Susannah Baker

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Video: Teens Trusting God in Seasons of Loneliness

Junior high, high school, and the early teenage years are often times when teens experience loneliness. But loneliness doesn’t have to be a burden; it can be a gift when used as a tool to turn to God and get to know Him and who He has made us to be. Join me and my daughter, Lillian, in a conversation to learn how God has used this very important tool in her life.

Video Blog: Teens Trusting God in Anxiety

Many teenagers and young people today struggle with overwhelming dread, fear, and anxiety. As parents, aunts, uncles, and mentors, we can often struggle with knowing how to help them fight their crippling, unseen fears. My 19 year old niece, Hannah, has battled anxiety the past five years, but she has learned how to fight her fears one step at a time. Listen and be encouraged as she shares her story and the tools that have helped her along the way.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Love Wins: A Story of Adoption, Redemption, and Love

On May 12, 2020, Posted by , in Adoption, Encouragement, Motherhood, With 5 Comments

I’ve known Nina Hendee a long time. I’ve known the warmth that radiates from her big, beautiful blue eyes. I’ve known the joy that emanates from every cell of her body even when, and especially when, life is hard. I’ve known the comfort of being a part of her family in some of my most difficult days. I’ve known her as a mentor, mom, role model, and friend.

But I’ve never known her as a fellow mom whose life had been touched by adoption until several months ago.

Jason and I were eating dinner at her family’s famous steakhouse restaurant, The Taste of Texas, when Nina came over to visit. As she pulled out her chair and sat down, she began to tell us a story. A story of herself as a seventeen-year-old girl who was pregnant and unmarried yet who made the courageous and inconvenient decision to carry her baby full term and surrender him to adoption.

She told us the story of holding him in her arms just once, only once, and telling him everything that was on her heart to say – all of her prayers, all of her hopes, and all of her dreams for his life. As she handed him over to the nurse, she handed him over to God with fervent, heartfelt prayers that he would be raised by a family who feared God and loved Him with all their hearts as she did.

And then she never saw him again.

Until the day a letter showed up in her mailbox forty-eight years later from the son she had surrendered long ago.

The letter was from a man named Kyle Poulson who had gone on the long, arduous, and vulnerable journey to find his birth mother, only to discover Nina Hendee at the end as his destination.

Their reunion over the past few months has been sweet and rich and redemptive – redemptive for several reasons.

One, all of Nina’s prayers for her son were realized and confirmed when Kyle walked into the room. He was adopted by parents who raised him as their beloved son with a strong and nurturing love for the Lord and for other people. They helped Kyle grow into a man any woman would be proud to call her son.

Two, I don’t know who Kyle imagined would be at the end of his journey to find the woman who gave him life, but my guess is never in his wildest dreams would he have thought that woman would be anyone as close in character and kindness and excellence as Nina Hendee. It was like he hit the jackpot of all jackpots in moms and in families.

But three, ten years ago, on February 13, 2010, Nina lost her son, Edd K. Hendee, in a tragic skiing accident. He left behind a grieving wife, children, parents, and two beautiful sisters. And I thought Nina had lost her only son.

But God has a strange and miraculous, almost incomprehensible, way of redeeming every story.

And when Kyle walked back into Nina’s life and into her family’s life forty-eight years later, Nina got back a son. No one can replace Edd, and that’s definitely not what I am suggesting.

But what I am saying is that when I watched a video this past Sunday about their story and the beauty of their reunion, my hope in a God who holds the power to redeem was renewed.

When Kyle’s face showed up on that screen and I saw Edd K’s eyes looking back at me, I wept at the ability of God to give us back here on this earth, in small part, what we have lost, with the sure promise of all He will restore and redeem one day in the future.

I was reminded anew that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).

I was reminded that the worst the enemy can do in our lives, God undoes (Genesis 50:20).

I was reminded that every decision we make to honor God and choose life never goes unnoticed or forgotten. It is like precious seed that is buried in the ground, and just when we think it is dead without any hope of resurrection, God speaks, and it blooms (Psalm 126:5-6; John 12:24).

And I was reminded that in the Kingdom of God, our greatest deaths and deepest surrenders end in life when we surrender them into God’s hands. They do so not because we are so good or so wise. They do because God is so good and so wise, and He holds the promise of our full redemption in His nail-pierced hands.

