Temporary Grief

A couple of weeks ago Doug and I flew down to California to see and say goodbye to our friend and my co-nana Diane Garaway. She had been diagnosed with cancer last October, shortly after a visit here to see Nate and Heather and her grandkids. She scheduled many of her visits around our conferences, so this last visit she had set up her booktable at the Grace Agenda Conference. Over those few days she wasn’t feeling very good, but she spent many hours on her feet, always with a smile, chatting with folks about the many beautiful C.S. Lewis and Tolkien first editions spread out on her booktable. She had quite a collection.
We first met Bill and Diane in 2000, while they were here for our Credenda History Conference. We had them to our home for dessert with some other visitors, little knowing what a significant part of our family they would soon become. Nate met Heather a few months later, and they were married in March of 2001.
Over the next thirteen years, Bill and Diane visited Idaho many times to see their loved ones, and they were always at our Sabbath table when they were in town. They became Nana G and Papa G to all our grandchildren, not just the Wilsons.
Diane made many friends here in Moscow, and we welcomed her into our fellowship and community. When she was in town, she spent her days at her daughter’s home, filling Heather’s freezer with quiche and enchiladas and Passover chicken. She would spend hours reading to the kids or playing chess (endlessly!) with them. She and Bill would take the kids out to breakfast or down to the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. They always tried to make it for Grandparents’ Day at Continue reading ‘Temporary Grief’

Here She Comes!

A friend shared this Spurgeon quote with me today, and it is quite applicable for us as we wait for our sister Diane Garaway’s departure from this earth. Her daughter, my daughter-in-law Heather, sits at her bedside with other family members as she finishes her well-run race.

“I’m standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She’s an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come down to mingle with each other. And then I hear someone at my side saying, ‘There, she’s gone.’

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘There, she’s gone,’ there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, ‘Here she comes!’

And that is dying.”

Troubled Hearts

If we think about all the fretting we can allow ourselves to do, and when we hold our tendency to do this up next to the promises of God, it is surprising that we are not cured of worry forever. We should be. Everything about our lives is under His good design and care. He is preparing good things for us. REALLY good things.

Consider what Jesus told His disciples right after He  identified Judas as His betrayer and predicted that His friend Peter would deny Him three times. All the disciples must have been worried about what was coming. It was in that troubled moment that Jesus turned to comfort His confused disciples.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know” (John 14:1-4).

Jesus is preparing a place for each one of us, a mansion in fact. Even now, He is getting ready to receive us. This struck me particularly recently when a friend of mine was telling me about her new house. She did not think that a house so perfect for her very specific needs existed in our small town. When she and her husband met with the owners, they found out that the owners had meticulously planned this house, built it and lived in it for seven years before selling. The owner said something like, “It turns out, we built this house for you!” And they did, even though they did not know it at the time.

God is not only preparing things for us in this life, but He is also preparing us for eternity and eternity for us. We sometimes worry about what we are going to do at the next stage of life, but God is preparing it all for us right now. When we walk by faith, we believe that God is preparing for us. This is the best kind of comfort in all kinds of trials. Jesus knew His disciples were worried at His coming death. He comforted them that He was not leaving them, but going to get a place ready for them. And He promised to come back for them, and for us.

Where will we be in seven years or in seventy years? Someone, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,  is preparing a place for us, especially and specifically for us. This is why we can comfort our hearts and rest in contentment and peace, even when our lives are full of troubles.


On Everyday Joy.

Painted in WaterlogueOccasionally when someone who is holding their first tiny baby tells me that they read my book I can’t help telling  them not to judge me. I remember so clearly when motherhood was a new thing to me and I seriously could not understand a mom getting frustrated. I was still just eating the appetizers of frazzled, and tired, and emotionally expended. I knew the feeling of being touched too much, but had not accounted for that same nursing around the clock feeling being accompanied by a people trying to brush your hair, children climbing on your back, children leaning on you and whispering into your ear, or just general disobedience in the line of sight. I really truly had no idea how much deeper that pool would go. Cold ankles is one thing, but when it gets up to your stomach and knocks the wind out of you is another.

Some people feel this at two kids, or three. Four was the magic number for me, since with the twins I never experienced three. Anyways, if this is where you are, or even if you are past that now here is a short list of things that I found to be helpful in maintaining joy as you slog. Continue reading ‘On Everyday Joy.’

When You Were Nothing

2011-10-29 14.31.03The other day my husband said into the  rear view mirror, “We love you guys so much!” and Chloe piped up from the back to say, “We know that, Dad. We’ve known that since we were nothing.”

Of course today is Mother’s Day in the US and I’ve been thinking about those women who loved me when I was nothing. My own mother, who loved me before she knew me. Her mother, who loved her when she was nothing, and loved me when I was nothing too. My Dad’s mom, who loved us when we were nothing, and my Great grandmothers who somehow found the  capacity to love so many of us when we were still nothing.  Continue reading ‘When You Were Nothing’

Late Night Accusations


If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and use that time to listen to a little self-condemnation, this is a post for you. Now you mothers of young children are probably awakened in the middle of the night often, but you are so exhausted that you fall back asleep first chance. So maybe you don’t have time to lie awake and think about what a bad person you are. Nevertheless, you still might want to read this, just in case this happens in the future.
This is how it goes. You either can’t get to sleep right away, or you wake up in the night, and while you are trying to get to sleep, you are prompted to think about what a bad: daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, sister, or Christian you are.
This is a supreme waste of time for two reasons (besides the fact that it’s robbing you of much needed sleep). The first is because even if you confess your nebulous “sin” of being a bad daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, sister or Christian, the guilt does not go away. It stays. And the more you reflect on it, the more tangled up you become, and the more you confess, and the worse it gets. So it is totally unproductive. A truly productive time of reflection ends in repentance and forgiveness, relief and gratitude. This however, ends with you feeling rotten. If you have ever read The Pilgrim’s Progress, this is the Slough of Despond.

Continue reading ‘Late Night Accusations’