Monthly Archives: February 2014

When God Puts a Priest in Your Path…

The blasted alarm blares….Didn’t we just go to sleep???

Still dark, nobody moves….

A not-so-darling diatribe ensues:

“Gotta get up.

Gotta make some eggs.

Gotta iron some shirts.

Gotta get to the doc by 8:45.”

Beat-the-clock:  Round 4,222…

FYI:  Proverbs 31 Woman I am not

Y’all heard me whinin’ recently over our middle son, Gordy, requiring surgery to repair his ACL. (See end of post from When You’re Stunned about your Valentine’s Day Gift…) Surgery successful, therapy begun, Gordy merely had to return ten days post-op to Louisville to get his stitches out.

However, getting ready in the morning, with Gordy still on two crutches, requires extra time and extra, extra, e-x-t-r-a patience.  He’s a good sport.  I’m the Nervous Nellie Mother.  (It was our oldest son, John Jr., who pointed out that only one letter makes a world of difference:  i.e. Mother and Smother….)  Alrighty then.

John and I got Gordy all packed up, car loaded, and off he went for his doctor’s appointment.  Still clad in pj’s, I dashed upstairs to get ready, now realizing I’d be a just a tad tardy meeting him there.

Never mind he got right in and wound up having to wait on me because I had his clothes for work. Stress!!!

More stress: Gordy couldn’t change clothes there as they were cleaning the bathroom and the floor was wet.  Wet floors and crutches don’t mix.

We caravanned over to Thornton’s to fill up his car.  By this time, we were both completely frazzled.

First bright spot:  We spied a Starbucks next door.  We opted to “sit a spell” to detox and restart our morning in a calmer manner.

Starbucks Coffee

Second bright spot:  As we walked in, we noticed a long wooden table, occupied by only one man.  This man looked up the minute we walked in.  It was as if he was waiting for us.

I burst out laughing at God’s goodness.  Don’t you know the one man, sitting at that long table, was none other than our long-time friend,  Father Nick Rice?

When I introduced Gordy, he immediately recognized his name as John and I talk of Father Nick often, always with fondness.  Gordy and I both realized Nick was precisely the sole soul we needed. 

Gordy later said, “How good is the Lord, Mom, to put us with Father Nick?” That made me think of I John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

Father Nick could tell Gordy was still becoming acquainted with his crutches…or from a “fresh” injury.  They chatted while I got us some much-needed caffeine and a lovely, mega blueberry streusel muffin.

Do the math:  Stellar Starbucks, plus killer comfort food, plus a priest, equals some Huge Slice of Heaven.

Homemade Blueberry Muffin

Gordy and I all but threw up all over Father Nick….not physically (now there’s a visual!!!) , but we suddenly found ourselves majorly dumping our days’ woes, hardly coming up for air to breathe…God bless Nick, he was probably questioning his calling at this point.

One of Nick’s many gifts is he’s quickly able to put things into perspective.  Talking us off the ledge, Father Nick showed us God’s love, he effortlessly doled out God’s wisdom, and he equipped us with stamina and strength to restart our day.

All too quickly, it was time for Gordy to drive back to Lexington.  How grateful we are God put a priest in our path.

 In John 1:14 and 16, the Amplified Bible tells us, …”We (actually) saw His glory…For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received (all had a share and we were all supplied with) one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift (heaped) upon gift.”

Present

In her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp says, “That’s the mystery map to the deep seeing!  We saw His glory…because…we have all received one grace after another.  We have all received one grace after another, but we only recognize the glory of God in this moment when we wake to the one grace after another.

One Thousand Gifts

John Piper says, “If you want to be really alert to seeing Jesus’ divine beauty, his glory…then make sure you tune your senses to see his grace.”

 Thankfully, Gordy and I recognized and are forever grateful for this divine appointment.

Friends, be alert, for our God is in the details.

 ‘Til next time!

(This week’s post, oh bet you can guess, is dedicated to Father Nick Rice.  Precious Priest, Dear Friend, and Golfer Extraordinaire.  Thanks for the divine therapy, Father Nick.  Hope to see you again soon!!!)

"Fun photo taken in Phoenix, Arizona, from left to right are: Dear friends Mark and Michelle Wheeler, Father Nick, and Yours Truly with my handsome hubster, John."