Nina, thank you for choosing life. Thank you for making the hard and gutsy decision to carry a baby only to entrust him to another. Thank you for loving life and loving adoption.

Thank you for walking through all of your trials with the hope of heaven in your heart. Thank you for reminding me that with every loss, with every surrender, and with every death, there is a God behind it all who holds hope, redemption, and life in His Hands.

You have painted a beautiful picture of the goodness of God with the choices you have made in your life, even when those choices have cost you something big. As I look at that picture, you have helped me love God and know God more. And for that, I speak for many who say, “Thank you.”

I can’t wait to be in heaven and see the fullness of His redemption with you one day.

To watch Kyle and Nina’s powerful and beautiful story, click on the link below:

Video: Encouragement for Moms

Happy Mother’s Day! While we are so thankful for the children God has given us, parenting can be hard on the heart. If you or your children are walking through a season of loneliness, don’t despair. Know God is using it for great good in their lives and in yours as well.

For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

While You Were Sleeping

On May 4, 2020, Posted by , in Coronavirus, Encouragement, With 5 Comments

Last week I shared the struggle I was having in sleeping through the night (click here to read). Through the words of Psalm 63, God reminded me to make a meal of His presence in the middle of the night instead of my worry. He also reminded me that when seasons of sleeplessness come (and they will – it’s part of being human), I am to remember His faithfulness and meditate on His word. Those two things provide comfort in the midst of despair, stability in the midst of uncertainty, and courage in the midst of fear.

Over the past week, through remembering and meditating on God’s word, my sleep has been much more sound, something for which I am deeply grateful. (If you want access to the questions and guide I use at night to help settle my heart and mind, it is attached to this blog post as well.)

But I’ve noticed when I wake up from a night of sleeping more soundly, I have to brush off a sense of despair the next morning. If I wasn’t awake worrying about my problems, was God actually and actively doing anything about them? Or did He need me to be awake in the middle of the night to keep things moving along in the direction I want them to go?

(I know this sounds ridiculous, but if I’m being honest and paying attention to the narrative of my heart, this is what I’m hearing.)

So one morning this weekend, after waking up from a night of sound sleep and actually feeling rested, I paused to ask God if He had been doing anything while I was sleeping. Because everything around me still looked the same. Same kitchen sink. Same view out my window. Same birds still chirping. Same people around me waking up with the same daily needs.

In the stillness, He invited me to take another look through another lens at the view outside my window.

And instead of seeing the same, I saw different. I saw a God who had been working, and I saw a world that had been renewed all while I had been sleeping.

I saw fields wet with dew that God had watered. I saw birds building nests with twigs and feeding babies with worms God had provided. I saw green grass sprouting up beside the withered brown, carpeting the world with newness. I saw a sky that had been painted with the dawn and a sun that had been summoned peeking up over the edge of the horizon ready to light up a dark world.

I saw the evidence of a God who had been working all the night through while I was sleeping re-painting, re-newing, re-telling the world and all who live in it the narrative of our lives: at the end of every night, there is a morning. At the edge of all darkness, there is a coming light. In every death and all that is withered, there is the promise of all that is new.

A dawn that breaks with hope. A morning that comes with healing in its wings, telling those of us who will stop long enough to listen that we have a God who never stops faithfully working, watering, feeding, clearing, harvesting, and renewing.

I can sleep as deeply and as soundly as I want. He does not need my worry. He cannot help but work to renew – that is just the kind of God He is. So don’t despair. You can trust the canvas of your life to the God who paints dawn onto darkness, all while you were sleeping.

“But for you who fear My Name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” Malachi 4:2

For more encouragement throughout the week, follow me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

When You Find It Hard to Sleep

On April 29, 2020, Posted by , in Coronavirus, Encouragement, With No Comments

I’ve been awake at night quite a lot lately. Tossing, turning, eyes wide open, thoughts racing.

The last time this happened with this much regularity was when we brought our youngest daughter home from China four and a half years ago. I spent the first six months she was home wide awake from about midnight until my alarm went off at 6am. It led to a season of anxiety and depression on a level I haven’t experienced since.

So entering into seasons of sleeplessness can freak me out a little. I grow anxious that I am headed for another season marked by anxiety and depressions. (Sounds counter-productive, I know.)

But I learned a few things during that season of sleeplessness that I dusted off and pulled back out to try to help me sleep in the current season we are in.

