One of the most shocking biographies I remember reading was that of William Cowper.
Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve probably sung his hymns (including “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”) or used the phrase he coined, “God moves in a mysterious way.”
It’s been years since I read his biography, but in recent research, I came across his name and reflected for a few minutes on some of the most extraordinary and meaningful aspects of his life.
Cowper’s salvation testimony is remarkable because he was saved as a direct result of admittance to a mental asylum after failed suicide attempts. The doctor who treated Cowper was a born again Christian who shared the gospel with him. The night and day difference in Cowper’s life after his salvation is undeniable.
Most of us would be very comfortable with Cowper’s testimony if it ended there. But it didn’t. Although he didn’t struggle mentally to the same degree after his salvation as he had before, he did battle mental illness (including severe depression and two more mental breakdowns) for the rest of his life. Continue reading →
When I was in second grade, I read a children’s biography of Benjamin Franklin, and in the depths of my heart, I knew what I wanted to be—a printer.
It must have been a picture in the book of Ben Franklin’s printing days, because somewhere I got a firm mental picture of my future. In my picture, which I can still see in a clear black and white drawing (yes, it must have been a picture in the book), I was settled back in a comfy chair with my feet propped up on a workbench. To my left was a printing press rolling out new pages, and in my hands were the first pages of the freshly printed manuscript.
What a life! Relaxing, printing, and getting paid to read. A little girl’s dream.
Fast forward several years—twelve years ago this weekend to be exact. I’m driving three boxes with five hundred copies of a brand new magazine for its first distribution. Continue reading →
Have you ever read a fictional or biographical book minus the first chapter?
I remember as a young child sitting in the book closet of our home (I never realized until I just typed that phrase that we had a “book closet” rather than a “linen closet”! I’m thankful my parents cared that much to keep us stocked with good reading!) and reading Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John.
The book so profoundly affected me that as seven year old, I determined I was going to be a wood carver…and for several years saved money to purchase carving tools. In hindsight and judging by my decidedly un-artistic abilities, it’s probably good that this dream never materialized into mangled pieces of wood. But I digress.
One aspect I remember most about reading Treasures of the Snow was its missing cover and front pages. The story begins with a Christmas Eve scene in the Alps of Switzerland. In the first chapter, the main characters and their relationship both to one another and to the plot of the story is set…but I missed some of these pages. Without these important details, I struggled to make sense of following pages.
It’s too bad to miss the beginning of a book you’re reading. But what if you miss the beginning of the story you’re living? Continue reading →
I saw a date in the margin of my Bible this morning that made me start—2/26/04. It wasn’t just the date that took me by surprise, but the realization that it has been exactly ten years since that day.
I remember where I was when I wrote that date—on the top bunk in a guest room in Bowie, Texas.
I remember the verse I read just before I wrote that date. (I don’t actually have to remember that one—it’s right there in the margin of my Bible. But I remember it anyway.) Psalm 86:4, “Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.”
I remember what I did after I read that verse and wrote it in my journal. I stepped outside the guest house with a spiral notebook and sat on the back stoop to write an article for the magazine I was editing at the time. The article appeared in the June/July ’04 issue of Stepping in the Light, and it was titled “Sing, Little Bird!” The article provides some insight into that day: Continue reading →
Hope is a noun and a verb. It is what we have, and it is what we do. We who know the Lord already have hope, but we must also choose hope.
I recently did a Bible study on the word hope, and I was amazed at what I found. With 121 verses with this word (and 12 more verses when you add forms of the word), hope is all throughout Scripture. I prepared a Sunday school lesson from the study, and I had to leave out more verses than I could include!
Through my study, I compiled a list of thirteen practical ways we can choose hope. Continue reading →
In the last 36 hours, I’ve made approximately 732 resolutions to always back up my computer hard drive. In the previous 36 hours, I didn’t think even once about my hard drive.
Yep, my computer crashed.
A very bad day.
Everything I can think of that I ever cared about is gone with that computer. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Except that most of what I’m thinking about lately is the irreplaceable files stored on that computer. Every couple of hours, I remember ones I had forgotten.) Continue reading →
Earlier questions had received similar answers, and Natalea and I were running out of questions for entertaining the six-year-old in the car. I had given him and his mother a ride home from church, and we were stopped at the store while she made a quick trip in.
In the hot car with a restless six-year-old, quick was seeming pretty long.
“I know! Let’s play a game—let’s see who can see your mom first when she comes out of the store!” (Yes, I know that is a boring game. I was at the bottom of the barrel—“I Spy” was next.)
But to my surprise, this was the moment Nicholas finally had something longer than a grunt to say. Continue reading →
It would not have made a difference which side of the bed I rolled out of yesterday morning. From either side, the day didn’t look bright. Too much to do with too many loose ends hanging. Even the sky was overcast.
By the time I took my morning walk, it was drizzling. One more strike against the day. What we really needed was a good shower, not a few drops. Even in the desert, we expect (and need) some rain. And we have really needed it lately.
I had a meeting scheduled for the first part of the morning, and I knew I needed to leave the house early to prepare for it. Five minutes later than I had planned, I stepped out the front door with a grim attitude and a cloudy perspective.
And then I saw it—the rainbow. It was the kind of rainbow that forces you to stop and makes you suck in your breath quick. Vivid and brilliant, it stretched across the sky forming a full and perfect arch. Continue reading →