Fun photo taken in Phoenix, Arizona, from left to right are: Dear friends Mark and Michelle Wheeler, Father Nick, and Yours Truly with my handsome hubster, John.

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Discover a SURE CURE for Complaining!!! Please Join Us for Our Next Book Club Meeting, Monday, February 24th! We’ll be discussing Joni & Ken—An Untold Love Story

Quick fixes are virtually non-existent.  Clever advertising leads you to believe otherwise.

Take a gander at the number of diet books out there just for starters… Brace yourselves:  perusing thru’ Amazon, I found a  mere eighty-three thousand six hundred and sixty-seven results when I typed in “diet books” found in thirty-two  pages of options.

At recent lunch outings with friends, the two “buzz books” I hear of over and over and over are Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D.  I’ve not looked thru’ this one, but a good friend knows a gal who’s lost a lot of weight from taking the book’s suggestions, and according to my friend, “she looks like a teenager”. (Sounds attractive as I watch new wrinkles form across my face each morning….)

shopping

The other book is: The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman.  Even if you don’t participate in the plan, the book is an excellent resource full of nutritional information, recipes, menu ideas, the importance of Scripture and Bible study, as well as exercise recommendations. Its’ five “F’s” are worth your time:  Faith, Focus, Fitness, Family and Friends.   I have a dear friend who began this regime January first and as of last week had lost eighteen and a half pounds.

Daniel

I’ve decided while I’m reading it, I don’t necessarily have to participate in it, fearing the multiple times I’d already have derailed the dear ole’ Daniel Plan.  Thence justifying the dark chocolate truffle loaf with raspberry sauce we savored during Valentine Week.

Savvy Spokesperson for diets I shall never be….

We know there’s no quick fix or sure cure for dieting, however, having just finished reading Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story. I believe their story is a sure cure to quit complaining.  The next time I pitch a complaint (one of my terrible “talents”), I pray I re-think uttering such.

Joni and Ken

Before we get into the book, and promote the next Book Club Meeting about this book on Monday, February 24th (see details near the end of this post), I’d like you to be informed about Joni being nominated for an Oscar for the song she sings for an upcoming movie “Alone Yet Not Alone”.  Sadly, her nomination was rescinded.  Please visit the link below to see her comments.  You may watch her sing the beautiful song, in the below YouTube, which is a miracle in and of itself given her lung capacity challenges, etc.

Comments from Joni Tada:
http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/oscar-nomination-rescinded/#.UvwZVWjoVo4.email

Now, on to the book!   Joni and Ken is a must-read whether you’re married or not.  To be right there with both of them, thru’ their marriage, their struggles, slapped with adversity beyond anything most of us have endured, is eye-opening.

Can you think of someone you know who’s a chronic complainer?  Nothing is ever just right?  Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh is  a good example of a bad habit.  Being around such downers (or “Basement People” if you recall from the book Balcony People. Click here for my blog post.) is literally a drag.  They simply suck the life out of you.

You won’t find any complaining  in Joni and Ken’s story.  (Questioning God, yes, but they answer their own questions…Another reason to read this book!!!)  Joni and Ken graciously  allow us a sneak peek into doing life as a quadriplegic. Paralyzed from the neck down since 1967, Joni was learning to live life in her wheelchair.  God later orchestrates a meeting between Joni and Ken Tada.  He was a high school history teacher and football coach.  Their unlikely courtship is wonderful to watch.

JoniandKen

But how in the world could Ken possibly learn to care for Joni, watch her live with chronic pain, all the while trying to keep their marriage alive? You’ve got to read this to believe it…

In between their ups and downs, you get to travel with them all over the world.  You feel like you’re in the same van or seated behind them on an airplane.

Trouble keeps lurking, however, and just when you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Joni receives a cancer diagnosis.  Scans.  Chemo’.  Pneumonia  from the chemo’.  How would one possibly cope with that?

Joni and Ken learn to totally, one hundred percent, rely on the Lord.  Their “aha” moment, from gaining strength which could’ve only come from Christ, is a beautiful part of the book.  They never fail to give God the glory.

