Have you ever rescued something? A baby bird? A drowning person? A recyclable can from the trash? Seems like vastly different scenarios but I think a rescue is a rescue. Big or small, redemption is a worthy pursuit… even if it costs. I was musing about this as I was doing dishes the other day and looked at my little windowsill above the sink. On the ledge, in a tiny pot, is a rescued houseplant. I found it earlier this summer in a giant pot I am using outside for my tomatoes (which are not doing well this year and are also in need of rescuing). I recognized one tiny leaf as a houseplant — not a tomato shoot. It must have been abandoned as “all but lost”, buried in the dirt. Then, when the pot was hauled outside for tomato usage… well, I guess a little fresh air and sunshine revived it!

My little rescued houseplant in all its dirt and glory!

I plucked the little leaf and moved it back inside where it is flourishing once again! New leaves are unfurling and the little guy is quickly outgrowing its nursery. Rescued! Love it! I’m a big thrift-er and my basement is filled with projects that I want to “refinish” or “repurpose”. I’m always looking at Pinterest for new ideas. Currently the family is watching a variety of do-it-yourself shows and renovation programs — the kids are fed up with my dreams of renovating an old farmhouse or Victorian mansion one day. They laugh and point out the most rickety buildings on the street corners and say “Look! Mom would buy that house!” And I would.

Am I alone in this weird fascination with the old made new again? Obviously not if you look at HGTV’s play list. Is it a new millennial trend to reduce and reuse in this environmentally conscious generation, or have we just come full circle and are beginning to value what we have again? I don’t think they make stuff like they used to, but maybe Covid has convinced us that we don’t need to be the throw away society we once were. Perhaps now we think about what we truly need before we go running to the mall. Or buy local – even if it costs a little more because it’s handmade or made well. I’m still on this learning curve. So far, “rescued” is still my method of choice.

“But now thus says the Lord,

He who created you, O Jacob,

    He who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have called you by name, you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1 ESV

Isaiah’s words are a reminder to us that we, too, have been rescued and renewed. Christ paid a very significant price for us. And He is in the business of continuing to renew and remodel. Here at we chat a lot about being “on the journey”. Our redemption starts out a lot like my little plant… we seek fresh air and the “son”. Then, once He plucks us out of the old soil and gives us a new chance at life, we begin to unfurl, flourish and grow!

Does this mean we will be perfect? No. Does this mean we won’t have bumps and bruises along the way? No. Do we still need to be watered and tended carefully? Yes. Do we need to still seek the “son” and gain energy to prosper, grow and be used well? Yes. Often “renewed” or “rescued” items need a lot of care before they can reach their previous state of glory. I love those furniture “flips” where people take old pieces of furniture and deep clean the cushions or scrape off years of paint until the true, original beauty begins to show. Those old farmhouses need to be stripped down to the rafters before being built up again. And so it often is with us as well. Sometimes we need a period of deep cleaning — stripping away the old before anything new can shine. For people in the process, it is not pretty. Most of the time it is down right ugly. But that is the beauty of the restoration… and so much more in the hands of one who is passionate about the cause!

Photo by chrissie kremer on Unsplash

So, be encouraged friends! If you are in that time of renewal… be patient. The process takes time. If you are still seeking the fresh air, keep poking your little leaves out until you get plucked from the dirt! And if you have been rescued and renewed, be thankful and shine bright. Show off your flaws with courage and bravery as one redeemed. Rescued with passion and encouraged to grow and flourish on the other side!

Emotional Wreck

Have you ever been so mad you could just spit nails? I was there this week. Bottled up anger fueling a stubborn streak that is still trickling through my veins. If nothing else this introvert will always win a battle of the cold shoulder. Trust me. On the other side of the coin, I just got off the phone with a friend who was engulfed in a mix of grief, frustration and sadness. Tears flowed and she simply didn’t know how to function. Still another friend expressed her feelings about the current state of affairs in Afghanistan’s Taliban take over with shock. How can human beings be so fearful that they would risk hanging off the landing gear of a moving plane?! “Unbelievable” she writes. Last week we witnessed a blushing bride and groom goo goo over each other in the innocence of newlywed bliss. (Yes, goo goo is my official word for that). We humans were made with emotions as part of the package. They are literal parts of our physical make up. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been overcome by some sort of emotion… heaven knows our first cries are emotional outbursts! Which has led to my muse this week: How do Christians deal with emotions?

