Author Archives: Gerry

Close to his Heart

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart…

Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

Some days are crisp and focused. Some days slide by in a blur. The latter describes life around here the past few weeks. I’ve seen too many EMT’s at the door late at night, the inside of an emergency room, and the waiting room of the doctor’s office much too often.

You don’t plan for months like this. In fact, plans that were on the books had to be changed and rearranged. Anxiety hits, hypervigiliance takes over, sleep becomes elusive, appetite lessens, and daily life becomes the undaily life.

I know that “new” normals appear throughout our lives. Marriage, new baby, new house, new city, new job but the older I get, unexpected changes of health and ordinary living seem harder to accept as the new normal.

Yet, the sweet part of it all is the closeness I’ve found at the heart of Jesus. That verse, “Pray without ceasing” now has meaning. I know that He is in control and if I turn the hard things over to Him, He will give me peace. Anxiety and stress indicates that I’m trying to do it on my own rather than dropping the burden at Jesus’ feet and leaving it there.

I often repeat the 23rd Psalm to myself in those night hours as I lean into my Shepherd, knowing I have everything I need. After a particularly stressful day, I climbed into bed and as I lay there, I pictured Jesus cradling me in His arms. I fell asleep at peace and slept through the night.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I do know (from experience) that He will be there to get me through it. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 but the words “plans to give you hope and a future” leaped out. Of course, hope, but this time “a future” blazed its way into my soul. There is more than this hard time, there is a future.

“I will take care of you.”




The Next Thriller

The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.

Genesis 39:23b (NLT)

I love to read and one of my favorite fiction genres is action/thrillers. The story of Joseph in Genesis captures my imagination in a similar way. The twists and turns of the plot keep me glued to the story wondering what is going to happen next between the good guys and the bad guys. Typically, the bad guys are unknown to the hero but in this story, they are his brothers. Jealousy, vindictiveness, deceit, and cover-up define their actions as we watch them sell Joseph into slavery, ship him off to a foreign country, and lie to their father.

Joseph ends up in Egypt, his problems exacerbate, and he lands in jail. What could be a worse fate? And to top it off, his family and fellow prisoners think he is weird because he can interpret dreams. I’m sure this chain of events was not on Joseph’s “to-do” list.

However, the story does not end with doubt but with promise. Joseph trusted God and even when his future looked bleak, his good work habits, industriousness, and loyalty brought him positive attention. Eventually, even Pharaoh was impressed with the young man and his abilities and appointed him as second in command over all the land of Egypt. Without that authority, when a severe famine hit, he would not have been able to provide food for the whole earth, including all of his family in Israel. God does not make mistakes.

At times, we may question what is going on around us. Life is not fair. It’s too hard. I didn’t sign up for this. We question what God is doing but we can’t even see around a corner let alone months into the future.

God alone is the master of our destiny and all He asks is for us to trust Him. Joseph did not expect fame, nor did he seek it. But God placed him in a position of power for His honor and glory. What is God’s story for you? How is He preparing you for the next step?

Pay attention. Your story may be the next best seller in God’s story of faith.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20






Missing Character

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

As a techno babe, friends call me when they have issues with their iPhones. The latest call came after my neighbor purchased the new iPhone 8. She is techno-challenged and I tease her that she has the most expensive paper weight because she uses it for so few things. But the main thing she needed was access to her second email account. This is not a difficult problem to solve and I was sure we could get it done quickly. But the first thing you need is your Apple password.

There are many ways to store passwords. Depending on your sophistication, it can be an app or a piece of paper. She had the paper. No matter how many different ways we entered the password as written, we kept getting the error message and to reset it was going to be very complicated. Our time and patience wore out so we decided to try another day.

I stopped by this week to try again and she mentioned that she had talked to her daughter to check on that password. The one we had been trying was correct except that it was supposed to have a # at the end. That single character had stopped us from accomplishing our goal but when added, it was a piece of cake.

Access to eternal life is much like that single missing character because without Christ, the error message pops up over and over. I read posts on social media that offer many ways to success, happiness, or fame. Usually, it is done by working harder, spending more money, or expending more time to attain the goal.