Because there are a lot of things to wake up in the middle of the night about right now – things like a global pandemic, people I love who are in the high-risk category of catching the virus, a crashed national economy, closed stores and restaurants, joblessness, finances – or the lack thereof, and family dynamics with everyone home seven days out of the week.

While I might not be aware during the waking hours that I am overtly anxious about anything, what I am discovering is a low-level constant thrum of anxiety that underscores everything in my day and wakes me up when I am fast asleep at night.

My body has responded to this low-level thrum with headaches as well as sleeplessness, and after my fifth headache in ten days, I realized I had to get serious about dealing with the anxiety that was settling in on my soul.

Sometimes I can beat myself up for things like sleeplessness or headaches or weariness when I know I should be sleeping soundly and trusting the Lord instead of fretting and worrying underneath the surface.

So I was comforted and surprised to open my Bible to Psalm 63 this weekend and read these words:

(5) “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,
(6) when I remember You upon my bed,
and meditate on You in the watches of the night;
(7) for You have been my help,
and in the shadow of Your wings
I will sing for joy.
(8) My soul clings to You;
Your Right Hand upholds me.”
Psalm 63:5-8

I was comforted to read that inserted into the Psalm 63 is the assumption that we will be up in the watches of the night. In other words, God knows there will be times, like times when there is a global pandemic, that His people will struggle to sleep.

He doesn’t berate us or beat us up for that, rather, He instructs us what to do and where to go when we find our thoughts racing at 3am. In verses five and six, David, the psalmist, implies that he is feasting on a meal in the middle of the night. But instead of feeding on worry, the psalmist implies he is feasting on God, so much so that his soul is “satisfied as with fat and rich food.” He isn’t making a meal of his worry; he is making a meal of His God. And he does that in two different ways:

He remembers.

He meditates.

Earlier on in the psalm in verses 2-3, he writes, “So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.” In these verses, David is choosing to remember three specific things about God: His power – God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do, His glory – who He is is more satisfying than anything else this world could offer, and His steadfast love – in a world where the only thing certain is uncertainty, God’s love never fails.

These are the things that hold David’s thoughts and feed David’s soul in the middle of the night.

Throughout Scripture, God’s people are commanded to remember who God is and what God does – His saving acts in history and His personal saving acts towards us.

And we are commanded to remember because we are a people prone to forget. I forget what we ate for dinner last night and the activities we did two days much less the countless ways God was faithful in my life a decade ago.

But when I wake up in the middle of the night, I have a choice: I can feed my worry by rehearsing all the ways I could fail the next day, all of the things that could go, and probably will go, wrong, or I can remember God’s power, glory, and steadfast love to His people throughout the centuries and in my very own life.

I’ll take the latter.

But it’s so very hard to do.

That’s why the second way David makes a meal of God’s character is so very helpful. Not only does he remember God’s character and God’s works, but he also meditates. He takes a passage, a verse, a phrase, or even a word or two from the Word of God and thinks through all of its implications for life (for a more complete definition of “meditate,” see Tim Keller’s book, The Songs of Jesus, January 1st). In other words, he slowly, deliberately, and methodically takes tiny morsels from the Word of God and feeds on them, chews them, and digests them by applying them to the very real needs and potential trouble spots or worries in his life.

While this sounds like a great practice, I don’t know about you, but this is very hard to do at 3:13am when my eyes pop wide open, my heart starts pounding, and my thoughts start racing. It feels like I have absolutely no control over my thoughts that are spiraling out of control.

But I have found that with God’s Word, I do. Sometimes this requires getting out of bed, taking my Bible in hand, and finding a quiet spot in the house to read and pray through Scripture until I am to fall back asleep.

But more often than that, remembering and meditating begins with the last thing I do before I fall asleep. I keep a Bible on the nightstand beside my bed, and right before I am about to turn out the light, I turn to one of a handful of psalms that speak to me about the faithfulness and goodness of God. I slowly read through the Psalm and choose one or two phrases to “meditate on,” or think specifically and deliberately about for three to five minutes.

To help me do this, I sometimes even take deep breaths – four counts in and eight counts out – and then I pray, committing my night’s sleep to the Lord, and turn out my light.

This exercise does not ensure I will sleep through the night – but what it does ensure that when my eyes pop open, my heart starts beating out of my chest, and my mind starts racing, I am more easily able to reign it in by remembering phrases from the psalm I read before I turned out my light.

