Notes from Jan


May 20, 2020

To most, it’s just a necklace.  However, to me it speaks of hope and courage to persevere in tough times. It’s a tangible reminder of roots and branches, the makings of family trees. My daughter-in -love gave me  this silver and enamel tree of life  after Jud died. Sometimes I still need signs that life is precious, no matter how it looks or feels.

This morning I lifted it from my jewelry box, fastened it around my neck like a hug, for good reason.  Tonight, via zoom, our Community Bible Study group gathers to wrap-up our study of Revelation.  God only knew we’d be studying this frightening and mysterious book, rife with plagues and consequences, during a global pandemic. So why the necklace? Revelation speaks of trees, from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis to the Tree of Life in Revelation.  And bridging the gap between the two, the tree on which Jesus died.

So, trees matter.  God sometimes uses them to teach. For example, as a child I memorized Psalm one in the King James version.  Part of it reads, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Spell check has a  hard time with all these “eths.”)

Now that I’m older, I bookend Psalm 1 with  Psalm 92.”But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon…even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.  They will declare, “The Lord is just!  He is my rock! There is nothing but goodness in him!”(from Psalm 92:12-15, NLT)

So what’s the point of all this tree-talk during a pandemic? I guess it’s this, we’re trees, not fragile flowers.  We’re stronger than we think and like trees our roots go deep, spread wide, so when storms come we can better withstand the pummeling.   Suffering, plagues, deprivation are not new, just new to some of us.  Like trees in winter, we may look like nothing’s happening but I’ve lived long enough to know  God often uses the worst of times and dormant seasons to heal and promote growth in us.  Today, oaks, pines and cedars grow stronger with cleaner air and water. How are we doing?

While I confess, I dreaded reading Revelation, I found it’s rooted  more in  hope than horror. Its truths remind me choices have consequences.  God’s merciful and just, but through Christ we also meet Grace.  Sometimes I learn from words, other times life’s my teacher.  For instance, this pandemic continues to teach, revealing much about me, us, leadership, nature, our world and what needs appreciating, reevaluating or changing for the good of all.

The book of Revelation, like this pandemic’s, a tough teacher; my necklace a tender one.  However, the final words in Revelation cushion  the hardest truths and these times with hope. The Apostle John, finishes the book with a blessing,  “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.” (Rev. 22:21, NLT)

In the end it’s about Grace, that which we could never earn.  God’s grace towards us and us towards each other, cushioning hard truths and tough times. As Anne Lamott said when speaking on hope,”Grace bats last.”  That reads like a winning walk-off grand slam to me.

And to you, God’s beloved Trees,  while we hibernate, I pray we’ll grow in Grace.  Our families, neighbors and this world need some holy cushioning.









This story has been viewed 37 times

4 people HEART this story
Notes from Jan

Redemption Centers

Remember S&H Green Stamps?  Well, some of you may recall this wide-spread system for rewarding customer loyalty.  When Jud and I were first married, money was tighter than my sweat pants are becoming. As the shopper with serious limitations (I’m referring to finances) stores…

May 15, 2020
Notes from Jan

Signs of the Times

Awoke to blossoms fluttering past my window.  That’s strange. It’s May. After a few blinks, I looked again.  Snow! These are strange times. No point in fussing and fuming, I’m not going anywhere.  Plus, this too shall pass, and as a matter of fact, already has. Which…

May 9, 2020
Notes from Jan

What’s For Dinner?

These are strange times when it comes to food.  The President commands meat to come forth, no matter the cost. Lines of folks wait for something, anything to eat. And I go on a daily archaeological dig to my freezer to unearth something edible,…

May 4, 2020
Notes from Jan

Still Learning

There’s good in being still, learning to trust more, fret less.  I’m settling into the  calm embedded in this slower pace.  All is well until I move too far into the future, then fret turns into frantic. So, I take a deep breath, no…

May 2, 2020
Notes from Jan

Fault Lines

  The clock tells me it’s morning, still the small lamp in the living room flickers off, then on, as if the auto-sensor can’t decide.  I know the feeling.  Oddly, a Sven and Ole joke pops into my head.  Sven  was having a problem…

April 30, 2020
Notes from Jan

The Good Old Days Weren’t So Good

Cabin fever’s spreading like lies and misinformation in parts of the country.  Some tote guns, wave signs and assorted flags to show their support for the President, and others to express their frustration with how things are.   Everyone’s impacted, some more than others. Those…

April 25, 2020
Notes from Jan

Life Between the Lines

The Kleenex surprised me, tucked inside Mama’s Bible. I’d been sorting through books when I pulled her well-read copy off the shelf.  Thumbing through, I found the tissue alongside Genesis 12. It’s Abraham’s story of trusting in God’s Goodness,  then moving by faith, “unto…

April 22, 2020
Notes from Jan

Pure Easter

Last Sunday was one of my favorite Easters ever. It felt like deep down joy took a seat and stayed. So much was different. Since I haven’t been to the grocery store in over a month,  no Easter Lily perfumed the air. Nor did…

April 17, 2020
Notes from Jan

“Anybody Seen Peter?”

Good old  Pete! Always good for a laugh, a story about the big one that got away. Now, he’s the one who got away, or so it seemed back then. Rugged Peter, so quick to flip you off or flap his  gums, until he…

April 11, 2020