Thursday, June 20, 2013


I’ve written much about hard things on this blog before. Many of the stories behind these words still ignite tears and prayers—the people spoken of are friends and family. Now, like the hem of a dress lovingly sewn by hand they surround my life, bring beauty, and keep me from unraveling.

Our neighbor's home right across the street.

This fire, the Black Forest fire, threatened to consume our home, our traditions, our memories, our neighbors, and much practical stuff—stuff with attached importance; some that could have never been replaced.

I returned to my own words. I needed to hear again what God had lovingly spoken to me. As I read the list I created for the Hard Things post, I remembered many of you telling me you were printing out that list and keeping it in your Bible as a prayer guide. Two items screamed loudly:
3. Take time to ponder, be still, and know.
                         Psalm 46:10

5. Listen to God through his word, through
    wise friends, through books.    
                          Isaiah 55:1-3
Both difficult this week. Thank you for standing in the gap for us.

It is almost impossible for me to pray when I am intimately involved with that which needs prayer. Those who continue to text scripture to us, you are ministering deeply. Thank you to our pastor, Mark Bates and his words from Romans 8:26. The Spirit is interceding; this verse has never been so real. Thank you to my friend Diane Otten who sent a word-picture that was easy to copy and pray, dear God, please keep a bubble of protection around our home.


Another simple, yet profound encouragement was the lovely picture of the peace lily my sister Barbara sent; then another mentioned Lamentations 3:22 in the NIV which has become my go-to scripture this week, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.” And thank you to Sandy Marthaler who put the two together. Sandy, that is a special gift. I plan to frame it when this chapter closes.
A huge gift comes from our friends Jason and Kara Tippetts. While they vacation in the mountains, they loaned us their home—big enough for us, our son and daughter-in-law, and their two children; they are in the midst of a cross-country move. Three year old Judah loves all the new toys.
Their above-and-beyond generosity comes from their church family who are providing meals for us. It is wonderful to not think about these details. Thank you, Westside PCA.
A scripture passage that I’ve been ruminating on this week comes from Daniel 3. Although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tossed into a burning fiery furnace, they came out alive, having walked with Jesus (I wonder what they talked about), without even the smell of smoke on them.
We too have been surrounded by fire; we didn’t expect our home to survive—it appears it has; we want to listen to God and hear from Him in the midst of the smoke and the ashes; and we desire that others will see God as the God who rescues.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
                                           Lamentations 3:22


  1. Your testimony gives these words from Lamentations even more depth of meaning for me. Thank you. Praying for you and yours.

  2. Thank you to you too, Christie. For the past 14 years I have been meditating on God's love for me. What an anchor that has been this week.

  3. What a sweet testimony Sue! You continue to be in our prayers and in the prayers so some of our Israeli friends too. It is such a blessing to have a God that meets us right when we need Him. Lamentations 3:22 will be even more meaningful to me now. God bless you and keep you and Bill as you continue to walk through this.

  4. Thank you Carolyn. We are amazed and grateful for all the prayer support coming our way.

    We hope to return to our home tomorrow. Much yet to be done ... but we'll camp out at home. Love to you and Gary.