Sunday, February 22

Ocean in a Bottle

When I was a kid, my mom had this ocean in a bottle. It was in a jug and there were two liquids in it that just wouldn't mix. One was blue, the other was clear, and no matter how much you moved, shook or jiggled that jug, you just had these mesmerizing waves chasing themselves around the bottle. It was beautiful and serene and I loved to watch the tiny ocean slosh from side to side. The whole thing was so lovely, yet bound up. Confined. Safe.

Image result for oregon coast stormI live in Oregon. From my little valley, it's just a jaunt over a mountain range to the Pacific Ocean. The Oregon coast (if you're from here, you know better than to call it the beach) is known for cold, grey, stormy seas crashing up against stony cliffs. There's not a lot of sandy land on which to build your house on the Oregon coast, but you learn to be wary of what looks like solid rock here too. It's all subject to the battering waves. Here, the ocean is unbound. Vast and Dangerous.

Sometimes, I like to stuff what I know about God into a bottle to watch and marvel at from a safe distance. Like eleven twelfths of the disciples, I'm happy to appreciate him from the safety of the boat. Wow, Jesus. That's really awesome that you can walk on water! You can do anything can't you? That's just wonderful. Praise! Now I'll just wait until you saunter over here to the boat and I'll tell you how much I love you.

But that's not what Jesus wants from me. He wants me to be out there with him, like Peter. He wants me to be so moved by His greatness that I'm ready to step out into the waves.  

But am I ready? Because it's not safe out there. There's wind and waves and I'm prone to seasickness.

It's a choice we all have to face at some point on our journey as daughters of Christ.

I've stepped into the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii. It wasn't so bad. It was tranquil, warm and serene. It's not scary to think about stepping into that ocean. But that's the same ocean, the same vast bunch of salt water that hurls itself against the rocks along the Oregon coast. I've stepped into the water there too. It's cold. Toe numbing cold. It's fierce. Kids in Oregon learn to never turn their back on the ocean because the sneaker waves will get you. It's dangerous. Same ocean.

But it is beautiful. Take your breath away gorgeous in the stormy season and on the 3 days a year when the sun comes out and it's not too windy to stand up. There's something compelling about it's vastness and power. Knowing that here the waves crash, but miles away, they lap the shore. Knowing that life teems under the whitecaps and grey-blue surface. Knowing all of this, are we really content with the God we can watch in a bottle via second, third and fourth hand experience?

Or like Peter are we so overcome with this awesome power that we need to jump in and live it ourselves.

Wednesday, February 18


Please Read Psalm 103

"...for He knows how we are formed. He knows we are dust." 
Psalm 103:14

It all started with dust there in the garden. First there was nothing, then from nothing, land and sea and sky and and stars and plants and animals and dust. There on the ground of the garden. Dust that the Creator would turn into a man. Dust that the Creator would form into his own image and animate with his own breath. 

"...for He knows how we are formed. He knows we are dust."

God knows where we came from, and we do too. Self help books wouldn't sell so well if some part of us didn't remember where we came from. We are insignificant. We fall short. We, created in His image, fail. So we pray:

"Have mercy on me, O God
according to your unfailing love...
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." 
From Psalm 51

We know that when we confess, He forgives.  

But we still remember where we came from. Dust. We remember the dust; we forget the Creator restores. That He makes beautiful.

They say every snowflake is different. Then you watch a few youtube videos and discover that they don't all say that. But every snowflake has one thing in common. Dust. 

Water crystallizes into ice around a tiny particle of dust. It makes lines and prisms and mirrors it's maker. The six sides of a snowflake copy the pattern of the molecule of water surrounding the dust. Changes in temperature, wind and altitude influence the growth of this tiny crystal as it drifts earthward. It's safe to say that even though all snowflakes go through the same process, they are all effected a little different. But they all settle to the ground white. We don't look out the window after a snowfall and say, "look at that pile of freshly fallen dust!" No. We see fresh, white snow. 

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103:11

Wednesday, May 1

Tell Me a Story

Please Read Acts 7 

Isolation. It’s an effective tool for destruction. Predators use it when they hunt. They look for some small week thing, cut it off from it’s group, then pounce. Separated from the group, the prey doesn't stand a chance.

You've felt it too, I’m sure. Felt like you are the only one who has ever experienced___________. Like you are the only one who ever felt__________. Cut off from the herd. They couldn't possibly understand, you think. And maybe you’re right. Your situation is as unique as you are. BUT we all have stories. The isolation comes when we don’t share them.