However, none of that will be the key to eternal life. Christ did it all, giving his very life so that we can spend eternity with Him. Some might think that belief is just too easy. But, what He really wants is for us to give up trying to do it all and accept His gift of life through grace. That missing character is the cross,.

If you have any questions about this offer of life, feel free to email me and we’ll chat.







Follow My Leader

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

The calendar rolled over to 2018 at midnight…we have a new year! I like new beginnings — it energizes me to start afresh and move forward. I’m not one to look back much, for a couple of reasons. One, it can be depressing.  Two, you can’t change anything that happened. All those woulda, coulda, shoulda dates written in over the months can sometimes be painful reminders of things done or undone.

My word for the year is “faith.” As I pondered and prayed about what word to focus on, faith kept coming up. But I wondered how it differed from hope, my word from another year. Google gave me some insight and it always referred back to the source as the object of our faith. As Christians, that source is God — the beginning of it all. Faith in Him is the way forward.

One way to lend some understanding is: My son promises his two little girls a trip to Disneyland. They have faith (or trust) in their dad to keep his word because he has done so in the past. But they have hope as they look forward to this new and exciting adventure.

As I look over my calendar for 2018, I can plug in a few dates which give me something to look forward to. But those hopes and dreams may change if God chooses to take me on another path. And that is where the faith comes in. It may not be where I want to go, the people I want to go with, or the mode of transportation. But faith allows me to trust my Heavenly Father to take care of His daughter and and I will follow Him.

I wonder what adventures we will take this year?




Festive or Frantic?

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

The countdown is on and Christmas is fast approaching. Are you ready?

With all that there is to do, I wondered if you have heard the word “lament?” Sure, I’ve read it in the Bible but considered it a King James word, not one for this day and age. But I sure can lament about the things that are still not done. A dictionary definition of lament reads: 1. A passionate expression of grief or sorrow. 2. A complaint.

I read a book by Esther Fleece, No More Faking Fine, which really explains how as Christians, lamenting can be good for the soul and our relationship with God. In studying the life of David in our Bible study at church, I noticed that he was a great lamenter. Just read the Psalms where David poured out his fears and complaints to God on a regular basis. He held nothing back and God could take it. Yet, in the end, he always gave praise and thanksgiving for who God is and what He does because God was always there to take care of him.

Mark had deep brain stimulation surgery in September and the recovery has not gone as we expected. The brain is a complicated organ and mixed in with all of the other health issues that Mark battles, the doctors continue to tell us that it just takes time. In the meantime, much of the work falls on my shoulders because he is now very unstable, falling easily.

A friend commented that I was too anxious. Anxious?  I thought about it as I lay on my couch one afternoon and had a long lamenting (complaining) session with God about who was going to take care of Mark if I didn’t. I had reason for anxiety. But in His still, small voice, God spoke to my heart and said, “I will take care of him,” followed with “and I will take care of you.” Peace flooded my soul and I lifted up that anxiety and let it go to the One who cares so much for me.

The Christmas season is notorious for bringing anxiety to life. As much fun as it is, the pressure we put on ourselves to meet everyone’s needs and desires can be overwhelming. This Christmas, let’s purposely lay those expectations of ourselves and our family at the feet of Jesus. He delights in meeting our needs and giving us peace.









I See You


She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13 (NIV)

I’m not much of a dog person but we rescued Rusty six months ago and he has managed to wiggle his way into my heart. He’s a happy dog and likes nothing better than to lick whatever portion of skin he can find. This is not my favorite quality of his. But, he will also jump up on my knee when I’m sitting at my desk or on the couch and look right into my eyes, tongue hanging out and tail wagging.

“I see you” is my standard response. I’m not even sure that is what he wants to hear but it is enough to send him happily away to find a toy.

Don’t we all want to be noticed…to be seen and accepted for who we are and given a little encouragement for the day?

Hagar got the raw end of the deal after she obeyed her mistress and then was despised by this same woman. Eventually, pregnant and alone, she fled into the desert to escape unbearable circumstances. She had no place to go, no food or water. Only misery and the unknown.

But the Lord saw her in her desperation and gave her instructions for the next step in her journey. It was what she needed most — someone to understand and offer hope.