Regarding her cancer diagnosis, Joni shares a quote from Alan Redpath, a British pastor and author:  “There is no circumstance no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me.  If it has come that far, it has come with great purpose.”  She then told Ken she believed her cancer came with real purpose.

They came to the following conclusion:  “Christians should remember to place their ultimate hope in God Himself, whose love never varies, and who is always trustworthy, always kind, always faithful, and who never misses a single detail.”

Joni firmly believes her battle with cancer was a severe mercy.  Remember the book we talked about a few weeks ago by that title?  Author Sheldon Vanauken believes his relationship with his wife was a severe mercy.  It was his friend, C.S. Lewis, who coined that God-inspired phrase. (See  post on An Extraordinary Love Story…)

9780060688240_p0_v2_s260x420In an interview with Dr. James Dobson in August of 2010, Joni discussed the whole concept of walking with the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5:25 talks about keeping in step with the Spirit.  She said for her, especially during the cancer, it was about taking “those very small steps with Him.”  Every morning Joni would pray, “Lord Jesus, what would please you today?”

Joni also cites encouragement from a wooden plaque in their kitchen with the words of Isaiah 43:2 carved in it: ”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk thru’ the fire, you will not be burned.”

She adds, “The fact is, if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

You can find out about Joni’s ministry by visiting her website:  www.joniandfriends.org

You can find out about Joni’s ministry by visiting her website: http://www.joniandfriends.org

Without giving away anymore about the book, if you live anywhere near Louisville, KY, please come join us for our next Book Club meeting next Monday, February 24th, at Middletown United Methodist Church. Bring a friend!

We meet from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Connections Center.  Please RSVP to Kelly or Nancy at:  (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 www.middletownumc.org

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243
http://www.middletownumc.org

We’ll enjoy discussion on Joni and Ken—An Untold Love Story.  We’ll gain a vast appreciation for the littlest of blessings.  Joni and Ken are so inspirational,  I pray we’ll also glean many of their pearls, plus be cured from any future complaining!!!

Hope to see you on Monday, February 24th!

‘Til next time!

 

 

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When You’re STUNNED about your Valentine’s Day Gift…(A Comical Glimpse of Marriage: The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle)

FLASHBACK:  Valentine’s Day 1993…

“No babysitter for Valentine’s Day???” I whined, coupled with a proficient pout…

“Now honey…” my way-too-practical hubby began…”You know restaurants jack up their prices on Valentine’s Day, and the boys are too little to take out…”

Translation:  “Why don’t you just cook us up somethin’?

Silent thought while heaving an extra loud sigh for future Oscar potential:  “Oh boy, grocery shopping with three boys is such a trip…literally….”

Determined to create fun and education for our Valentine meal, I hunted down ingredients for everything RED:  cherry cool-aid, red spaghetti sauce, cherry jello,  red sprinkles to go on the ice cream with the not-so-red-but-filled-with-a-boatload-of-chocolate brownies.

Spreading out papers for the boys to color, my scary cooking commenced…

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Quickly into our “project”, something was not quite right.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.  Our oldest son, John Jr., was way too excited about helping with his brothers. They were coloring at lightening speed, wanting more and more “Valentines” to make for Daddy.

Dinner pulled together, Hubster now home and seated,  John Jr. and Gordy seated, Woody in his high-chair, and the following proclamation ensued:

“Mommy!  We have a huge surprise for you! Daddy’s gotten a babysitter and everything!”

Visions of an escape to a hotel sans les enfants rolled thru’ my head….

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Fantasy interrupted, my mischievous husband said, “John Jr., why don’t you tell Mommy about her Valentine’s Day gift?”

“Mommy”, John Jr. continued with wildly excited eyes, “Daddy and I got a babysitter for Woody…

so that the four of us can go to…..

…the Truck and Tractor Pull!!!”…

Taken from www.farmmachineryshow.org Photos by Scott Henson

Taken from http://www.farmmachineryshow.org Photos by Scott Henson

“The what?”  I managed to ask…feigning interest…

“THE TRUCK AND TRACTOR PULL!!!” John Jr.  repeated, now standing, voice at high decibels.

Fabulous hotel fantasy comes to a screeching halt.