I read a thought-provoking article on the subject, which made some interesting points and comparisons. Obviously, our emotions — the feelings that drive our passions, our interests, and our pursuits, are stemmed from some sort of emotional response to “things” in our environment. What we like and dislike dictates how we live. Yet, many of us view emotions as problematic. You can’t trust your heart. Emotions are irrational and unreliable. You need more faith. Just trust in God. All will work together for good… Heard any of these before? But our emotional baggage is not simply feelings floating around in our heart… they are influenced by our culture, our experiences, and the time and space we live in. Our culture in 2021 is, I believe, so much more open to expression, interpretation, and mental awareness of our “emotional state” then any other time in history. The question becomes… is this good or bad? Do emotions threaten us in the church? If we have the “joy of the Lord” in our hearts should we shy away from anger, sadness, guilt or depression? Is a feeling of pride good or evil?

Obviously the Bible gives us many examples of “emotional wrecks”… characters who acted (seemingly) irrationally to some emotional trigger. Heart responses to outside stimuli. Humans acting the way humans do. Joseph, David, Sarah, the prodigal son, even Jesus and the disciples. So, what should our response be? And here I will credit the aforementioned article for enlightening my answer… because that trickle of anger is slightly tarnishing my views at the moment. Number one: the Bible makes it clear that we are broken people living in a fallen world. We are not perfect. This world is not perfect. We will not be perfect this side of Heaven. It is a loosing battle to pluck out a set of circumstances and rely on that circumstance alone. Our friends will fail. Our tradition, culture or family background does not make “all things right”. Even our church, our pastor, or the Bible teaching we hear is not foolproof. We can misinterpret and twist things. One just has to look at church history to see the results of that path. Our heart responses are not always correct, but they are a part of how God made us, so we must consider them as valid parts of our existence.

Photo by Tabitha Turner (Unsplash)

As Christians, what we can be certain of, is that our faith will profoundly impact our hearts. The end story of the gospel is what drives us. The hope we have is what allows us to see a different reality, if you will. One that is not always obvious, but “imagined”, or allowed to be seen, eventually. Jesus’ emotional outbursts were examples of always having God’s gospel goal in His vision. God’s character must give us an answer to our emotion. Because He is merciful and loving, we must be comforted in our grief. He is slow to anger, but still just and holy. We must therefore be diligent in not sinning in our guilt or in our anger. We are not the final judge, He is. So. Are we perfect? No. Is God? Yes. Seems like a perfectly logical answer to all our problems, right? Yup, cheers to you, my fellow emotional wreck. Here’s to one more step on the journey.

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever had to name something? Perhaps you’ve created a beautiful piece of art and it’s being prepared for gallery presentation; it needs a “name” to go on that little card. A title to say what it is about and why. Great artists and photographers always name their work. I once read a book about a girl who names all of the homes she moves into… both big and small. It gives the place significance. I guess it is more fun to live in “The Corner Cottage” than apartment #2 on Route One next to the old oak tree. Anyone name their car? “Lemons” in my case. Of course, if you are a parent, you’ve had to name your offspring. Were you like us and had a book with baby names, meanings and origins? You made a list of boy and girl names and tried out the short forms and how a first and middle name flowed together off the tip of the tongue. Did you look at initials? That kid is going to be stuck with his or her name forever… it better be good. Worthy of a monogramed towel hanging in the bathroom. Or maybe you chose a family name, passed down for generations, honoring a loved one. Oh, and never the name of that third grade kid who was a “weirdo”… I know a “blank” and can’t call my baby that!

Photo: Days with Grey

Our youngest acquired a new batch of pet rats this week. Yes, rats. That is a topic for another time and place. We are talking about naming things, here. Anyhow… Our rats have always been named after plants and flowers, so picking names can be quite fun. God’s garden gives us plenty of choices… and we’ve had fun attaching traits and characteristics to their names. I’m sure we will be posting on social media this week… so check them out later, if you are interested!

So, what’s in a name? In grade school I did a whole project on that quote from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliette”. I got a pretty good mark, too. I guess I have been musing about such things for a while. As you know, words and their meanings are captivating to me, so names naturally fall into that category. Special “words” if you may. I tried searching “How many names does God have?” and didn’t get very accurate results. The short answer? “Lots”. God has lots of names. Each significant based on certain traits and characteristics. I guess that’s what makes it so special. Our Heavenly Father could be so many things for so many people: Father, Comforter, Protector, Creator, King… the list goes on and on. Listen to people pray… it’s a good hint about how they view God. How do they address Him when they speak to Him? There is a good list (here), although I don’t think even 950 names are exhaustive. But it is a significant start, if you may be interested in further study. Certainly fascinating.

Our little brains can’t begin to comprehend all the attributes of God, let alone name them. Names are really only a snapshot of something. And God is much much bigger than our tiny understanding of the person we call “God”. Would you agree? Or do you find it easy to label Him? Perhaps based on your needs, you know that God is definitely your “Abba” or your “protector”. Either way, Holy and awesome truly are His name. (Psalm 111). And no matter what your name is, He cares for you and loves you. And that’s the bottom line. Be blessed, my friends!