We never know what a kind word, email, text, note, or even a smile will mean to the person who is having a very bad day. That bit of love and hope may change the outcome completely, just like Hagar. We can also count on God to speak to us through His Word and the Holy Spirit.

Are you listening? Don’t forget — He sees you.





Yes be Yes

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)

There are many jokes about all the words women say in the course of a day. We can chatter on about nothing with a close friend, speak in shorthand with our daughters, or slip in that tidbit of good gossip over lunch.

Yet, words last forever…they just hang out there for all to hear and remember. In fact, once that story pops out of your mouth there is no taking it back. But more importantly, we want our word to be believed and not discredited or questioned.

When we make promises or swear an oath, our reputation and integrity are on the line. It reminds me of times in the past when I used to chair meetings. When I called for the vote, an exact tally of ayes and nays gave credibility to my leadership. If there was a miscount or worse, fraud, the whole organization became suspect.

Recently, I promised a neighbor that I would pray for her house to sell. It sold the next day and she tells friends that it was because I prayed. I better be sure that prayer follows that promise and they are not throw-away words.

I know that a broken promise wounds like no other because it compromises a trust and takes a long time to regain the previous level of intimacy.

In this passage of scripture, there had been some communication problems in the Corinthian church. Paul wants them to understand that they can count on him because his words are true…that when he says, “yes,” that is what he means. Even more so with our Heavenly Father.

Pay attention to your words and promises. Let your “Yes” be Yes and Amen.




Difficult Week


Sights, sounds, images. I’ve spent 20 hours watching the PBS documentary, “The Vietnam War.” The horrors of war are now forever embedded in my mind. I lived during this time, in fact, if I had been a man, I would probably have been drafted. But I missed it. All of it. And I’m sorry I was so oblivious to what was going on.

My manicurist is from Vietnam. Her dad served in the ARVN and was relegated to a re-education camp for five years. She is one of 8 children in a family that made their way to Tucson after the war when she was 12. Through guts and hard work…education, a home, and a business are part of her family today. I have great admiration for this family, the struggles they encountered, the closeness they share, and the hope they have for their future as American citizens.

For those of you who served and endured, thank you. The heartache on both sides continues to this day. We lost many but I hope we learned much. I put my head in the sand — not intentionally — but the results were the same. No one talks much about the war that served in it but forgetting is hard. Now we have a new generation of GI’s who have seen and heard much more than they ever expected. May we treat them better, offer them thanks, and see that they get needed services as they return to civilian life.

We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Division threatens us today as much as it did 40 years ago. We have choices to make. Do we want another Kent State? Do we want our children and grandchildren to ask why football players are kneeling during the National Anthem? Are the police going to be worried that a gunshot will forever take them from their families? Are blacks and whites going to find peace and harmony? The Vietnam War may have started this disintegration of our society but we don’t have to let it continue.

Only God can heal our land and make a difference. As we kneel before Him, confess our sins individually and as a nation, then we can begin to see each other as brother and sister and heal the broken bonds in our land.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)







God Alone

Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense, and fortress—why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?

My protection and success come from God alone. He is my refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me.

Psalm 62:-6-7 (TLB)

A few weeks ago I was fretting about how boring life was. It was the end of a long, very hot summer, and I could hardly wait for Fall to arrive. I decorated the house early, with the hope that pumpkins, in every form, would hasten the arrival of cooler weather and a new schedule of activities.

I was grateful when our women’s Bible study began. We are studying Beth Moore’s, David, Seeking a Heart Like His. One thing I really like about the Bible is that God pulls no punches when he tells David’s story. We read about the good, the bad, and the ugly. This young man, who would be king, is first ignored and then pulled out of the fields, while tending sheep, and anointed for a job he didn’t even know he wanted.

But God knew David’s heart because they had spent many an hour together while he was alone with those sheep on the hillside. The lessons he learned there would eventually become very useful as he led men and troops as King of Israel. But David had more waiting to do. It was not yet his time.

His entry on the world stage occurred when with only courage and a slingshot, a giant was taken down who had taunted the army of King Saul. He didn’t need the king’s armor because God alone was his defense. He had already wrestled with a bear and a lion while protecting the sheep. What could this one man do to him?