We fear what others will think if they know our past. We assure ourselves no one cares to know our stories. Our stories are too messy or too neat to go on display. Our stories are still so very under construction we feel they need to be finished up a bit before we talk about them.

Excuses all. Behind the scenes, we are being led into a trap. We are being cleverly isolated. Surrounded by a predator ready to pounce. And we don’t stand a chance.

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Revelation 12:11

We do have a chance. Our stories have power enough to overcome. If you've read much of the Bible, you've seen how often the Israelites tell their story. They start with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They talk of slavery and the wonders God performed as he brought them out of it. They tell of God’s provision in the dessert and his promise of a better place. They keep going until they reach their current moment in the plot of their national story.

Their story reminded them of how far God brought them. It renewed in their hearts his covenant, it strengthened their hope, sturdied their resolve and united them as believers in the Almighty. In many cases, their story convinced outsiders of God’s ultimate power and authority.

Do you see how a story or a group of stories could serve to overcome even a powerful enemy? The predator tries to make us forget God’s promises, weaken our hope, weaken our resolve, separate us from other believers in the Almighty and deny God’s ultimate power and authority. Stories are dangerous indeed.

If the blood of the Lamb has saved you, your story has power. Your family’s story has power. So tell the story. You don't have to tell every detail. Somethings should remain private. While a testimony has great power, too much information can distract and disrupt and invade someone else's privacy. It's OK to be vague about your story, just don't shy away from sharing what God has done in your life.

Share your story to strengthen your faith and that of other believers.   

by Andrea Lunde

Friday, April 12

Facing Sacrifice

Read Matthew 26-27

The crime drama unfolded with eery music and dark shadows as I watched spell-bound. There was a slashing sounds and a scream and bump, bump, bump came a human head down the stairs. Blood and guts, or brains rather, splatted everywhere and I averted my eyes from the disturbing depiction. "Eww," I said as I turned my head away, but I then glanced right back. Wow, that looked real.

Horror depicted so realistically is the norm. I find myself shuttering, saying "Eww", turning away, or turning the show off. I tell myself it is just a plastic head with some make-up and catchup squirted on for blood. I am not a lover of the gruesome, to the contrary actually, it grosses me out!

This steady flow of fake violence and gore makes it hard to identify with the real thing.

The Easter season is over now, with the familiar story of our Lord on the cross, tortured and bleeding.  And I'm just getting around to writing this. It's been on my mind for months. Ever since I started my trifle attempt at suffering through Lent. Giving up sugar? It seems so ridiculous to put a claim on the word "suffer" in the same phrase with crucifixion. Yet as small as my attempt was, I was brought back to Jesus' gift again and again. It was my own little agony.

The cross and all the gore that goes with it is an easy one to turn away from and say "Eww." Let's move on and not confront this. I am tempted to drink the cup, eat the bread, say a quick thanks and forget the rest. Let's think of dramatic make-up and fake blood.

I first realized I wasn't really getting to the heart of Jesus' sacrifice a long time ago while I was traveling in Europe with a friend. It was in a dungeon of all places. There I was smacked in the face with human suffering so real, so graphic, that I could taste it. And more importantly than tasting it, I allowed it to flow over me... I felt Jesus' gift like never before.

My steps were truly orchestrated on that trip, because I almost didn't make it to the castle on Passover weekend 2001. My friend Janelle and I couldn't make reservations and then we couldn't even figure out how to find the place. Janelle had heard about the Schloss Mittersill and wanted to visit, entertaining ideas of perhaps working at the Christian conference center (now hotel). Well God sent some angels and pretty much held our hands as we traveled to the Schloss and when we arrived, there was room for us to stay one night. Good Friday.

Not knowing what to do or what to expect, we went along on a Passion Walk through the castle with the other guests. We learned some history of the castle, built in the 1100s and then later rebuilt in the 1500s after it was burned to the ground, it was occupied by kings and noblemen over the centuries. It was seized by the Nazis during World War II and that's where the Passion Walk led us.

We went down narrow, winding stairs until all the air was sucked out by darkness. The sounds I heard were dripping water, the shuffle of feet, and my own heartbeat thudding in my chest. My hands nervously grasped at cold stone walls as I followed the group, wondering what was next.

