Thursday, May 29, 2008


Seth. Our first. A son. Beloved from the moment we knew we'd welcome him into the world. Now 10 days old. Small. Precious. A nursing infant. Natural and intimate he was sustained by Melanie.

Pain. Somethings wrong. A lump. Fevered and drained of life as she sustained life. Mastitis. Medicines prescribed & nursing recommended to counter the infection. An intimate act now torturous. Melanie shuddered each time he nursed. Crying out in exhausted whisper, "Oh, Little Man, you got to help Mama get better. Help Mama." She wept. He nursed.

Broken. I wept. I prayed. I served.

The best I could. As long as it took.

Years later, not of my own ingenuity, but guided by a marriage retreat questionnaire I asked Melanie, "When did you feel most loved by me?"

"When you took care of us when I had mastitis with Seth," immediately came her undoubted reply.

I never knew. I never would have guessed. I am glad I asked.

Selfish is easy. It comes natural.

Otherish is not. Not easy. Not natural. It is the other-centered, other-worldly, supernatural, agape love of God flowing through us.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear Friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tin Man

You know the scene: Dorothy; Scarecrow; Oz; following the yellow brick road; desirous of wishes from the Wizard; discover Tin Man.

Rain came too fast. Couldn't reach his oilcan. Standing rust-frozen. Speaking with locked jaw. Motioning with urgent eyes. Oilcan on the stump. Freed a few quick squirts at a time. Freed to be a new partner journeying to the Emerald City.

New scene: me; Lincoln; running through the neighborhood; first since the marathon; stiff; rusty; like Tin Man.

If only there was a puh-chink, puh-chink, puh-chink oilcan for me--would have been wonderful. Friends to apply it--even better. Shared encouragement along the road--the best.

Making Disciples is like this. Sin rusted. Maybe creaky. Even frozen. Unwilling, or unable, to free ourselves. We need the help of friends. Applying the oil of the Holy Spirit. Freed to live as the God of All Creation, not a would-be Wizard, desires. Freed to a life beyond anywhere over the rainbow we might imagine.

So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT

Monday, May 5, 2008


Only fumes in the tank through the final three miles. Yet, immensely satisfied at the finish with arms raised and #1 fingers held high crossing the line.

"Mark that one of your list," offered a smiling woman handing an icy bottle of water.

Yes. Done. 26.2 miles. My first marathon.

You wonder why we do it?

Get out there. Run. Run long. Run with a goal. Run in pursuit. Run to know.

You'll learn the answer within.

Friday, May 2, 2008

You Stink!

My dear Mary Elizabeth has a sensitive nose.

I come in from my morning run. Satisfied, but sweaty. From the couch. Before I see her. I hear, "Daddy, you stink!"

When our eyes meet. I see the smile in hers. I can't see the rest of her face. She's covering her nose with her heart-patterned pink snugly blanket. There is a playful, Daddy's-heart-melting smile in those big brown eyes.

I stink.

Yet she loves me.

And it appears that she enjoys loving me. Even when I stink.

Thank God for little girls! Thank God for my little girl, ME.

ME loves me. ME reminds me that God loves me the same way. But unimaginably more.

Even when I stink.