Pivotal moment in Mother/Wife Career:

Enter a God moment…”You’d better put on a sense of humor while raising these boys, being a Godly, cheery, loving  wife and mom, or you’ll never make it.” (Guessing The Holy Spirit didn’t say “or you’ll never make it”, that’s just my translation.)

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Bidding adieu to my very-sheltered-only-child background, it was time to buck up.  Riding a perpetual roller coaster comes to mind. Nevertheless, I will still praise you, Lord.

That year was a turning point for me.  Ups and downs, yes, but with a sense of humor.  Which segues beautifully into one of the funniest books on marriage I’ve read lately.

Allow me to share snippets of The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life  by Melanie Shankle.

antelope

You’ve probably heard of Melanie.  She’s one in the same who wrote Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn. She reports receiving countless pairs of earrings after the book published.  (There’s an idea!  She said she really wanted her next book to be Louis Vuitton Purse with Matching Wallet!!!  I’m thinkin’ A Caribbean Villa…could be swell.) Check out her way popular blog at www.thebigmamablog.com.

With killer humor, Melanie shares good times and not-so-good ones with her husband, Perry.  Melanie and Perry define opposites attract.  She puts it like this:  “Perry loves the outdoors and I love air-conditioning.”

She says,  “There are days filled with laughter and compromise.  And then there are days filled with silence and anger.  But at the end of it all, you’re two people God has joined to journey through life together

… For  better or for worse.  In hunting season and in health.”

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My  wild-n-adventurous husband, John, used to ride motorcycles.  Shouts of praise he’s not riding anymore.  (At least for today.)  I poked fun at all the “accessories” a bike could have, not to mention the “gear”.  They make that in leather???

But guess what Melanie’s husband’s hobby is?  In addition to hunting, he makes homemade ammunition. You go, Perry.

In addition to humor, Melanie includes the importance of their faith.  She alludes to not following God and making bad choices prior to meeting Perry.

She and Perry met at a Bible study at Texas A &  M.  She said, “There was something about Perry that intrigued me.  He was different from other guys I’d met.  And he had a heart for God I hadn’t seen in many other guys.”

Making a list of husband qualities, Melanie realized, “What you really need is someone you’d want to be in battle next to you, someone who can make you laugh even in the tough times, someone who will encourage you to be the best  you can be…” (Sounds just like our “Balcony People” from a couple of weeks ago.  My friend Trish says her husband looks at her with “husband eyes”.  Same concept.)

Since surgery seems to be in the air at our house (we’ll go there later), I cried from laughing so hard over an incident when Perry had yet another surgery for his back.  After a night in the hospital, Melanie got Perry secured in the car for the drive home.  Spying a Chik-fil-A and craving one of their chicken biscuits, Melanie pulled into the drive-thru’ only to be informed they were no longer serving breakfast.

Seven minutes past the breakfast hour caused her to jump the curb to get out of the drive-thru’ lane.  Never mind Perry was in the passenger seat, barely twenty-four hours post-op from back surgery.  This is only the beginning…

Melanie gets Perry home and situated on the couch, somewhat still sedated.   She reports: “According to Perry, the Clemson Tigers band marched thru’ our living room to dispense his pain medication at some point that afternoon.  Which is weird, because we’re not even Clemson fans, not to mention that South Carolina is a pretty good haul from Texas.  So I took this as an indication that maybe it was time to cut back on the meds just a tad.”

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So for a guy who creates his own ammunition, hearing him suggest they try “radiant barrier paint” one day doesn’t seem so far fetched.  When Melanie asked him what he was talking about, he explained:  “It’s paint that makes a surface heat resistant.  They use it on the space shuttle, and I’m thinking about buyin’ some.”

Melanie replies, “Well, of course you are.  I’ve always said that if it’s good enough for the space shuttle, then it’s good enough for us.” 

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John and I aren’t the only ones having fun with this book!  Guess who else was caught laughing out loud reading this?  Ann Voskamp’s husband!  “The Farmer”, as she often calls him, got side-tracked while paying bills, and read some from The Antelope in the Living Room.  Picture Ann and the Farmer  howling, all the way up in Canada.   Go to: www.aholyexperience.com and see if I’m not tellin’ the truth!!! (See February 8th entry.)