Innocent women were brought to the Schloss and studied by a think-tank of Nazi experts, used as medical experiments. As a devision of the nearby Mauthausen Concentration Camp, the interesting cases came to reside in the dungeon of the castle. Mostly young women.... on the very ground my feet trod on. Down the same stairs, fingers brushing the same stone cold walls with fear and trembling. What could a human body really survive? Life was expendable. Their suffering came from torture by brutal men, their bodies used, beaten and bloodied.

The cavernous space held our small group, flickering lights barely casting a glow on a few pictures to remember innocent lives. Their humanness drew me in. I couldn't look away with the common aversion that I usually clung to. It was too disturbing and too gross, yet I looked still. I felt anguish for their agony.

Before I could begin to process the true horror that happened there, we were moving on, out a different way. A passageway in the wall and we saw daylight, snow, the breathtaking Alps, and the valley below. The path led to a large, rough-wood cross. Standing as a symbol in the snow. It all washed over me with cold shakes.

Those girls who died there were normal just like me. Their story grabbed me and I related and mourned. The tortuous ending in a dank dungeon wasn't their choice.

And it struck me... pain and agony so great and Jesus chose. He chose suffering. For. Me. Beaten and tortured, he could have turned back at any moment, calling angels. He withstood the limit of human suffering and then he breathed his last. "It is finished." The rest of the story is the beauty: his raising from the dead, my sins forever forgiven. But he had to go through the terrible first.

Oh the story is so familiar, my babies can recite it with ease. I too have heard it since I was in diapers. It can become redundant and as tiny as my attempt of sacrificing through Lent. We must make an effort to allow ourselves moments of quiet and reflection to allow the realness of it all to wash.

Gruesome and ugly. Let the emotions of sacrifice settle in real, the rawness making us squirm in discomfort.

When we wipe away the make-up and sound effects, the fake gore of tv drama, we're left with the weight of it. The gift of it. Jesus chose that path. He chose it for you and me. Love so great, so amazing. Not tiny, but the most significant thing in our whole lives.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 

may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 

to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge

—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Friday, October 19

Botany for Beginners

Please Read Luke 27:22-34

I'm not sure who learns more in the average homeschool day: me or the kids. Not true. Most days it's me. Learning to slow down and breathe a little instead of trying to cram knowledge into the minds of the uninterested.

One subject has us all fascinated this week though. Botany. Specifically how plants know to turn toward the sun. We all know they do it, but I found the how particularly noteworthy this week.

Plant stems are full of these little chemicals called auxin. Auxin tell the plant to look for the light. While the auxin are in charge of the stretching of the stem, they don't live on the side of the plant facing the light. They live on the dark side of the plant. All the growth happens in the shadows. Since shadows move, the auxin twist and turn the stem so the tip is always facing the light.

"Consider how the wild flowers grow..."

I am watching a friend walk through some shadows right now. Dark, scary stuff. But as I watch, she is turning toward Jesus.

Our Heavenly Father uses the dark times in our lives to stretch us, to grow us up until, we are looking full in the face of the Son. He's at work in the shadows.

Wednesday, August 22


Posted by Andrea
Read Ephesians 5:1-21

I don’t always take parenting advice from celebrities. Generally their opinion and mine are just a little different. But just this once, I thought some was worth passing along. Don’t worry. I won’t make it a habit.

This morning I channel surfed through a bunch of garbage (I’m sick and my husband is running the house today. This doesn’t happen often) and paused on Jamie Lee Curtis talking to a bunch of women on a talk show. I stopped long enough to hear her say, “Children are like paparazzi. They take your picture when you’re not looking and they show it to you later in their behavior.”

Wednesday, August 8

At the Well

Read John 4:4-42

By Andrea

High noon in Samaria, as with most places in the middle east, is not the best time to be fetching water. If one needs water, one should go in the early hours of the morning so the work of carrying it back to one’s tent can be over with by the time the sun is at it’s highest point and working toward its highest temperature.

But a certain woman proceeded to Jacob’s well to draw water anyway. She came at this time of day to avoid the crowd. The chatter of the other women. The gossip. The snide glances and the feeling that she just didn’t belong with them.

As she approaches the well, she sees a man sitting beside it. Her steps falter for a moment. She is not in the mood to encounter a person. Especially not a Jew, as she can tell he is from a glance.
She knows she can expect one of two reactions from the man. This man at the well will turn his head and ignore her in dignified silence. Or he will watch her, disdain painted on his features letting her know that he knows why she is here at noon instead of in the morning with all the other women. His expression will scream that she is the lowest of the low. A fact she is well aware of without anyone, especially a Jew, reminding her of, thank you very much.

