Tag Archives: salvation

The Pregnant Pause

It was our early marriage season “B.C” (before children) and we were young, wild and more or less “free”. Thanks to the USAF, we were enjoying a period of relative stability. For the first time in our recent history the pay was steady,  we had a solid place to live and felt the freedom to enjoy and explore our surroundings.   Life was good.

We lived in a small Illinois suburb just outside of St. Louis, no more than 40-minutes from a great zoo, a public museum, and a large city park with miles of trails for biking. Escaping as often as we could, time was spent taking in all the city had to offer.

This also included public performances from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. One of the lesser-known secrets of my soul is the love of good, classical music— Mozart in particular— and up until then, I had never seen a live orchestral performance. Having this kind of access was a treat for my senses and beauty-hungry soul.

To watch so many highly-skilled individual artists come together as a whole and fill a room with centuries-old music was a feast.  More modern pieces were presented as well and it was the first-time experience of one in particular that I’ll never forget: Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”.

The Pregnant Pause

To write this moment requires a loosening of my vocabulary— there’s simply no other fitting approach. Imagine: the sensation of being surrounded— nearly drowning in the sound of stringed instruments, spinning out and unraveling in an almost unbroken flow of sound. Swaying and swirling, ribbons of music unfurl, build and fill up every bit of available space within the possible range of hearing and come in so steady, without hastening or quickening the pace. You know you’re being taken someplace but you’re not quite sure where.

Note upon note is drawn between bow and string, as a pool of instruments measures out and pours upon the audience in a slow, steady stream…the sound now drawing us upward, drawing our ear and eye-gaze higher and higher still— narrowing, focusing….suspending over us as far to the peak of purity as it can go until you know— there’s nowhere left to go…       not one.   step.   more.

Then silence.
Absolute          silence.

As full as it had been only moments before, the room now echoes with spacious silence as the last few vaporous notes trail away and become memory.

And it lasts for quite a long time. The silence.  Almost to the point you may wonder if the piece is over and yet the Conductor doesn’t move— his hands are still in the air. The instrumentalists remain stock still with bows suspended against their strings, frozen in that silence.           Waiting.

It’s nerve-wracking, the ominous wait, the absence of sound and the fantastical fullness of the silence. The contrast is mesmerizing. Then…right about the time you’re certain you can take it no more— surely something must be wrong, the Conductor moves ever so slightly and the notes ease back into place falling in a much quieter decrescendo, working their way towards the finish line, backing away from the silence that was wholly necessary to the piece.

The silence that was planned all along. The silence that makes the sound more beautiful.


This is my soul on this and most every Good Friday.

As the events of Holy week have once again unfolded before me, I’ve done my best to walk as a Pilgrim with others alongside our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ all the way to the cross.      All the way to today.

All the way from the clash with the religious leaders in the temple, to Mary’s alabaster offering and on through the cacophonous cries of Hosanna! lining the Jerusalem roadside.

I stood outside the door of the Upper Room and saw the kneeling and the washing, the bread and cup lifted up, and the hand against His on the table. I heard Him sing a song.  I stumbled along to Gethsemane and tried to keep my soul keen and awake for this one hour as the tension built and the blood-sweat trailed down his cheeks, soon to be kissed and called, “Rabbi”.

I stood in the shadows with Peter, saw the spitting mockery, the lashes and then heard the rooster crow in the distance and those same Hosanna voices turning inward on themselves, dipping into their own souls… my soul… and twisting back out into an ugly…CRUCIFY! 

The crown, the cross, the crowd.
The forgiveness, the forsaking, the cry… it is finished!

Then silence.

Sundown, the tomb and nightfall leading into the long    silence     of Saturday.

These are the moments that get me the most. As I try to imagine the grief of Peter and the dazed fear and disappointment of the disciples—maybe mixed with disgust— who had to be reliving every one of these moments over and over in their minds. Remembering just a week ago and now THIS? Wondering, “How did we get here?   Now what”?

That soul-stifling silence that you never expect to end. Death and the grave. Shattered dreams and expectations lay crushed beneath the weight of the enormous silence of Saturday.

Yes…Sunday is coming but Saturday doesn’t know it… yet.

Somewhere in the early morning hours on that 3rd day, God moved ever so slightly and the song continued. The stone was rolled away and the body wasn’t there. Because He lives!

Here we are:  with the possibility of being the people of Sunday and the risen Savior who can find measured joy in this Holy week, remembering our forgiveness purchased in these unfolding events and all the prophesy foretold of them since the Dawn of Time— we can anchor ourselves in these moments because–HALLELUJAH!– the story…the song— didn’t end in the silence of Saturday.   Not at all. 

The Witness

It’s something we must remember. It’s stated in one of the earliest creeds we know today how He suffered, he died and was buried. On the 3rd day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He is seated at the right hand of the Father and….. He will come again to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end. 

He’s coming back.

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Last week I danced on the fringes of this thought:

“Rescue and redemption are costly.”