That boring life? It quickly changed as we’ve spent the last three weeks dealing with hospitals, doctors, surgeries, and recovery as Mark had a Deep Brain Stimulator implanted in his brain to control essential tremors in his right hand. The process complete, we now have some fine-tuning to do but the good news is that it works.

I didn’t realize, until we sat at a favorite restaurant after the doctor’s appointment to turn it on, how tense I had been. The unbidden tears of relief started to flow down my cheeks. I’d been updating friends and family through emails and I received a note from a friend that summed up exactly how I was feeling:

I so understand your tears. I’ve been there too many times, and you just don’t forget what that feels like. I’m glad you are able to let those tears fall. They are very healing, and as Mark is healing, so will you. What you have been through is exhausting physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s difficult to believe what that stress, especially trying to be the “strong” one, will exact on you. Now you can “let down” a bit, and rest.

God has sustained me each step of the way, whether sitting in the waiting room for many hours, watching over Mark as he recovered in his room, or driving almost an hour back and forth at night. He brought me encouragement through a bottle of water and pumpkin muffin brought by a friend who greeted me in the waiting room one morning. Emails, cards, and Facebook posts reminded me how much people care about both of us. And there is something about a note from someone who has been there that is so encouraging.

I can let fear and discouragement take me down, or I can choose to see that it is God alone who brings me through tough times and gives me the will and courage to make it through another day. My inclination is to wrestle in this type of situation and see if I can control the outcome. But I’m learning that the little word in the middle of wrestle – rest – is what God wants me to do. He is my refuge and rock. He will take care of me…and I can rest in His success.





What a week!

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

I’m usually one of those girls that has a glass-half-full attitude. But this has been quite a week and if I choose, I can do a great job of whining and complaining.

The news that blares out of the TV, on the radio, or over the Internet has been all bad news. In my 70 years on this earth, I have never seen anything like it. I’m sure my grandparents said the same but the speed of the disintegration of our society is breath-taking. Charlottesville. Barcelona. The White House. And my house.

I thought this week was gong to be a time of relaxation for Mark and me. We planned to celebrate our birthdays by going to Scottsdale for a couple of nights and enjoy the big city. But as we were packed and headed out the door, I noticed that the freezer temperature light read 16° not 0°. Uh oh. This has occurred twice in the past and the options are not good. I called for service and was offered the next day or next week.

We transferred the food from both the refrigerator and freezer to our kind neighbor’s  garage refrigerator and decided to head to Scottsdale and return early the next morning to meet the serviceman. At least we would get one day. We enjoyed a movie, complete with recliners, pillow, blanket, food, and wine. It was great!

Early, (I mean early…4:00) we headed back, stopping for a donut and latte as we got gas. The serviceman arrived on time but after inspecting and determining our problem, he didn’t have the part on his truck. Sigh. But, he could have it at the end of the day and would install it then. Good thing we had decided to not go back to Scottsdale for our second night (Groupon.)

With no food in the house, we headed to the club for pizza and a glass of wine. On the way home, we dropped off leftover pizza at a friend’s house and while backing out of her driveway, I had a fender bender with the neighbor across the street from her. My car’s park assist had failed me. By the time I walked into my house after exchanging all the info, I was spent.

Over those 36 hours of stress, I continually asked God for peace and comfort. Sleep was elusive but the 23rd Psalm came to my rescue. I am so thankful that I noticed the increased temp before leaving for 3 days. I am grateful that no one was hurt in the accident. I am relieved that the serviceman could come the next day and not the next week. Oh, and throw in a broken garbage disposal that was covered by the manufacturer and installed by my faithful handyman in the middle of the chaos.

However, I can report to you today that the refrigerator is working fine and food has been restocked. The insurance company is handling the accident. (Isn’t that why we have insurance?) However, I continue to pray for God’s guidance and protection for this country. He alone is in control.

I definitely don’t always like the circumstances of my life, but I have the choice how to view them. Whining and complaining only adds to my stress. Being thankful and trusting that God has my back and will give me all I need fills me with peace.