faith and trust of an expectant child, joyfully anticipating the blessing to come.



Oh the things I've learned about myself this week as the Lord tested me on the subjects of mercy and grace.

It was not a fun test at all and started with what felt like an unexpected punch below the belt that sent me reeling, delivered by a couple of folks I trusted.  Then came another one from someone I thought was my friend, and I'm ashamed to say that instead of keeping my cool, I had a bit of a pity party/meltdown combo over the phone with her instead.

I was feeling wronged, betrayed, angry, taken advantage of, and very much like a bop bag that keeps getting knocked down and popping up again.  And then the Lord topped it all off by speaking a mild rebuke to my heart, "Why are you looking at your circumstances instead of putting your trust in me?"

So I went to my prayer group and asked for prayer that the Lord would give me wisdom and guidance as to what steps I should take next to right the wrong.  As it turned out, I did not need to make that decision.  When I returned home I had a message from one of the three people I had e-mailed to confirm whether what had been done had been ethical or not, and she told me to sit tight and do nothing because she and her husband were going to fight the battle for me.

And that's when the real test started, and when, as I waited to hear the outcome, all sorts of tapes started playing in my head.  I was shocked to discover that what I really wanted, above all, was vengeance, punishment for the wrongdoer, for them to feel guilty and remorseful about what they had done, to ask for forgiveness. Then I would be more than willing to forgive them.

BZZZZZZZZZZ--wrong answer!

Remember the tortured Jesus hanging on a cross to redeem us from our sins?  At any moment He could have called down legions of angels to save Him (Matthew 26:53), but instead, His love for us held Him to that Cross, and He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34)  His forgiveness was not conditional.  After I pondered that for a while, my own wound started to heal, and my anger to dissipate.

I was expecting the final decision to be passed down from someone higher up, but last night, that someone higher up called me and gave me the option of making that final decision.  Surprisingly, I was able to offer grace.

Granted, it was God's grace--not my own--because my flesh was still not in total accord, but as I was sitting here tonight writing this post, two friends stopped by bearing a peace offering from one of the offending parties, and I suddenly realized I no longer felt wronged.  In fact, my whole perspective seemed to have changed.  Now, for the life of me, I can't figure out why I had gotten so upset about something so relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  Funny how that works.

I'm guessing another layer has just bit the dust!