If that’s true then, what am I willing to spend for wholeness? It’s a question lurking at the edges of my mind for a while. You know how you get to that place where you’ve travelled a path so familiar you’re not really paying attention? Then a day comes, perhaps when you have to take a slightly different route and suddenly you’re noticing things — little things that were always there but now you really see them.

It’s true with places and with people.

Simple circumstances or an earth shaking crisis cause shifts in our landscape and if we are halfway awake, we might begin to see and notice things differently. We might finally see what’s important.

Sometimes we find a deeper grace. 



I see it in often in my relationship with God and especially through the Scriptures.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened to a passage so familiar when suddenly, a new understanding pools and collects on the page before me.  Combined with my angle and attitude of approach, the Spirit speaks in just the way my wandering and wondering heart needs to hear.

It happened not long ago at a women’s conference as speaker, Kim Hardy taught from a passage I’ve travelled many times in my years walking with Jesus. In fact, it’s the first passage I ever shared with a group of women nearly twelve years ago.

Twelve years.
Now, that’s no coincidence.

Her somewhat familiar story is found in three of the four Gospels but Mark says it best:

A woman with a “condition”.
Twelve years and she’s spent in every way you can imagine.
So desperate for healing that when she hears reports about Jesus, she knows exactly what she must do.
She has to get to Jesus. He is her only hope.

There was a “great throng” of people crowding around Jesus as he travelled that day;  a shoulder to shoulder crush of people struggling forward all trying to have a moment with the Master.

{side note: I’ve never been in a throng but it makes me anxious unto puking just to think about it!}

It was a throng  so thick you just couldn’t walk through it. This woman had to crawl.. on the ground, through the dirt. Hands, knees, belly. Then,  with a final desperate push, her hand manages to graze the hem of Jesus’s garment.

And I’m just struck wildly by this picture. I mean, can you imagine what she was thinking? Her frame of mind …  …her freakin’ passion??!?!

She was healed….immediately.

Jesus stops in his tracks and in a throng-stopping voice asks, “Who touched Me?” And you know… those disciples testify truthfully when they basically say, “Hello?! Do you not see this throng of people pushing and grabbing at you? Master, you are getting touched left and right!” (Lorretta’s  imperfect paraphrase)

Now…here’s where I’m blown away anew. This woman is already healed. She got what she believed she came for.  And we all know Jesus knew exactly who touched Him and why because that woman didn’t just touch Jesus. No,

He touched her first.

Before she ever left the house the story of Jesus had reached her ears and her heart and touched her soul so deeply that she unquestioningly knew what she wanted to do. Before she ever got on the ground to crawl through the dirt to where He was, she was already touched by Him.  He released his power, she didn’t “steal” or take it.

So when she steps up to show herself, she then does the very thing that completes her healing. She confesses— she tells Jesus–and everyone else  by the way, the whole story.

The. WHOLE. story.

Jesus responds with these words: “Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:34)

She came for healing and Jesus showed her holy making her… whole and His.


This woman’s story of rescue and redemption just teaches me SO much on every level:

  • She was spent and desperate and willing to submit her whole self to Jesus.  …Am I?
  • She was brave. She spent her last bit as she stepped beyond her fears and confessed  the WHOLE story. She didn’t care who else heard or about possible retribution (c’mon, a hemorrhaging discharge?… use your imagination) ….Can I?
  • She testified then and her life is testifying still. ….Will I?

And just what is her testimony for me today? Faithfulness? Courage? Healing? Yes. All that and much more.

Because the story really isn’t about her is it?      It’s about Jesus.
And it’s not only about His power to heal a disease.     He can and sometimes does.
See, this woman wasn’t only healed; she was changed.    She was saved.

Oh, and what was her name?

We don’t know… maybe because it doesn’t matter, even to her.  So healed was she that from there on after, it didn’t matter if she had a name…

because she now has a Savior.
That’s where her story continues to point us to: Jesus.

God Reveals

Honestly, it kinda scares the waddin’ out of me. 
Because I don’t know exactly what it might look like to daily live this kind of spent and be the kind of desperate that no matter what else is going on, I just HAVE to get to Jesus because He is my only hope.

But I’m willing to try.  To try and tell only about Him with my WHOLE story because I’ve been so changed by his healing rescue and redemption that my story points other always to Him and nothing else matters.   Not even my name

I wanna stay spent because rescue and redemption are costly. Oh Lord help me be brave like her.

What about you dear friend?  What are you willing to spend for wholeness?


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Thanks living

I was going through some old files on my computer last night when I came across this conversation I’d recorded between Granny and I about 7 years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it!  A lot has changed since then; Granny is now 102 (almost 103) and has moved into assisted living care since the death of my beloved Mother-in-law, Charlotte, who was her primary caregiver.  I’ve dusted it off and found a few pictures to share as well…of Vera Gresham, a.k.a “Granny”.


“Lorrie,  could you come here just a minute” I heard Granny call from the other room.

“Sure.” I said. I met Granny in the doorway of her bedroom. She motioned to the bed. “Could you help me change the sheets on my bed? I have been meaning to change them and I thought you wouldn’t mind doing it for me.”