I will often lie there in the dark taking deep breaths – four counts in, eight counts out – and rehearse Psalm 37:3 – “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.”

Or I will slowly chew on the words from Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Or I will meditate on the character of God from Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

I have found the faster I can reign in my thoughts and focus on God, the faster I can slow down my heart, close my eyes, and reign my swirling thoughts back in. I don’t always fall back into a sound sleep, but when I make a meal out of God’s power, glory, and steadfast love rather than gorge myself on fretful thoughts about the next day, next month, or the next year, I wake up rested and able to enter into the duties of the day instead of feeling like I wrestled all night with an unseen enemy.

If you are struggling with sleeplessness during this season like me, consider putting a Bible, journal, and pen by your bed. Before turning off the light, consider picking one portion of Scripture to read, and then meditate on one or two phrases from that portion for 3-5 minutes. Take deep breaths – four counts in, eight counts out – and to close your time, write down one way God has been faithful in the past, either to you or to His people throughout history, and then write down one of His characteristics you can feed on during the night if your mind jolts you awake.

If you are not sure where to begin reading in your Bible at night, consider starting with some of my favorite places to turn: Psalm 4, Psalm 16, Psalm 23, Psalm 37, Psalm 63, Psalm 131, and Psalm 143. You can spend a whole week reading slowly and deliberately though one, or rotate through all seven, assigning a different one for each day of the week.

You can print off the image below and use it to help you create a bedtime routine, or follow the prompts and write them down in your own journal. But whatever you do, don’t feed on worry. It makes for a terrible meal and leaves you without energy for the responsibilities of the following day. But feed on God’s faithfulness. He has been there in the past and He will continue to be with us in the present and future, through every wakeful night and day.

For more encouragement throughout the week, follow me on Instagram @baker.susannah.

Video: Listening to the Voice of the Heart

Learning to find comfort and peace when our normal comforts are gone requires listening to the heart and allowing God to meet our needs. But God’s Word tells us it is possible to have abundance even in seasons of leanness when we trust in Him.

To order your copy of Chip Dodd’s book The Voice of the Heart, click here.

For more encouragement throughout the week, follow me on Instagram @baker.susannah

When It’s Hard to Have Closer Family Relationships

On April 20, 2020, Posted by , in Coronavirus, Encouragement, With 9 Comments

School is cancelled. Let me say that again – school is officially cancelled. And while that may bring shouts of joy and cheer to our children, it could also bring sobs of deep anguish from parents. While stay-at-home restrictions are gradually being lifted, we still have a long road of close quarters ahead of us.

My pastor, Gregg Matte, preached a great sermon yesterday. His text was Philippians 4:1-5, and while he drew many great points from the passage, one point in particular keeps rolling around in my heart and head: during this time of corona quarantine, the number one goal isn’t knocking it out of the park on your kid’s algebra homework, and it isn’t making sure they have all A’s by the end of the semester in just a few short weeks. The number one goal by the end of this stay-at-home time, however long it lasts, is to have closer relationships – first with God, and then with one another.

Four weeks ago, closer family relationships sounded really nice. It sounded comfortable and cozy and fun. Like we would all just sit around and play board games, take bike rides, and eat dinner around the table together every night. But now, closer family relationships sound downright exhausting. Can I be frank for just one moment? I don’t want to be closer to people in my family right now. I want to have a stay-at-home week by myself. With no people in it. And that’s because, at this point, we have all been in close quarters for so long, all the cozy, comfortable, niceness has worn off. We are now relating to each other out of the frayed edges of weariness and boredom with no end in sight.

Close relationship with my family members is going to require more than a board game or a nice meal around the table together. It’s going to require repentance and forgiveness.

And that’s because, in the words of my pastor, “A different set of social circumstances can both reveal and heal problems.” (To listen to his full sermon, click here.)

Many things have been healed over the past few weeks. Slowing down and staying home together has taken the edge of hurry out of my voice and enabled me to speak kindly and tenderly to my children instead of impatiently and angrily. It’s allowed me to enjoy my children instead of just managing my children and getting them out the door for the next activity.

But this time has also revealed things in me, my marriage, my children, and my extended family relationships. It’s revealed the true dynamic of our relationships, not just the pretend dynamic it’s easy to put on when you only have a few hours to be around someone. A few weeks? Now that’s a different story.

