Oct 22 2012


The twindlers are so tired, they fight sleep. Luke sits up in the bed wailing, his brother Ben, next to him, smiles at me, eager for anything that will distract him from napping.

Luke knows by now that when I come into the room that nap time is far from over. He wails louder as I gently encourage him to lie back down. He hides his face in the pillow. After a moment his wails become loud rhythmic whimpers. Ben takes the cue and lies down again, burrowing under the covers.

Then I pat Luke on the back and start to sing.

Almighty Three, our protection be

Encircling we, you are around

Our life, our home, our protection be

O Sacred Three, Almighty Three

I’ve been singing this song to them since they were born, over and over, its low minor tones wooing them to rest. It’s called The Caim, a protection prayer that I heard sung years ago by the group Watch the Sky. Over and over, the song repeats, weaving together breath and word and voice, until eyes droop and fighting sleep seems too much effort.

Maybe its just that I’m novel. I’m not their mom or dad. Maybe by the time I go in, they are so tired that the song is just the last nudge they need. Or maybe this prayer for God’s encircling is not just a lullaby but something so much more. God loves the least and smallest, the weary and weeping. The wails of tired babes are heard, and prayers for their rest are answered.

Luke finally stops whimpering. His breath slows and he drops off to sleep.

We don’t outgrow our need to be wooed to rest. We don’t outgrow our need to know that the Almighty One encircles us. We don’t outgrow our need for a lullaby.

The God of the universe sings over us, too. Every day, every moment.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

The past weeks have been full to overflowing.  I find myself weary, even in the midst of incredible joy, eyes drooping, yearning to trust the Lord’s encircling presence.

As I sing to Luke and Ben, I allow myself to breathe deep and rest.


Counting gratitudes today:

850. Not one but two jobs. After two years of searching, I’m now on staff at my church, managing communications. And in January, I will start teaching a freshman course, Christian Formation, at Seattle Pacific University.

851. My church called a new senior pastor yesterday. What an amazing morning of worship and prayer and excitement.

852. Quiet mornings

853. Leaves bright and golden, blanketing the ground.

854. Morning carpool and conversation.

855. Tea and biscuits after a long day.

856. Drawing a tree with my favorite Jane.

857. Rereading LeGuin’s Earthsea books, swooning over the language. Remembering my dad reading them to me as child, now looking forward to sharing them with my students.

858. My church community.

859. Delighted hugs from little ones.

Oct 19 2012

Friday Florilegium

By Death We Live

“As dying and behold we live” (2 Cor. 6:9).

I had a bed of asters last summer, that reached clear across my garden in the country. Oh, how gaily they bloomed. They were planted late. On the sides were yet fresh blossoming flowers, while the tops had gone to seed. Early frosts came, and I found one day that that long line of radiant beauty was seared, and I said, “Ah! the season is too much for them; they have perished”; and I bade them farewell.

I disliked to go and look at the bed, it looked so like a graveyard of flowers. But, four or five weeks ago one of my men called my attention to the fact that along the whole line of that bed there were asters coming up in the greatest abundance; and I looked, and behold, for every plant that I thought the winter had destroyed there were fifty plants that it had planted. What did those frosts and surly winds do?

They caught my flowers, they slew them, they cast them to the ground, they trod with snowy feet upon them, and they said, leaving their work, “This is the end of you.”

And the next spring there were for every root, fifty witnesses to rise up and say, “By death we live.”

And as it is in the floral tribe, so it is in God’s kingdom. By death came everlasting life. By crucifixion and the sepulcher came the throne and the palace of the Eternal God. By overthrow came victory.

~Lettie Cowman (1870-1960), missionary and Streams in the Desert editor and writer. (When Streams was first published, it was not expected to sell more than 3000 copies. It is now considered one of the best loved Christian devotionals of all time.)



Oct 5 2012

Friday Florilegium

I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. –Jeremiah 29:11

The crosses which we make for ourselves by a restless anxiety as to the future, are not crosses which come from God. We show want of faith in Him by our false wisdom, wishing to forestall His arrangements, and struggling to supplement His Providence by our own providence.

The future is not yet ours; perhaps it never will be. If it comes, it may come wholly different from what we have foreseen. Let us shut our eyes, then, to that which God hides from us, and keeps in reserve in the treasures of His deep counsels. Let us worship without seeing…let us abide in peace. — Francois Fénelon (1651-1715), Catholic archbishop and poet

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