The Moment that Changes Everything.

Cancer, Chemo, Encouragement, General Thoughts

“Mom. Let’s sing a song.”

19 years old and asking to sing a song with me on a Saturday in the middle of August. For a few years this lovely girl had lost some of her personal voice – her song. I battled cancer and she had battled me battling cancer. Yes. Let’s sing.

“Sure! What song do you want to sing?” We laughed. Started and stopped about 500 (ok,30) times. Finally made it through her song – How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – on a sunny Saturday afternoon in August.

August begins my favorite season.

27 years ago this month I went to South America for a year after high school to work and travel. My mother put me on a plane with a ticket my brother helped purchase to make the adventure happen. I had totaled his car when a drunk driver hit me a few weeks earlier. He sent me to South America. (That’s not really why. But the connection just dawned on me…)

26 years ago this month I started Bible college because of one conversation.

“So, are you excited about classes beginning?” My youth pastor and his wife waited for my answer. I had registered to study Spanish and Journalism at the local university in the Fall.

“No. I’m not.” We were sitting on a dock on a hot July day full of sunshine and water skiing. I never did figure out how to get up on top of the water on skis. And then the question that changed everything.

“Have you ever thought about taking a year and studying Bible? There’s this little school in Binghamton….”

I went home and asked my mother a question that changed everything.

“Mom, what would you and dad think if I went to Bible college for a year?” She lifted the iron from the board piled with laundry and paused mid-air. Completely surprised. A small smile on her face.

“I … think that would be just … fine.”

22 years ago this month… this week… our oldest daughter was born. A moment that changed everything.

Two weeks ago, this month, our younger daughter asked another question. One that will probably change everything.

“Mom, what do you and Dad think I should do this fall?”

Her father told her what he thought. She listened. I smiled a little grin.

“I agree with your dad,” I said.

My daughter’s not taking a plane to South America. But she’s singing a new song. And I can’t wait to hear it.

Have you lost your song? Has one conversation changed everything? Maybe you can’t believe it will ever be for good, if you’re facing a hard challenge? Has the song of someone who loves you been silenced by the the question you have to answer?  You will finally make it through. Maybe not in the way you hope; maybe not unscathed, or without loss. But your hope can be secure if you will trust God – the mighty God who will save and who sings over us with joy.

The moment you trust Him changes everything.

zephaniah 3 verses 16 to 18 God is mighty to save God sings over you God rejoices over you


Sharp Silence. Hidden Gifts.

General Thoughts


It’s Saturday morning. So naturally, like you, I’m sipping on coffee and thinking about sorrow.

Wait. What?

Tom and I walked in the woods the other day. It was bitter cold. Snow crunched under our feet and the air burned our lungs. It was perfect. There was a sharp silence all around. We ventured off the path and cut up through the woods exploring new avenues between the old, black trees. Winter’s work had removed the overgrowth. New paths for travel were sparklingly clear. We had to work a little harder to move from the trusted trail. I learned if I put my feet exactly where Tom stepped ahead of me I did not slip as much. He did the hard work and I only needed to follow. I was so intent on keeping up with him I almost missed it.

“Look!” he said.

Tom stopped and pointed past my right shoulder. I turned to see a doe. She was watching us from a clearing just past the edge of the woods on high alert, poised to run. A flash of brown behind her jumped into the next batch of trees, a fawn taking flight. The doe took a tentative step away while keeping her head toward us. Then we saw another flash, this time of white. An albino fawn was there for a moment longer, and then all three deer were gone.

“Have you ever seen one of those before?” I asked Tom. I wanted the white deer with brown spots to come back.

“Not up close like that,” he said.

We stared for a minute more and then turned to make our way back onto the path and towards home. It was a lovely diversion. You don’t see the hidden gifts unless you step into the woods where they dwell.

Facing cancer today or another serious illness? Then you know all about diversions. And they’re not always lovely. There are no imprints on the hard path showing you where and how to land safely. The silence of anticipation turns into a raging storm of emotions and tests and surgeries and treatment. Then it gets silent again as you try to heal and recover and step into your new normal. Maybe you’re dealing with a return of cancer. Sorrow walks with you for a time. And time again.


Don’t you think it should get easier? Doesn’t it take your breath away when it gets harder?

Rest for a minute before you push forward today. Lift up your weary head to look around the woods. Life is joyfully teeming under frozen soil. God is working, creating life, healing brokenness all around you. In you. He’s preparing you for something good. Some purpose only you can fulfill in His plan. Trust Him. Call out to Him. He’ll lead you safely through deep woods on your walk with sorrow.

Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord:Lord, save me!” Psalm 116:2-4

Have you cried out to God in distress during illness? How has He answered your prayer? Maybe share a comment here? You might leave an imprint for someone else in the woods to follow.