Melanie also sprinkles in a few stories about their daughter, Caroline.  She discusses leaving a legacy for Caroline and her future children.  A prayer she prays continually comes from Deuteronomy 30:6—“that the Lord would circumcise our hearts and the hearts of our descendants so that we will love God with all our heart and with all our souls.”

“That’s the legacy that’s worth working thru’ the hard times to leave for our daughter.”   She adds, “In this world that sometimes treats marriage like it’s a disposable commodity we can throw away when it no longer seems to serve our purposes, a world that whispers to us that the grass might be greener on the other side, that’s something worth keeping in mind…”  Oh, someone please shout hallelujah over that one!  May we press on…

Finally, soak in this visual:  In one particular scenario, Perry offered Melanie some inexplicable kind of grace.  She said,    “…even tho’ I thought I understood what grace looked like, I really had no idea how deep and wide the mercy of Christ is.  That he looks at us when we lay ourselves bare before him, with all our ugly truths and realities, and says, ‘And?’”

“In Psalm 103 we are told that God redeems our lives from the pit.  Verses 11-12 proclaim, ‘As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’”

Melanie adds, “I once heard someone say that those words (of Psalm 103) represent the beams of the cross—reaching all the way up to the heavens with his love and stretching out to remove our sins as far as from where the sun rises to where it sets.”  Grasping the picture???  Beautiful!!!

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I pray you’re encouraged and enlightened by these glimpses of The Antelope in the Living Room.  There’s twenty-four lovely chapters to keep you that way!!!  And don’t forget this Valentine’s week:  Marriage is fueled by fun and forgiveness.

‘Til next time!

P.S.  My allusion to surgery earlier happens this very week.  Our middle son, Gordy, recently started a basketball league at his church in Lexington.  The very first game of the season, Gordy came crashing down on his knee.  Our good buddy, Dr. Scott Kuiper, who I recently wrote about (see “When You Think You May Faint”….) , whose retirement we’re now seemingly funding(!!!), confirmed a torn ACL.  Please pray for Scott and Gordy and for a good, speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, this year’s Valentine’s Day “gift”, will be a rip-roarin’ good time right here at home, welcoming Gordy home from the hospital.  His fiancée, Lauren, will also be with us, so back to the recipe boards we go for a “red” meal.

Love and hugs to my sweet Valentine, John, who like Perry, offers numerous grace cards when they’re highly undeserved.

Thus, a double dedication is in order: to Gordy and Lauren (getting a dose of “in sickness and health” before your wedding!) and to my John.  Love y’all!

engagement photo

P.S. ONE MORE TIME (‘Tis the blog that won’t end….)  IF, you are particularly enamored with Championship Tractor Pulls, THIS IS YOUR LUCKY DAY….They’re in town at Freedom Hall this very week!  2/10-15.  Go to:  www.farmmachineryshow.org and snag a ticket.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Dare We Write it in Cement? (An Extraordinary Love Story: A Severe Mercy—A Story of Faith, Tragedy and Triumph by Sheldon Vanauken)

Have you ever seen anyone staring at a mailbox?  I get that.  I’ve done that.

Four weeks before our wedding, with invitations in hand, all addressed and stamped, I remember I hesitated at the mailbox.  “This is it!  No turning back now!”…

Seconds, seeming like hours, passed.  Deep breath.

Whoosh…into the mailbox they went.

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Thirty years later, I’m pleased to report, John and I are still happily married and yes, we’ve dared to write many things in cement.  Two of our homes, a former one and our current one, have had charming water-in-the-basement issues. Upon their repair, new cement poured, we trek down the stairs to write something prolific or silly in the cement.

basement 1

basement 2

So why is it, please tell me, so many of us are afraid to make a commitment?  Fear of failure, or pride, perhaps.  “Blame it on today’s culture…” many will say.

Allow me to offer a brief respite.  One  into the blissful world of love.  Young love.  Naive love.   Pagan-turned-Christian love.  So completely-certain-of-love, this couple you’ll meet would one hundred percent  have written their names in cement.

All of the above and more is found in an extraordinary love story, A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.  It won the National Book Award as well as the Gold Medallion Award.  (A dear friend gave me this for Christmas and I can’t quit talking about it!!!)