So what now? If you, like me, find yourself more argumentative and irritable than you were a few weeks ago, hit the pause button on relationships that seem to be pressing on a particular nerve. Take the advice of 17th century British pastor and poet George Herbert and “Take some time to be alone; see what thy soul doth wear.”

Maybe taking some time alone means getting up earlier than anyone else in your house. Maybe it means taking a walk by yourself where you can out think and pray. Or maybe it means escaping to a quiet corner of the driveway or backyard while everyone else is inside watching a movie (this is what movies for children are for – to help moms regain their sanity).

But whatever you do, be quiet and still enough to allow God do some searching of you instead of you doing all the searching and talking to God.

Only God has both the power and the goodness to see into the human heart and not only show us what is there but help us walk out of the habits and patterns that hinder relational intimacy with the people we love most and then lead us in a way that is everlasting and true (Psalm 139:23-24)/LINK.

What this requires from us is enough humility to sit still and listen. It requires us be willing to admit we don’t have all the answers and it requires us being willing to admit whenever there is an argument, rub, or misunderstanding, it takes two to tango. The problem usually never lies completely with the other person – we have to own our part as well.

This past week, it took me a full week to be willing to admit my part. It took a lot of wrestling, soul searching, and prayer.

But finally, once I was able to admit I had far more pride than I had dared to believe, I was able to repent, not just to the Lord but to the person I had wronged.

This stay-at-home time God has given us is to build closer relationships. But we are naive to think that closeness will come without conflict and without repentance. At some point, somebody’s going to have to give. Somebody’s going to have to say, “I’m sorry.” Somebody is going to have to take ownership for their part in a disagreement or a relational dynamic that seems entirely the other person’s fault. And then, and only then, will healing come.

Your conflict could be with your spouse or with your teenager or with your toddler. It could be with your roommate or your co-worker or your boss or your parents or your extended family.

But the fact of the matter is: this closeness is a gift and these people aren’t going away. Not for a while at least. So take the time to deal with the rut in your heart and the rut in the relationship, own your part, seek forgiveness, and move on. Or the rub can continue into the days and weeks ahead and instead of emerging from this time closer to the people you love, you will walk away with deeper ruts and higher walls. What it will cost you is your pride. But take it from a fellow traveller – pride isn’t worth holding onto. It makes for a terrible quarantine companion.

But humility lays the ground for real relationships and healed relationships instead of drawn battle lines and rifts in relationships.

So lay down your defenses, get alone with God, and get real about your pride. Pick up repentance and draw close to God and others in humility. Real, restored relationship is waiting.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.

Philippians 4:1-5

For more encouragement throughout the week, follow me on instagram @baker.susannah

An Interview with Jason Baker: Steady Hope in Unsteady Times

On April 17, 2020, Posted by , in Coronavirus, Encouragement, Video Weekly Words, With 12 Comments

At the end of the week with mounting pressure and growing weariness, I interviewed my husband, Jason, a business owner here in Houston. We talk openly and honestly about the challenges and necessity of depending on God and His Word and what this looks like from a practical standpoint each and every day.

For more encouragement throughout the week, follow me on Instagram @baker.susannah

When Life Feels Like You’re In a Rock Tumbler

On June 29, 2018, Posted by , in Encouragement, With 5 Comments

It’s been a month since I last blogged, and for that, I apologize!  I wasn’t planning on taking a break from blogging, but once June hit the calendar, I quickly realized it was either take a break from blogging, or blogging with everyone home for summer would break me!

To catch you up on our summer so far, Caroline turned 8 on June 3rd –










Lillian turned 12 on June 15th –

Lizzie turned 10 on June 18th –


And to start us all off, Jason turned a very young 47 on May 16th –

Added to the June mix were two nieces’ and one nephew’s birthdays, my brother-in-law’s birthday the same day as Lizzie’s, and the celebration of my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary.

I have to echo the sentiments of my father-in-law who said at the end of June, “I CANNOT eat one more piece of cake!”  Amen, Papa, amen.

So here we are the first week of July, birthdays behind us, finally settling into the slower, blessed rhythms of summer.

And with my three oldest girls being at camp this week, I’ve had plenty of time to think about the rhythm of where we’ve been the past few weeks and where we are headed.