She should be used to it by now. But she has to summon her courage anyway.
The man looks up at the sound of her advancing, hesitant foot steps and does something quite unexpected.

“Will you get me a drink?”

She looks around wondering if he could possibly be talking to her, then decides to remind him of the obvious before it’s too late and he accidentally catches some Samaritan cooties from the water jug.

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

The implication, “Do you know who I am?!” Hangs in the air, and I imagine Jesus smiling at her.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus has a pattern of speaking in patient parables. It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Is she awed by him? Is that why she asks him if he is greater than Jacob?

Or is she done. Worn out and tired of pretending. Does sarcasm drip from her words instead of worship? Maybe.

Jesus answers, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

I hear sarcasm again in her reply. “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” The response of an exasperated woman who only wants to draw water in peace and quiet without being ridiculed by some holier-than-thou Jew.

He tells her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she snaps.

Jesus watches her intently even as she keeps her eyes on the task of lowering the jug into the deep well. “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

Her breath catches, but she doesn’t look up. How could he know that? He could know that. Everyone knows that. So she plays along, not ready to give up the bitterness that comes with being long oppressed. “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

When Jesus utters the phrase, “Woman, believe me,” she looks up. How can she not? The words are packed with authority, power and… was that compassion? “A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” He answers carefully, letting her know her question was a worthwhile one that he cares enough to address. “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” He emphasizes the word from and continues, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” He is for you, too, he tells her with his words and his eyes.

The woman wants to believe him. “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

A great grin spreads across the face of the man at the well. “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Other men pick that very moment to swarm him. His words ring in her ears. Her mouth hangs open. She doesn’t even care what these other Jews are saying about her.

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

The water jar drops to the ground with a thud. She recognized him now. She believes him. And she ran.

Surely the disciples thought she was running away in shame. But her shame was the last thing on her mind when she accosted the first people she met. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

She didn’t wait to be baptized or commissioned or perfect. When she knew she was face to face with the Messiah, she ran and spread the word to an entire town who probably held her, the worst of sinners, in contempt. Unashamed, she told them to come see this man who could be the Messiah.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

Let’s learn from her today. Her testimony made a splash because she didn't wait around to be worthy of worshiping Jesus. She didn't cherish the knowledge in her heart and keep it to herself. She spread the word and "many Samaritans believed." Because the offer of salvation extended passed the Jews even to the despised and unworthy Samaritans, we can still feel the effect of one woman's ripple.

It doesn’t matter who we are. It matters who He is.

Monday, August 6

Bring On Monday

Be encoured when you read Psalm 118:15-29

It's here. Whether we want it or not. Monday is happening.

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!??" 

Psalm 118:24

You didn't wake up with this on your mind? No? More like, "Where's my coffee and is that the smell of day-old-poo from the garbage that needs to be taken out or is that the smell of fresh poo with one of my kids starting the day out as stinky as I feel?

I recently typed out "a day in the life." An average day for me at home with my kids. From 4am when I was up to feed the baby to 11pm that night when I crawled exhausted into bed. "Crying" was mentioned roughly 14 times. Even though I added some light-hearted comments about how cute my kids are, how lovely the park was, and how blessed I feel to have this life, I was still left looking at my tiring tirade thinking, "Who would willingly sign up for this?"

We are in the trenches my mama friends. We wake up each day knowing this is going to be tough, knowing something will break, be ruined, someone will cry, we'll be stretched, and argued with... and that's just at breakfast.

How do we equate "this is hard! I don't want Monday" with "let us rejoice and be glad in it"? 

Our God has us right where we need to be. Everyday trials aren't a surprise to him.

My youngest, Tommy,
seizing the day.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, 

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 

plans to give you hope and a future." 

Jeremiah 29:13

This day is full of promise. Full of hope. The trenches might be full of messes, but they are also full prosperity. Prosperity? Really?

To prosper means to be fortunate or successful, to thrive.

When we look for it, it is there in this hard Monday. All the fortune and success, it's buried sometimes under tears, sometimes in piles of laundry, and mostly in a change of perspective. It really is, but it is a choice to look at God's blessings. Dwelling on beauty brings delight.

"This the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice [to find joy and delight] in it [Monday]."