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Along with such bliss, throw in a friendship with none other than infamous author  C.S. Lewis.  You, the reader, will get to read eighteen of Lewis’ letters to Sheldon within the book.  Favorite discovery?  Lewis was quite the crackerjack!  He certainly didn’t fear sharing his brutally honest opinion about anything!  (And for you happy texters out there, Lewis abbreviates a lot, so you’ll have to crack his code.)

How God orchestrates Sheldon’s friendship with Lewis is fascinating.  How God orchestrates Sheldon and Davy’s (her real name was Jean) romance and ultimate marriage is nothing short of breathtaking.

Sheldon’s picturesque writing causes you to ooh and ahh, turning the pages as fast as you can to discover what lies ahead.  I found myself floating along the countryside right with them, almost feeling a breach of privacy in their romance.

Voracious readers, poets, lovers of the sea, and music aficionados, Sheldon and Davy delight the reader with their daily antics.  Their gatherings with friends are festive and intriguing.  Their spiritual path, while comical at times, reinforces how God is so passionate in His pursuit of us.  His painstaking attention to detail never ceases to amaze me.

Our Heavenly Father provides just the right person at just the right time to lead us into His loving arms.  When doubt arises, as it often does,  He brings to mind that special person in whom we may confide.  Watching these scenarios transpire in Sheldon’s life is amazing grace at its’ finest.  Many times Sheldon shares his questions with C.S. Lewis.  Can you imagine having C.S. Lewis as your spiritual mentor?

CS Lewis

Sheldon and C.S. Lewis’ friendship was a gift to both of them, especially in later years.  Believe it or not, both of their wives suffered from terminal illnesses.  They walked these paths together.  Don’t miss their journeys.

C.S. Lewis preceded Sheldon in death.  Sheldon recalls Lewis shouting across the street during their Oxford days, “Christians NEVER say goodbye!  In eternity, there’ll be ‘time enough’!”

Sheldon called C.S. Lewis  “Jack” per Lewis’ pleading.  He added, “And as Jack said, ‘We must talk of a thousand things when you come.’”

Early in their relationship, when Sheldon accepts Christ into his life, he writes to tell Lewis.  Lewis replies, “My prayers are answered!”  Then he issues a warning we’d all be wise to heed:  “There will be a counter attack on you, you know, so don’t be too alarmed when it comes.  The enemy will not see you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you.  Be busy learning to pray. “

Lewis continues, “Blessings on you and a hundred thousand welcomes.  Make use of me in any way you please; and let us pray for each other always.”  (I’d drop the note like a hot potato if C.S. Lewis offered me his council at any time, wouldn’t you?)

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Prior to Sheldon’s conversion, Lewis closes another letter with, “The Holy Spirit is after you.  I doubt if you’ll get away!” Sheldon confesses to us readers that this time in his life “was getting serious” and he and Davy were a bit frightened.  He says, “Alarm bells sounded, but I couldn’t decide where to run.  The personality of Jesus kept emerging from the Gospels with astonishing consistency.”

You’ll be moved to tears witnessing their faith come alive.  Because of Sheldon’s very open and tender depictions, it feels like another breach of privacy.

Sheldon and Davy embraced Philippians 1:21 and Galatians 2:20:

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“For to me, to live is Christ

and to die is gain.”

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I’ve been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Footnote: for an excellent read on To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain checkout Matt Chandler’s newest book…)

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Without giving away anything else, I’ll end with Sheldon’s closing words about writing this book.  He said he prayed almost hourly, “that Christ would be in me, and speak through me.”  His prayers were answered…(Also don’t miss how the title came to be.)

He was dumbfounded by the overwhelming responses from readers once the book was published.   Scores told him how much the book meant to them, literally stabbing them in their hearts, making them kindred spirits.  Sheldon said, “Our broader kinship is, I think, we’re all so alone in what lies deepest in our souls, so unable to find the words and perhaps the courage to speak with unlocked hearts, that we do not know that it is the same with others.”  Amen.

“Robert Louis Stevenson said that every book was intimately a letter to friends.”

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I pray each and every one of you dashes out to find and read this beautiful love story.  It’s February, after all, and this month we’ll discover together a variety of love stories.  Love is in the air!  And chocolate is filling the aisles at the stores!!!

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‘Til next time!

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