And one place we’ve been is in a rock tumbler.  Not a real tumbler, but a proverbial tumbler of sorts.  And I’ve learned that I don’t do well in tumblers.  Because in tumblers, you do one thing – you roll around and around in the same small space with no way out of hitting other rocks.  And that’s what the past few weeks have felt like to me.  Fun?  Yes.  Celebratory?  Yes.  Mayhem?  Yes.  But margin?  No.  Order, rhythm, and routine?  Not a chance.  Bumping shoulders with other people who demands things of you and need things from you from a 7am to an 11pm basis?  Yes.  Coming face-to-face with your own short-comings and short-fuse and quick temper on a regular basis?  Yes.

Remember my blog post about how to make the most out of your summer by inserting margin?  LINK HERE Well, that hasn’t happened here.  Not in June anyway.  I’m now needing to take my own advice.  Because as someone who likes order, routine, margin, and rhythm, after tumbling around in the chaos of June, I always emerge with bumps and bruises from the other rocks in my small space.

I wonder if you can relate.  I wonder if you ever have seasons in your life that feel tight, narrow, cramped and confined, with not a lot of space to breathe.  I wonder if in that small space you have people with sharp edges who hit your sharp edges, and because of the small space, you end up hitting and bumping into each other over and over and over again.

It’s not a fun feeling, is it?

But check out what a rock tumbler produces:

Through the process of remodeling our home, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a carpenter named Chris.  Chris is close to my age, but life looks like it has given him quite a few tumbles.  His sharp edges have worn into rutted wrinkles, and no matter how down and out he’s been, he’s always got candy, a cookie, or something fun to share with those around him.  Several months ago, he gave Mia Grace her first twinkie, and they have been fast friends ever since.

Several weeks ago, the last time we were around Chris, he emerged from his car holding rocks.  Lots and lots of rocks.  Apparently, he collects them.  Finds them in driveways, scoops them out of dirt, brushes off their grime, and then tosses them in his tumbler.  And for weeks on end, his regular old driveway rocks tumble around and around and around.  And when they emerge from the tumbles, they have been transformed from regular old driveway rocks no one would give a second look…to treasure.

Colors that were once buried burst forth in deep blues, greens, reds, and clearest crystal.

Edges that were once sharp and rough are now supple and smooth.

All that was hidden to the eye because of a dirty outer shell is now visible because of the knocks in the small space of the tumbler.

That puts a different twist on tumblers, doesn’t it?  Because as painful and undesirable as they might be, tumblers have a way of putting us into contact with people and circumstances that knock the edges off of our hearts, the sharpness off of our personalties, and the grime off of our souls that has accumulated for years.  Tumblers have a way of forcing us into tight spaces we cannot leave or escape from, spaces that feel dark, narrow, painful, and chaotic, so that true treasure can emerge.

So here’s what I’ve learned: for tumblers to be effective, we need other rocks to be in there with us.  The idea of a quiet life, unhindered by children who demand things of you or personalties or people with sharp edges is appealing.  We just want to be left alone to enjoy life in a quiet space.

But why?  For what purpose?  If we were left alone, what would be the end result?  To remain an ordinary driveway rock, covered by layers of self and dirt?  No thank you.  I’ll take the tumbler.

I’ll take the tumbler of June and all the people and personalities that go with it.  I’ll take the knocks off the edges of my anger and frustration when I am left without margin.  I’ll take the exposure that comes when I am at my limit, stretched to the max in a small space, for the colors that emerge.  I’ll take the tumbler.

So today, think about the people and places that consistently rub you the wrong way.  Think about the small spaces from which it feels like you cannot escape.  And then press in to the Lord in prayer, and thank Him.  Thank Him for the gift of the hard things that have the power to rub off your edges and transform your heart into true, lasting treasure.

I’m going to be taking some time off in July to rest, pray, and be still with my Heavenly Father.  If you need time to rest as well, consider using my prayer guide, Secure, along with its companion journal to help you in the format of prayer and the book A Praying Life by Paul Miller to help you in the posture of prayer.  Secure is up for pre-sale on Amazon and will be ready to ship out on July 20th.  If would like a copy now and live in the Houston area, they are available at CornerBooks at Houston’s First Baptist Church.  I will be back, rested, recharged, and ready to write again in August.  I will look forward to re-connecting at the end of the summer.