Monthly Archives: July 2012

Walk. Run. Soar

“There will be days when you soar and days when you run. But most days, you’ll walk.”

Good thing, I thought. I tried to take up my husband’s favorite hobby, but no, running is not for my knees or me. When he runs in races, I am in the cheering section, and from there I marvel at the diversity among the running sort. Have you ever witnessed a 5 or 10K? There are racers of all ages, body types, and facial expressions. Even those who don’t look the part are pounding the pavement, finish line in sight. Almost always, I think “If that person can run, I can run.” But then reality returns, and I remain the person whose bumper sticker proclaims “0.0”.

And, when I think of soaring, humanly speaking, I picture gravity-defying sports like hang gliding or paragliding. In my world, gravity is good. My only experience that remotely resembles soaring would be ziplining at children’s camp. Which reminds me of the fourth-grade girl on the line next to mine who boldly leapt off the perch while I urged someone to push me off and get it over with. Her victorious voice sailed across the sky with her tiny frame: “I’m beating yoouuuuu…..”

Yes, I am sensible and cautious. Ugh. I long to be adventurous and carefree. A seize-the-day type of girl whose mantra is “Carpe Diem” rather than “Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.”

Thankfully, the person who told me that most days would entail walking rather than running or soaring meant this in the spiritual sense. He was my trusted mentor and shepherd. Upon my graduation from seminary, Pastor Rosser presented me with a wall plaque that pictured a majestic eagle soaring over the mountain peaks.

Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

I greatly miss Pastor Rosser. At his memorial service, words were spoken of the “good race” that he ran and finished well. Surely Pastor Rosser soared in the power of the Spirit, ran in pursuit of the lost, and walked in daily obedience to His Savior.

“There will be days when you soar and days when you run. But most days, you’ll walk.”

Now that I am well past the peak experience of graduation, I understand the daily-ness of walking. Of course I long to soar upon His strength and run with His perseverance, but most days I focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Time spent in the Word. Prayer. Small steps of relationship-building. Loving my family. Serving my church family. Laundry.

All of these steps (even laundry!) are essential to the trust in the Lord that renews and fuels the soaring, empowers the running, and enables the walking. As we applaud athletes as they soar and run, we understand that their accomplishments involve many, many years of skill building and practice. Not every day offers the opportunity to revel in the roar of the crowd or stand atop a podium. But every day offers a chance to step closer to the goal.

… my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

A straight path

What I remember most from the conversation was the skepticism in his voice.

“I think you’ll find in the years to come that your dream will change.”

What? I half-smiled and nodded respectfully but surely my eyes couldn’t hide my inner indignation. Who was he to know what God would do in my life 5 – 10 – years from now? It was MY dream, not my professor’s.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5 – 6

I had just poured out to my professor the passion that had brought me to seminary. It was a giant leap of faith, but I felt called and eager. God had done a beautiful thing in my life, and He wanted me to share it with women facing fear and shame. Women who were struggling with eating disorders, as I had for years before God opened the door for me to work with a Christian counselor. Through Christian counseling God delivered me from anorexia, and surely I thought this was the next step – to study Christian counseling in seminary and share the healing. But here was a man with years of counseling and ministry experience behind him telling me that he expected a different plan to unfold.

Irritably I left his office wondering why in the world would he confuse and deflate me like that?

Fast-forward nine (yes, nine) years.

“A nursing home? My next internship position will be in a nursing home?”

It didn’t make sense. I hadn’t applied to a counseling internship at a nursing home. Yes, I had applied to a very large healthcare system that included nursing homes, but surely I wouldn’t be placed there, I reasoned. Wouldn’t it make more sense to do something more in line with my calling? Internship positions were hard to come by, however, and eventually I accepted the offer with the thought that I just should graduate and then get on the right ministry path.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5 – 6

The room was warm, and she was covered in blankets from head to toe, lying on the small bed of the last room she would ever occupy on this earth. Her hand, with its almost-transparent skin, touched mine. She whispered, “I really like to hear Proverbs 3: 5 and 6.” “Again?”I wondered. Every day that I had visited Mrs. Smith (her real name) in the nursing home, she wanted me to read Proverbs 3: 5 – 6. And now she lay dying, and I thought that I should read something in keeping with hope or heaven. But I read “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight,” and she nodded and smiled peacefully. God was leading her straight into the hope of heaven.

I thought about my professor everyday, I think, while I worked in the nursing home. He was right, I had to admit it. God had given me new dreams. Dreams that included moments like those I shared with Mrs. Smith. All along I had thought that God making my paths straight meant me progressing from point A to point B to point C in neat, timely fashion to my appointed destination. But my seminary journey turned out to be far from an undeviating progression, with all its delays and surprises.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5 – 6

So, “straight,” in God’s eyes, must look different than my linear perspective. Let’s look at another use of the word “straight” in Scripture:
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in” (Psalm 107: 6 – 7).

According to the Reformation Study Bible, “a straight way” is the opposite of what God’s people had been doing; that is, wandering in the wilderness. When the Israelites finally stopped leaning on their own understanding and followed in faith, God led them to the land of promise.

My passion remains walking alongside women who are suffering fear and shame. But God has expanded and developed that passion in unexpected, sometimes uncomfortable, ways. But I find myself in a land of promise. Promise of His presence, His guidance, His greatest good. If I had realized that day talking with my professor that God would give me a heart for the sick and aged, I would have thought that surely I had wandered off course somewhere. However, I can look back now and say that He has lead me all the way.

In his commentary on Proverbs 3, Matthew Henry spoke of verses 5 and 6:
“Those who know themselves cannot but find their own understanding to be a broken reed, which, if they lean to, will certainly fail them. In all our conduct we must be confident of God’s wisdom, power, and goodness, and therefore must follow Providence and not force it. That often proves best which was least our own doing.”

How are you trusting Him today?

A “blank page”

I’ve wanted to venture into blogging for some time now, but yikes, it’s overwhelming! First, trying to set up a blog for a non-techie like me is truly daunting. And then, how do bloggers always come up with something to say? Something that draws the reader into their interesting or inspiring worlds?

At a conference this weekend for Christian writers and speakers, I was encouraged by the truth that every one of us has a story. I don’t know if my story will be that interesting or inspiring, but it is uniquely mine. Or, shall I say it is HIS? My part in HIS-story is my unique place to tell of what God has done in my life. It’s like a tapestry with an interweaving of themes that might show up in your life too. These themes are the threads of loss, pain, struggle, failure, joy, hope, and redemption. My blog will tell you where I’ve been, but more importantly, I want you to see where I’m going, because God has promised me (and you) a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I imagine there will be days in this blogging adventure when the blank page (“Add New Post”) stares back at me. There lies the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to tap the keys! Someone that I greatly admire once told me that her prayer each morning is that the day will be a blank page upon which God writes His will for His glory.

So, hear it is, Lord. May every blank page be an offering, for Your will and Your glory. Amen.

“You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3


Welcome to dimly~burning! I am so thankful that you’ve stopped by. This is my new experience with blogging, so I am a little overwhelmed :) But God wants His Christ-followers to share Him, so I hope and pray that this blog gives you a glimpse into the wonderful ways that I’ve experienced His redeeming love and faithfulness! Dimly~burning is just a honest title that conveys to my readers that my faith has, at times, been very faint. But as God promised in Isaiah 42:3, He has sustained and believed in me! He has blown fresh grace into the flame, and when I shine, it’s all for Him!