My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Linking up with Lisa Jo today for Five Minute Friday...The prompt is "VIEW."

     I got new glasses this past week. And as much as I NEED my synthetic eyes, the whole process gets me in a nervous tizzy. I hate it. I'm absolutely by no definition a "fashionista." I don't know what looks good. I look at the the mirror and no matter what frames I pick, my view is hindered by the face behind the frames--all my flaws. I get lost in all the choices--everything looks stupid. I need another point of view. The optical tech helps me choose frames that fit my face and lenses that benefit me the most. I just have to trust she knows what she's doing.
     Finally, my new glasses are ready to be picked up. I don't sport new looks with anticipation but rather in dread of the comments and repeated question, "Did you get new glasses?" And wondering what they think. Do the glasses look okay or do they look stupid? No, I'm not normally so vain and I really don't know what it is about my glasses that gets me so uptight. I certainly don't wear them for fashion's sake--I wear them for sight. I can't see without them.
     The gentleman smiles and hands my new glasses to me. As I put them on, he tilts his head, takes them off, adjusts them and puts them back on my face. "There! What do you think?" 
     And this time I look beyond the mirror, out the window to the trees outside and the signs across the street. And I can see them. . . clearly! I can see the definition of the leaves on the trees and every word on the signs. My long-time furrowed brow begins to relax. I didn't even realize how hard I've been straining to see! In a moment, with my new lenses, my view has changed. What a difference new lenses can make! Why did I wait so long?
    I can't help but think what a difference Jesus makes when my view gets blurry and distorted in my circumstance...when my heart and head aches because I'm straining so hard to see life clearly. Why do I wait so long before I let Him put on my new lenses to give me new sight? In a moment, life comes into focus, senses sharpen, stress and worry fades. Life is defined and beautiful again.  

Five Minute Friday

Saturday, May 4, 2013


     I sat at the dinner table with 5 other women I had never met before. We exchanged names, where we were from, and a few facts about ourselves. Then one of the ladies asked, "Who did you come with?" 
     "No one. I came by myself."
     "Wow. you're brave! You flew all by yourself from Texas?! You didn't know anybody? I could never...." (We were in Nebraska.)   
    I wasn't quite sure how to answer that. Of all that I considered brave that weekend, this wasn't it. It's easy for me to do things on my own. I am a chronic "do-it-myselfer." If I'm doing it alone, I don't have to worry so much about looking the fool if I trip over my own feet or get lost or... Well, you get the idea. I'm much more comfortable doing most things on my own than with others.
     What WAS brave (for me) was being in a place with one hundred other women and NOT being in a leadership role taking care of everyone else. To risk sharing part of my story with women I don't know and allow them to encourage me, to actually join in conversations and participate in activities without finding something to keep my hands busy or someone to take care of is brave. Taking care of my "hard stuff" alone is wayyyy easier, even as I lead ministry. In many ways that's not so brave either because I'm in control (most of the time.) I'm not vulnerable then--I'm the strong one taking care of everyone else. But just being in community and being vulnerable is brave. 
     Today, I witnessed brave in every sense. I received a phone call, "Sheri, I need to be honest..." Someone who had pulled away from community realized she needed help. For several weeks, I knew she was pulling away but I couldn't draw her back in. It's so much easier to hide away as our own stinkin' thinkin' tells us that we aren't good enough or worth enough to be in community. Then we fall. My heart broke for this one with tears streaming, drowning in shame. But I remember the day I finally said, ""I need help." It was the hardest thing I've ever done--fighting the battle against my own thoughts and self-worth. Today, my dear friend has no reason to be ashamed. Today, she decided to be part of a "triple-braided cord," as she lets others stand back to back fighting together with her. Today, she is the bravest woman I know.

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back  and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."  -  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

(I'm linking up with Lisa Jo's Five-Minute Friday, a few minutes late... Taking her topic and just writing for 5 minutes without edits or overthinking. That's pretty brave for me too!!!)

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, May 2, 2013



We walked through the door into the quiet room, noticing that the rollaway had been put away. Oh, heart dropped. Then I glance toward his hospital bed. She lay with him in the bed, face to face, her fingers sweetly intertwined with his--both of them peacefully asleep. His Beloved so thin and weary in the waiting, and him just a shell of the man I once knew. My heart broke and words wouldn't even come in a whisper for the knot in my throat. We wished we could just silently back out of the room and leave them in the tenderness of their gentle rest. It was such a rare and unforgettable portrait of how precious even a few still moments of togetherness can be. Few of us will know such a tender sweet love as they have...still. This is how it's supposed to be--maybe not perfect but so real-life TRUE. 
     My heart catches every time I walk through that hospice room door, praying that he has entered into his joyful forever home and, at the same time, dreading that his journey has ended and his bed may finally be empty. Today we stepped into the intimacy of this poignant cameo, and both of us wished we hadn't disturbed it. But her eyes fluttered open and she began to rise, still clinging tightly to his hand. 
     "No, don't get up. Go ahead and sleep. We will come back." But she says, "No, I WANT to visit." My heart wrenched for her. I know all too well about these endless, waiting days in a hospice room. She NEEDS community as she hovers between losing him and living life alone. Maybe in this very moment, God made us to be a lifeline for his Beloved whose mountains are crumbling, so we stay...

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble,
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..."  -  Psalm 46:1-2

     I wish we could take away her hurting but, even so, I know that it's just part of knowing a love like this. The kind of love Jesus had for His bride, the church. "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church..." But, knowing our humanness, maybe Paul wasn't talking about loving perfectly as human eyes see. Maybe he was talking about loving wholeheartedly, completely, and even eternally, with everything we are. And Frank has. Jesus knows. And his Beloved knows... It's the kind of love that transcends finite thinking and, like the opal, gleams warmer and brighter in its flaws because of grace. Knowing Frank, I'm sure he would echo to her that famous Jack Nicholson line, "You make me wanna be a better man," and he would mean it.
     As we prayed over him before leaving, I couldn't help but flip through memories of my talks with Frank, especially our random divine appointments at Harbor Freight, about town, or in his hospital room. How often he told me that he wished God would let him go because he was useless and a burden. I remember how often I would remind him of God's promise:

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." - Jeremiah 29:11 The Message

     "You're still here so God still has a purpose for you. He ain't done yet!" And we would laugh. Then he would tell me stories of his swap meets and young people he met. Everyone loves his stories--I understood how a young car/bike junkie would love hanging out with Frank! He would tell them what a rabblerouser he was and how God gave him grace. I remember so well how he told me there in Harbor Freight about the young man who asked him to tell him more about Jesus. He didn't know if he did it right, but Frank led him to the Lord. "See, Frank. Where would that young man be without you? God DOES have a purpose for you."
     And even today when we saw them so lovingly together, both of us who entered that room were touched by the love they have. I don't think either of us will forget it. And the Beloved--well, she cherishes every second she can hold his hand. All I could say out loud was "Bye Frank," but I whispered without words, "See Frank. God STILL has a purpose..." Still, God has not abandoned. Still, God has plans to give you the future you hope for..." I think he heard me. If he could, he would nod his head with that little grin he has, knowing it's still true for him and for his Beloved.