“Of course not Granny” I said, “I’m happy to help.”. Strangely, I was remembering Jesus words in my bible reading the night before  speaking on how his disciples should consider it an honor and to serve without expecting any further recognition. This was my chance to practice on that thought some more. Little did I know,  the gift I believed I’d be offering to her  was soon to be mine instead.

We moved to either side of the bed and began to remove the sheets.

“I usually do this myself” she said, “but it takes me about 45 minutes to get it done because I have to sit on the edge of the bed  and feel my way as I go around.” Granny, then 96 and nearly blind from macular degeneration, had lost little of her spunk and kept plugging along at whatever she felt she could manage.

As I helped her peel off the sheets and pillowcases, I smiled at her neatly folded nightgown and socks left underneath her pillow awaiting use that evening. Looking around her room, everything was in order–where she could find it easily by memory or touch. Meanwhile, she rummaged around in her dresser for a set of matching sheets and finally came up with the set she wanted. I stood there amazed at her ability to still be able to find what she needed although most of her sight was gone.

As we worked together we chatted a bit. And then a quiet settled in as I began to smooth and tuck. Granny broke the silence.

“You know Lorrie, I can’t go on for much longer.”

This was more than a statement of obvious information coming from a woman in her late 90’s. I could tell by the tone in her voice that she was deeply concerned. “Yes Granny, I know. What’s worrying you?”

“You’re right I’m worried. Worried that I will lose my mind and end up not being able to care for myself here any longer. I don’t want to go to a nursing home and I know I can’t get anyone to stay here with me and couldn’t afford that anyway.”

I confess to being just a little amused inside. It wasn’t funny at all but, here was Granny, worried about losing her grannys-hands1mind and yet seemed to have so much more of it intact than most folks 20 years her junior! Still, this was a serious concern for all of us and most certainly for her. I wanted to reassure her in any way possible that someone would always be there for her.

“No Granny, I feel like if you were going to lose your mind, it would already have happened.”

Still,  she went on to explain how she just couldn’t remember things the way she used to. How she couldn’t remember something from yesterday, but that she often could recall with such clarity things that happened to her when she was just a girl. I knew that quite probably her short term memory was slipping because she could no longer really see things to cement the memory in her mind whereas those other things still seem bright and clear because, although they’ve faded some, they still hold the color and light from long ago.

Vera GreshamI decided to ask her a few questions about her early years and she began to rattle off stories of girls and parties, dresses and gardens and early Christmases. She told of marriage and babies and a photograph of her children that got her in quite a bit of trouble with Granddaddy! It seemed like she was in a talkative mood so I decided to ask her then the most important question of all. One I’d been hesitant to ask before.

“Granny, how old were you when you accepted Jesus as your Savior?” She stopped to think…maybe a bit surprised that anyone had asked her at all.

She  said, “Honey, I just can’t remember how old I was but I will never forget that day. I sat there in that Methodist church and I just felt something, I don’t know…just a “spirit” telling me to go down to the altar. The Preacherman  just kept talking and I knew I just had to go on down. I did and they took me off to a little room and prayed with me some. When I came back to my seat, Granddaddy was there and he said to me ‘Gosh, if I’da known you was going to go down, I’da gone with you.’ I told him I didn’t even know it myself! I’ve never forgotten that a day in my life.”

And it seemed to me that of all the things she could remember and of all the things she’d forgotten, Granny had known and remembered the most important thing at all; the day she met Jesus.

“You forgot a pillow case Granny.”  Expertly, she rustled through the dresser drawer and even half-blind pulled out just the right one. Amazing.

“Granny, it seems to me  that you still remember all the right things. Not every thing, but you remember what counts. When the time comes, Jesus will give you and the rest of us the peace we need to make the journey. For now, let’s just be here where we are and go there when we have to”

“That’s right.” she declared firmly, the tension gone from her voice. “And don’t tuck the bottoms in so tight, I need to leave a little “give” in the bottom of these sheets for my feet.” She tugged out a pocket, evenly all the way across the bottom and once again I stood amazed.

And I’m still thankful for the remembrance of that day 6 or 7 years ago and what I discovered with Granny while helping her change the bedsheets. I’m glad she met Jesus at some point in her life and I feel certain that she knows Him. I’m glad I asked.

Visiting with GrannyWe went to visit Granny again this past week. She is now in a very nice assisted living center and in her words, “Just does what she can!” At 102, you can’t ask for much more than that I suppose. She can’t see much beyond shadows but once you get her talking, she just goes on and on!

She cried when we left and my heart was broken. We couldn’t stay but I pray everyday that Jesus will show up and keep her company until the Lord calls her home to heaven where she belongs.

And my prayer for you Dear Reader is that you have this same sweet assurance for yourself and your loved ones so that at the end of your life and theirs here on earth, it will only be a moment of sweet transition.

If you don’t know, ask and be prepared to share the hope. If you need to know, here is a good place to start.

******Note: We’ve just received the call that “Granny” Vera Gresham passed into the arms of Jesus this morning at 1:00. No doubt her daughter, our beloved Charlotte greeted her warmly with, “Mother? What took you so long to get here?” We love you Granny.