To find joy and delight! The day will come whether we want it to or not. Rejoicing isn't going to come and find you today -- you have to find it. Find it in the moments in this ordinary day. These awesome coming minutes and hours were given by God, the Lord who has plans for you, to prosper you and to give you a hope and future.

Let's thrive in the day we have. Prosperity awaits....

Written by Alysun P.

Wednesday, August 1

10,000 Reasons

Please read Psalms 103 

I would like to introduce you to my new favorite song. I have lots of favorites, but this one lately has been doing a number on my soul.  If you've been reading Drops for a while, you may recall many references to Ann Voskamp's wonderful book One thousand Gifts.

Well here is another one.

To bless means to return thanks. This song reminds me to return thanks constantly, throughout the day, into the night, "whatever may pass, whatever lies before me." I love it and think it should be required daily listening. Songs like this are why I have added worship music to my morning devotions. Reading God's word settles my spirit. Talking to him renews my spirit. Singing his praises gets the music stuck in my head and he revives my spirit through song all day long. I love that. Songs stay stuck in my head the way words on a page seldom do. (I'm not reducing God's word to words on a page, but once I'm done in 2nd Chronicles for the day, I'm done with 2nd Chronicles for the day}.

So listen to Matt Redman sing 10,000 Reasons and let it get stuck in your head today. And think about what you have to return thanks for.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Written by Andrea L

Monday, July 30

Throwing Mud

Pleas read Genesis 2:18-24

My children sat making mud-balls. Mud + water. It is an art really. Too soft and the mud-ball falls apart on impact; too hard and the mud-ball just bounces and cracks. So my little mug-hungry kids made their mud-balls and piled them high in buckets and wagons.

It was a somewhat mother approved activity. The "somewhat" being that I said they could make them, but they couldn't throw the mud-balls at anything. What fun is that?

Yes, you guessed it, as soon as I left the immediate area the mud-balls were flying. Splatting against each other, the house, the garage door, the cat.

Making and piling mud-balls reminds me of resentments. They build up during my day when I feel wronged. Unfortunately, most of my resentments are aimed at an easy target. My husband. Like, he didn't do this. He did do that (and he wasn't supposed to). I do. He never. I always.

I form them like tediously manipulated mud, not too squishy, but plenty hard to do some damage.

They gather, these resentments, to be thrown later. In a weak moment when I forget (or ignore) that the Bible says I am to submit to my husband (Ephesians 5:22-23) and do everything without grumbling and complaining (Philipians 2:14) and to be humble, not resentful (Matthew 5:5).

I heard a relationship therapist say, "Unresolved resentment is the catalyst to divorce." It seems true enough to me, even in a good and strong marriage (like mine!), resentment creeps in and plays enthusiastically with our natural selfishness.

This topic was well established for me, the Holy Spirit guiding me with research as my own conscience was convicted. I came across a blog post with an article about forgiving your husband. The author asked these questions:

  • Is there anything past or present I have not made a conscious decision to forgive my husband for? 

  •  Do I resent him in any way? 

  •  Do I do little (or big) things to retaliate against him? (throw mud-balls, that's just me adding a footnote)

  •  To sort of get him back for what he has done? 

  • An ‘I’ll show him’ attitude? 

  •  Do I find myself struggling with anger towards him, sometimes for no apparent reason? 

  •  Does everything he does bother me or irritate me? 

  •  If I were honest with myself, do I sometimes feel like I just hate him? 

  •  Do I do destructive things to him or behind his back? 

  •  Do I speak negatively about him or to him?

The thought had never occurred to me before reading this article that I could forgive the resentments instead of letting them pile up. "He needs to change this or that" occurred to me, but ME making the conscience effort to empty my bucket of mud....

There's a thought.

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,

forgive him, so that your Father in heaven

may forgive you your sins."

Mark 11:25 

Has any, any, any good ever come from slinging mud-balls of resentment? Nope, not in my experience. It doesn't change the other person, it doesn't gratify a soul seeking Christ. It feels horrible, sinful, and ugly.

I love how Proverbs puts it, "Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the Lord" (Proverbs 20:22 ).

Sure there are things that need confronting in our marriages (that's called good communication). Slinging mud isn't part of it. So let's empty our buckets. Are there some mud-balls that are already formed today or maybe left-over from last week?

Forgive and wait for the Lord.

Written by Alysun P.

Mud-ball photo credit: