Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Bundle of Letters


Last summer I received a whole box full of snail mail, courtesy of my friend, Elizabeth, and 280 other people!

Elizabeth was planning to come up to visit me in July last year. Our two oldest sons were going to attend camp together, and Elizabeth was going to help me while the boys were at camp for the week. I was exhausted from taking care of a baby, and I was in need of some full time help for a while. Sadly, Elizabeth and her son had to cancel their trip. It was a big disappointment for all of us! We trusted that God’s plan was best, even though it hurt, and even though it was not the plan we would have chosen.

Because Elizabeth couldn’t come to see me in person, she decided to nominate me for a bundle of letters through www.moreloveletters.com. She shared a little bit of my story, and I was chosen as one of the August recipients!

During the month of August, when I was completely homebound and confined to bed for most of the day, 280 people I had never met were thinking of me, praying for me, and writing beautiful letters. They mailed them to Elizabeth, and in September, she packaged them up and mailed them to me.



I had no idea that such a package was coming. Tears filled my eyes as I read a card from my friend, telling me about More Love Letters and the 280 people who had written to me. I was amazed to learn that so many people I had never even met took the time to write encouraging letters to me.

The days and years of chronic illness are long, and often lonely. Receiving this bundle of letters in the mail was such a special gift! I was grateful for everyone who cared enough about a stranger to reach out and send such lovely words of encouragement.



I laughed when confetti fell out of this card! I read about a hundred letters on the day they arrived, and then I fell asleep from the exertion! My arms and my mind were tired, but my heart was so happy.



This note was one of my favorite ones. The woman who wrote it shared about Amy Carmichael and how she was confined to bed. She encouraged me to write just like Amy did.



It took me a week to read all of my letters. I cherished each one.



I kept this basket of letters in my room for 10 months, and I read each letter again. This second time through I went slowly, and I prayed for each individual who wrote to me. If you sent a letter to me in this bundle, you were prayed for specifically this past year.

Some of the people who wrote to me shared their own stories of hurt, chronic illness, and loneliness. Many of these people suffer much more than I do. I was humbled that they would take the time to reach out to me when they were facing such hard battles of their own. It was an honor to read their words and to pray for them.



A few of the people who wrote said they were praying that Elizabeth and her son would be able to come to Minnesota for a visit some other time that year. We live many hundreds of miles apart, and we did not think that would be a possibility at all, but you know what? It actually happened! They came up to visit for a weekend in the fall! The boys got to play together, and Elizabeth and I had time to visit.

Lord willing, Elizabeth and her son will be coming again soon, and our boys will get to go to camp together this summer! I am looking forward to time with my friend, and our sons are very excited about a week of camp. This time with our friends will be all the more precious after missing out on this special week last year.



Our visit with friends was one of our highlights 2018. And the bundle of letters was definitely a highlight too! As I read through all of the letters I was reminded how helpful it can be to reach out to friends and encourage them with a handwritten note. It can even be good to reach out to a stranger who is hurting and encourage them with a letter.

A couple of weeks ago I sent my first letter through More Love Letters. I was grateful to be able to reach out to someone who is hurting in the same way 280 people reached out to me last year. As I have the energy, I hope to send more letters to old friends and new friends!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Favorite Books of 2018

Last year I had a goal of reading 15 books. I knew I wouldn't be able to do much reading after Stafford was born, so I kept my goal pretty low. I was able to reach my goal, but I must admit that several of my books were very short!

Here are four of my favorite books from last year:



The Gospel According to Paul by John MacArthur

This is a wonderful book! John MacArthur clearly explains the gospel as it is taught through the letters of Paul in the Bible. Reading this book helped me to appreciate even more the sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf and to marvel at the beauty of the gospel. The Gospel According to Paul is a must-read!


Glorious Intruder by Joni Eareckson Tada

I often read a chapter in this book at night before falling asleep, and I’m so grateful for Joni’s encouragement through this book during a difficult year for me. No matter what you are suffering through in life, Joni’s words will help to encourage your heart and strengthen your spirit. This book contains very short chapters, which is very helpful for those who struggle with reading or brain fog.


Doing Life Together by Debbie Lillo

This is a great little book, and it is available for free on Kindle. Doing Life Together is a good resource for individuals and churches who wish to reach out to families affected by disability. It is very applicable for families who are affected by a disabling chronic illness as well. If someone came to me and asked for tips on how to reach out to the chronically ill in their church, this is one of the first books I would recommend.


God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell

Trillia has written a wonderful children’s book that shares the Gospel and God’s plan for a diverse people to worship Him. God’s Very Good Idea is filled with fun and colorful illustrations, and it will be a delight for parents and children to read together.


This year I have a goal of reading 20 books. I'm keeping up so far, but just barely!

What were your favorite books from last year? What books are you enjoying currently?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

He Is Risen

Happy Easter! He Is Risen!
Image: Full of Eyes

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. 
Luke 24:1-12


by Andrew Peterson
(If you are reading this in an email, you may click over to the blog to play the music.)
And so the winter dies with a blast of icy wind, like a mournful cry
It’s giving up the ghost again
Another sheet of snow melts away to gold and green, just look at Peter go
He’s racing to the tomb to see

Where has my Jesus gone? He is not dead; He is risen
Risen indeed

And now the flowers bloom like a song of freedom, behold the earth is new
If only for the season
And so the seed that died for you becomes a seedling
Just put your hand into the wound that bought your healing

And let your heart believe, He is not dead; He is risen
Risen indeed

And the rain will fall on the furrow
It immerses the earth in sorrow
Mary, the sun will rise again, Mary
The sun will rise again
Daughter, listen, listen, daughter
Listen, He speaks your name

Father Abraham could not have dreamed of this
Could never understand the end of all those promises
How all the pieces fit, every star and grain of sand
Is safely hid in Jesus’ hand

Let every tongue confess, He is not dead; He is risen
Risen indeed
He is not dead; He is risen, risen indeed 
Mary, the sun will rise again, Mary
The sun will rise again
Daughter, listen, listen, daughter
Listen, he speaks your name

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday


Image: Full of Eyes

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." 
John 3:16-18

Monday, April 15, 2019

Review: The Long Goodbye


One of my favorite bloggers was Kara Tippetts. She wrote at Mundane Faithfulness about motherhood and her journey with cancer. One of the things I appreciated so much about Kara was her absolute trust in God's sovereignty and in His good plan for her life, even though it wasn't the story she would have chosen.

Kara passed away four years ago, and her story is now being told through a new documentary, The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story. This documentary follows her journey as cancer slowly takes her. It is a sad story to watch, and yet it is also full of hope and beauty because Kara knew Jesus.



Some of my favorite scenes in the film were ones where Kara was spending time with her children in whatever way she could, even when she was confined to bed. Those moments were especially encouraging to me as a mom with a disabling chronic illness. I am homebound and have to spend the majority of my time resting in bed, so being able to catch a glimpse of another mom who was loving her children while exhausted and confined to bed was very encouraging to me.

Kara sought to be kind even when grieving and in pain. She had such a hard story, but she lived it well, and she trusted in Jesus through it all. She is an example of how to live well, and how to die well.



My favorite quote from Kara in this documentary:
The world says I should be angry, that I should be shaking my fist at God. I didn’t think at 38 I’d be battling cancer, but I am, and so I need to find contentment in that place. I want to be able to share this story that suffering isn’t a mistake, and it isn’t the absence of God’s goodness because He’s present in pain.

The documentary is very well done. I highly recommend it. It is sad and wonderful and hope-filled. It will help you to keep your eyes on Jesus as you persevere through whatever hard thing you have been called to endure.



The Long Goodbye
(If you are reading this in an email, you may click over to the blog to view the trailer.)


The documentary is available on DVD and digital. The DVD is my favorite of the two formats because it has bonus features with Joanna Gaines, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Ann Voskamp. You can find the DVD on Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, and Lifeway. The digital version can be found on Amazon, christiancinema.com, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu.

Photos are courtesy of Jay Lyons Productions.
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