Monday, July 28, 2014


Washing my hands at the sink, I eye that little book. I smile. If there was ever a book proven overused ...

I dry my hands on the frayed towel and reach for it. The binding is loose. The book jacketall that holds it together. Leaning back against the sink, I turn page by tender page.

This page stops me in my tracks
"When Noah knew the ark was resting on solid ground, he unbolted the door."

My mind travels back to my youthful days of faith training, of being encouraged to never open the door to traveling religion salesmen. My tender youth and tender faith weren't strong enough to stand, I was told. But as the years of walking with the Lord press against my heart, my mind unearths what a walk with Christ presents.

I turn a tender page

"Out came Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives."

I turn

"Then followed all the animals."

From the long walk, this life with Christ is not about religion. It's a relationship.

There is no fear of unbolting that door. The relationship is my life, and it's all I have to pour out. And it's all I need. It's the binding, holding me together. It's enough.

It's me, resting on solid ground ... and love unbolted.

Another tender page turns

"God was pleased."

While returning the worn, endearing book on the old shelfboth evidence of my growth, my age, the yearsI notice the words on the back cover

"It rained and rained ...." Oh, the rain in my life.

Turning to my girls, I wrap each one in a hug goodnight. Their love for Jesus, written on their faces, grows more evident each passing year. In that embrace, tender hands pat my back ever so gently.

I remember and long for the sweet hug pats my grandmother always gave me.

And there is proof, in the simplest of things ...

God's promises unfolded ...

love unbolted.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


As she declined an opportunity because she felt unworthy, unqualified, her heart broke.
She cried out—
"Lord, you said you removed my sin as far as the east is from the west. You said it. You promised. Why does it still hurt? Why do I feel trapped in the past?"


Painful reminders of the past can feel like a plague.

A plague that eats away at our hearts, our hope.

A plague that shames.

A plague that destroys.

A plague that steals.

And make no mistake, the enemy certainly loves working behind the scenes to eat away ... to make us feel there is no hope for the future. "You did this ... how do you think you can be this ...? You've not changed. You are nothing."

It feels like a loss of—


Every false feeling goes against God's every truth.

Regardless of the pain, when we cry out to God in true repentance, we are forgiven.

We must remind ourselves ... God is working a new creation in us, but that doesn't wipe away the memory, ours nor others. But God can use any critter, any enemy, anything, anyone, to work that new creation in us. He is the Potter, we are the clay, and He molds and shapes us, in His own way. Chiseling, whittling away. 

The past—that plague—can be used to shape our futures.

That painful reminder may be God's perpetual renewing.

We are hopeful creations in full process progress.

"For we live by faith, not by sight." —2 Corinthians 5:7

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eatenthe great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed." —Joel 2:25,26

My uncle whittled this for me out of old depot wooda building that had been torn down.
The old, seemingly hopeless, becomes ... a new creation, a keepsake, a treasured possession.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


We jumped sky-high. The afraid-of-looking-guilty precious kid blasts: "I didn't do that." Even Granny got moving.
"What was that?" many asked.
"Was that a firecracker?" we all questioned.
A firecracker would have made sense. After all, it was July 4th. Fireworks were randomly going off in broad daylight throughout my cousin's beautiful rural area with a mile of field, sprinkled with two homes, behind them.

We checked around the house ... nothing seemed dented or disturbed, except our hearts.
We settled back down. Conversation resumed.
My cousin spotted something shiny between my dad's feet. She said, "Excuse me" and reached down. Holding out her hand, turning to me, and inquiring what she already knew the answer to but couldn't quite bring herself to believe, she asked:

"Shelli, what is this?"
"A bullet."
We knew immediately what had caused that horrid noise.

The sheriff's department was immediately called. And we began searching nearby for the impact site. 

The location was spotted mere millimeters away from glass, a mere five feet above our heads.

Just like that ... one of us could have been shot and killed. Just like that. On a perfectly gorgeous day, celebrating with family, celebrating freedom ... it was unreal. Like something reported on the news.

Our nerves were shot. "What if" was pondered.

  • Boom
  • Bullet
  • Bullet mark

Those were complete ingredients to a completely disturbed evening. And let me tell you, with a mixture of emotion and fear stirring up inside, much was made of that bullet.

We tend to make much of things.
Grateful for God's protection, many voiced it.
However -
  • Gathering together
  • Grabbing hands
  • Gliding into His presence
  • Giving thanks and requesting peace
  • Glorifying Him for safety
  • Grasping a Verse of God's protection and voicing it
- would have proved our faith genuine to those with weaker faith, our children. But with never-ending needed growth and continually learning lessons by hindsight, a true reality pierced my heart:
tossing things aside, those would have been the completely perfect ingredients to -
Make much of the One who made me. 
"Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts." - Isaiah 26:8 

My beautiful cousin and me.
Leola's Banana Pudding
(my beloved grandmother's easy, no bake ingredients):

Mix 1 large box instant "vanilla" pudding as directed on box
Add 1 can Eagle sweetened condensed milk (I use 2 cans sometimes)
Add 1 large cool whip (but don't add it all, leave about a cupful, ha! That's how she
did it!)
2 tsp. vanilla (she used 1 tsp banana flavoring, but I never have that on hand, so I do 2 tsp vanilla)

Slice about 4 large bananas (small slices), set aside.
Vanilla Wafers (two boxes)

Start with a little pudding on bottom, wafers, bananas slices.
Then layer:
Pudding, wafers, bananas - repeat until ingredients are gone, and end with pudding on top.

Take wafer crumbs and sprinkle on top. If you need more crumbs, crumble up wafers and sprinkle on top.
Refrigerate. Best if let set overnight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I had to let go.
After spending the prior year protecting that little one - only thirteen months old - from bumps and bruises, releasing her into surgery was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. 
But time was short. The kidney tumor was growing rapidly. In two weeks, it was already softball size. It had to be removed.
My heart ached in that waiting room. My stomach ached. When her name was called, I had to take that journey with her to prepare for surgery.
Back in the holding room, she was given a medication to make her sleepy. And I rocked her trusting baby self, stroking her precious baby hair.
In time, a young woman, spotted through the door window, began walking down the long corridor toward us. Inhale. Exhale. She opened the door, ready to take our baby girl. I placed her into a stranger's arms.
Would they hold her secure? Would they treat her with tender care?
Praying over the doctor's hands, I begged God to guide them.
I took that trek, empty handed, back into the waiting room with my family.
I had no choice.
She was a fragile life ... held in God's hands.
We are a fragile life ... held in God's hands.

Often, we must wrestle to realize - God is the only One worthy of holding too tightly. He's the only One who will never leave. He's the only One who can never be taken away. He's the only One we just can't shake.

And ... He's the only One who faithfully holds us. 

Choose Him.

The only One.

He will hold secure. He will treat with care.

We can trust our fragile life in God's agile hands.
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” - Genesis 32:26

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


On her knees
she stands accused
like a child.

Her heart skips straight to her Father.
And in that quiet place
her heart rips and tears to shreds.
Her heart bleeds over the pain she's caused herself and others.

And the tears ...

And she cries out to God -

I can't withstand this much longer.
How long?

How long will this tarry?
Oh, Lord, how long will You tarry.
Because I don't know how long I can tarry.

And He scoops His broken, lifeless child in His hands.
He rips the enemy's accusation.
He resuscitates her with His righteousness.
Because He is completely guilty of loving her.
And He stands her to her feet.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18


The enemy will graze us with guilt-ridden jeers, then he'll turn and graze on our every single tear.

The guile of the enemy is to remind us of our guilt, knowing full well he is guilty, too.


Reaching Up

Help me
I want to be
Far from pain
In a world of gain. 

Help me
It’s hard to see
A different me
Yeah, a different me. 

I’m reaching up
Take this cup
You are my hero; you are my rescue; you are my Savior
Come for me. 

Help me
I want to be
Free at last
Far from the past 

Help me
Your face I see
You’ve come for me
Yeah, You’ve come for me. 

I’m reaching up
Take this cup
You are my hero; you are my rescue; you are my Savior
Come for me.
Song written for my beloved grandmother.
©Shelli Littleton 2013