Welcome to my new home here in these digital airwaves! I am so glad that you stopped by for a visit. I hope that this redesigned site will be a little easier to navigate and become a place of connection for us as we seek to follow God’s pathway together!
However, that word “easier” has not been on my agenda these past few weeks. No, God had been nudging me to make the move here for at least a few months, and it felt anything BUT easy!
When He brings those nudges how do you respond? I wish I could say that I jump to the call, but all too often I drag my feet and find reasons to linger in the questions . . . .
- What if can’t learn the ropes of this new task?
- What if I do learn the ropes but hurt someone else along the way?
- What if I can’t keep up with all the new demands?
- What if my weakness is just too strong?
Ah, but what if the Lord is doing the nudging to get at the root of all these questions?
You probably know where I’m going with this: Plain old fear is that root, right? Fear, in this year when my #oneword given was meant to awaken within me the willingness to find Jesus as my all sufficiency!
And yet I focused on my weakness, on my pain, on my fear . . . until the Lord rolled back the years and showed me yet one more glimpse into the Legacy of Faith that has gone before me.
She was my Great, Great Aunt Lois, the younger half-sister of my Mother’s Grandfather. And she always carried an air of mystery to me. In a family of farmers, she left that title behind and followed her heart to become a stenographer in the “big” city of Toledo. By the time I came along, she had already retired, and was living above The Historical Museum in the town close to all of the family farmers. She was a caretaker at that museum, and that is where the mystery trickled down to me.
For my young heart that thirsted after stories and poems and the telling of all things wonderful, she found ways to slip extra gifts of books about dreamers of dreams to me. One year in her travels to visit a friend who lived out West (another impossible dream to my small town existence) she met a teacher who had written a book about a cat that came to stay at school. “Room 8” the cat became a bit of a local celebrity there, and inspired a whole collection of children to write their own stories about their beloved mascot. My Aunt Lois never knew that her gift of that book and the collection of children’s homemade stories inspired me, along with my best friend, to dream up hours of our own writing and plays from the children’s words about Room 8.
Aunt Lois always seemed to know which books would stir a new longing within me. The biography of Janet Lynn, an ice skater in the 70s, spurred me on, not to be a skater, but to live out my faith wherever life found me. And when she saw my teenage poetry journal, she didn’t chide me for choosing overly-emotional or sappy selections. No, she just slipped me a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and my vista of possibilities soared along with the gulls.
But perhaps my most treasured gift from Aunt Lois is a collection that I received years after she went to Heaven. My Mom fell heir to most of Aunt Lois’s Christian books. No one else in the family saw the value in books that had been written by small publishers in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. But I read them all. And when my Mom had to de-clutter her own possessions for her move into my brother’s home, she asked if I wanted Aunt Lois’s collection by my favorite Christian poet: Grace Noll Crowell. Each of those books had been autographed by the author during other numerous trips out West taken by my Aunt. Grace Noll Crowell was the “Poet Laureate” for the state of Texas in 1938, the year that her biography by Beatrice Plumb was written. Her books are out of print, but you can find various used copies at Amazon still.
What is the treasure of her writing that so appeals to me yet today? Grace Noll Crowell became an invalid early in her adult years, so that all of her writing comes from that place of darkness enlivened by hope. Her words about her own suffering came back to me this week as the Lord was calling my heart to move forward in obedience to keep writing His story in me.
The Poet Prays
The crushing of a thousand petals, Lord
Distills one drop of essence from a flower.
Crush me, Oh God, if thereby my song makes
Some tired heart walk with beauty for an hour.
If under bruising pestles I give voice
To the high white rapture of a faint perfume,
And catching it, one weary of paved ways
Turns back a lost path where wood violets bloom.
If I can bring the quick relief of tears
To dry eyes dulled with bitterness for long,
Gather the fragrant petals of my life
And crush them, Lord, then help me sing the song.
–Grace Noll Crowell
And I recognized the Legacy that my Aunt Lois had passed down to me. She saw the dream to taste the beauty of expression that is buried deep within me. God gave her eyes of faith to see deeper than the chubby, greasy-haired misfit that most saw in me. And He helped her to fan the flame and pray for the day when God would finally help me step beyond my fears and let HIM be my sufficiency to share from my heart.
“As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.“
But what about that fear? How can I step forward knowing all of my own weaknesses much too well? HE knows them too! He sees each one of our fears and calls us forward still,
trusting HIM to be our shield and refuge:
our very great sufficiency.
And now, for those of you have stayed till the end, I am offering a give-away to say “Thank You!” for all who have followed me along this journey the last few years! All of your comments, prayers and support have been such a gift to me! In two weeks I will be part of the launch team for Chronic Joy Ministries’ latest book by Cindee Snider Re, Finding Purpose: Rediscovering Meaning In a Life With Chronic Illness. Anyone who leaves a comment on my site between now and then will be entered to receive a free copy of this book. Even if you don’t suffer with any kind of chronic illness, odds are you know someone who does. And this book is a wonderful blessing to be shared! I will announce the winner at the end of the launch week on February 16.
Special thanks go to Joy at Words of Joy and Poetry Joy, Anna at Beloved Prodigal, Trudy at Freed to Fly, and Gayl at Words, Photos, and Art–each of them offered help and instruction to me as I made this blog transition! I am so grateful for their kind comments and support!
And I must say thank you to Michelle Ule for her kind response to my comments about one little sentence in her wonderful new book, Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman Behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional. The sentence referred to Oswald Chambers and his wife, Biddy, staying with “the Hittles in Ohio,” when they visited the U.S. in the early 1900’s. Even though my searching led me to think that she was probably not part of that group, God still used that little sentence and Michelle’s subsequent comments to confirm my writing of this post about my Aunt Lois Hittle’s life. I highly recommend Mrs. Oswald Chambers as a book to put on your wishlist. You will be greatly encouraged!
Today I am linking with: