Saturday, July 3, 2010

Boy, I needed that….


Vacation that is….I took my four youngest children to Florence, KY for a mini vacation.   We had a wonderful time!


We visited the Creation Museum, Newport Aquarium and the Cincinnati Zoo.   All in all it was a lovely time and a fabulous rest from the treadmill.

Waiting for me when I got home was this wonderful swap package!  (notice the Golding spindle?  my first!)



I also got my order from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (I have a thing for these perfumes)


And finally since the first day of TDF is today I spent an hour spinning camel on my drop spindle :)



Friday, June 11, 2010

Remember me…


Today is the 5 year anniversary of the day we lost our son and were forced to live the rest of our lives without him. I hope you will take a moment to read the following excerpt of his journal, which we found after his death.

The War
How I see it.....
Todd Louis Peck II, February 2005
My intention in this journal is to record as best as possible the spiritual warfare surrounding my recent relapse of cancer so that I may later remember the lessons learned and perhaps share them with others. In fact, sharing the lessons is actually the bigger of my two reasons. My greatest hope is that through my fight and this record of it, others will be equipped and encouraged to take the fight to the Enemy. I believe that all of life is a war fought over the souls of each individual and everything that happens in life somehow fits into this war, whether we know it or not. So when hardships and trials come they ought to be viewed as Enemy attacks and dealt with accordingly.
In war, the purpose of any attack is, of course, to gain some sort of advantage that will in some way bring you nearer ultimate victory. Rather, that sought after advantage is the destruction of some threat which the other has or the gaining of a position that leaves you a better position to threaten the other. The point is always to somehow harm the other's overall position in the great scheme of things.
Thus, this relapse of cancer that God allowed was and is inteneded by the Enemy to somehow gain him something. That something, in this case, is porobably to neutralize what the Enemy's high command perceives as a danger to their war efforts.
That threat may or may not be me (thought I like ot flatter myself that it is) but the fact is that, for whatever reason, I seem to have been chosen as the main point of attack. I therefore, as a soldier in the King's Army, have responsibility to stand and fight to make sure that the Enemy gains not an inch. For it is my (and every soldier's) duty to even turn this attack to the advantage of the Cause and the glory of the King.
This whole thing reasches far beyond me, however. It reaches into my family and into my church and community. I am just on fect of what is a large and complex battle being fought in this small theater of operation called West Michigan. The full extent of this larger fight I will not ever be able to fully comprehend this side of Heaven. Nor will I likely ever understand the extent to which my own standing or falling will influence the larger picture but I will stand!
Indeed, I am resolved to not just stand, but advance! I may be a small part of a huge batle but I will press my influence to its limits for the sake of the Cause.
Lord, have mercy if I should be cut down (i.e. if I allow the Enemy to get the better of me) fo rthe greater the effort, the greater the defeat in the case of failure. But by the grace of God, I shall not fail! As He wills, so may it be. Amen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010



I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;  they shall never hold their peace day or night.  You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give HIM no rest until HE establishes and until HE make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.  Is. 62:6-7

last night marked week 18 of Near.  each week God has been faithful to listen, each week God has been faithful to speak.

there has been answered prayer for tangible things….a new washing machine

there has been answered prayer for the unseen….a wounded heart beginning the healing process

each week He seemed to work on a theme:

help me to love You….

help me to wait on You….

Micah 7:7 but as for me I will watch expectantly for the Lord, I will wait for the God of my Salvation.  my God will hear me.

help me to walk in freedom….

Is. 52:2 shake yourself from the dust o captive jerusalem.  loose yourself from the chains around your neck, o captive daughter of zion

help me to trust you….

Jer. 1:19  they will fight against you but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you declares the Lord

let me know You….

teach me to die…

2 Cor. 4:7 for the love of God controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died. 

last night Is. 62:6-7 spoke to my husband and I in a profound way…

Lord teach us to pray.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mr. Scientist You Can Keep Your Test Tubes


did you hear?   they can now create life in a test tube.   yeah, that’s what they say.   they also say that there is no longer any mystery in the creation of life, it’s just a matter of lining the dna up in the right order.   apparently they don’t need God.   at least that seems to be what they are saying... 

i say the miracle of life can not be contained in a test tube.   i say that when God knit us together He meant just that.   as a knitter myself I know that means he touched Every Stitch.  no part of His creation is without His touch, His breath.

i say the greater mystery is not just that He created us but that He called us.   that He has endured with patient love so long those who have scorned His words, turned their back on His love.  that despite all my worthless attempts at saving myself and all my filthy rags He still calls me His Child.   i say the mysteries of God are more than cells.  they are living moving beings… carrying in these earthly vessels the Spirit of God.   try to put that in your test tubes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Picking Favorites



Sunday was shearing day at the farm.  As the shearer did the necessary job of removing the year’s wool from each my sheep.  I found myself looking at each one and thinking how much I cared for them.

DSC_0095 copy

As each one came in the barn for his or her turn I often found myself thinking “there’s so and so, she’s my favorite” and then “no, this one is my favorite”.  After a while of trying to decide which animal was my favorite it occurred to me that each one was my favorite for different reasons.   Kara is my favorite because she is such a good mom.  She once took in a lamb that was rejected by her mom and cared for her as her own.

New lambs 013

Pebbles is my favorite because she was once so wild but now she comes right up to me for a rub.  Grace is my favorite because my husband saved her from a dog attack.


You know, I really think that is how God looks at us. 

“Oh yeah, she’s My favorite…she always takes time to talk to Me….”

“See him?  He is my favorite!  He is really has a heart for My word….”

“She’s My favorite for sure!  She may stumble but she gets right back up.  I love how she doesn’t give up.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sterile Love


When I am at my most honest, I realize I know nothing about Love.  

What does love look like?  It’s a question I’ve been pondering.

God has been teaching me about Love.  His love.  Real Love.   Love that moves past barriers.  Love that forgets self.   Love that brought a Savior.

If all of life comes down to love then tell me…what does love look like?

I have been asking God to teach me to Love Him. As I ask I realize that Loving Him can not be separated from loving others.

Then I saw Him there, hanging on tree looking at me.

And as I attempt to Love others I realize how truly inept I am at Loving Him, at Loving at all.

He had arms wide open, heart exposed.  Arms wide open….He was bleeding, bleeding.

I spent some time meditating on the deep Love of God this Wednesday.   If you have been following this blog you realize it is new thing to me- this understanding that God loves me.   I am realizing that the Love of God is a wild thing.   It is not a tame, sterile love that lives only in the hallowed halls of stain glass windows.  It is a crazy thing, beating on the doors of convention, causing me to question all that I once believed.   Crushing me while at the same time it heals me.

That evening my husband and I traveled with our children to Grand Rapids to listen to my brother in law preach at the Love Feast.  As we sat at our meal of french toast and sausage with the homeless, the drunks, the lost…a woman walked in.  It was obvious that she had wet her pants and to my shame I must admit to you that I lost my appetite.  I sat convicted as I watched one of the Stockbridge Interns embrace her without a moments hesitation.  And as I watched the Love of God work itself out in flesh I thought of all the work that must be done so that I may learn this Love.  It is with a broken and humble heart that I recount that moment…knowing that in my arrogance I believed that I was somehow more clean than her…forgetting the sin that cost a Savior so much.

You shall love Me….with arms wide open, heart exposed…bleeding, sometimes bleeding

And with a gentle voice that is so like God, healing even as He wounds, God reminds me of the Love that reached into the gutter and dwelt among the filth to save me.

And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.

Matt. 25:40


Words in italics are from the song Arms Wide Open by Misty Edwards.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

that I might be His own


I just finished reading this in The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning:

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preach up for the cause of Christ.  I am a disciple of Jesus.  I must go until he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me.  And, when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me…my banner will be clear! (emphasis mine)

According to Mr. Manning, this was written by a young Zimbabwe Pastor and was found after his martyrdom.  In light of this knowledge the reading of this changes…I realize that he did indeed work until He stopped him.   And I believe that his banner was clear.   Then I wonder.   How does this translate to middle class America?  To me?

I am in no danger of martyrdom (yet?) but I am called to die.   But more than that…this isn’t about working as much and as hard as you can until you drop from exhaustion hoping that you have finally done enough.   It is only true devotion and love for a Savior that causes one to lay down everything, even their life.  It is about a heart so obsessed, so in love, so enamored with God and who He is that nothing He calls us to is too much.  Rather we cry out ” What more can I do?”  Not of fear but out of a deep desperate desire to please the One who calls.  It is a coming to end of ourselves and offering all that we have, all that we are, without fear or resignation know that the Best has already been given, the need has already been met.

Oh Lord, may my banner be clear.   May my devotion to You be so pervasive that You are written on every part of my life.   Let me be so intimate with You that You will recognize me on sight and even say “Well done, Rachel”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Of buttons and strings and other useless things…


Do you happen to remember Janis Joplin’s song “Mercedes Benz”?

Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz

My friends all drive porsches I must make amends…..

This walk that God and I are on is pretty amazing.   It seems He works in themes.   While at Near on Monday God brought to mind James 4:1-3.

1-2Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

2-3You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way. (James 4:1-3 The Message)

My spirit groaned within me.  I understood.  completely.  The New King James says it this way :

You ask and you do not receive because you ask amiss that you may spend it on your pleasures. (VS 3)

I have been crying out to God.   “Teach me to love You.”

He has been answering.

Learn to love what I love.  Cry out for that.   Cry out for justice, for hope, for freedom for the captives.   Stop crying out for your own selfish desires, to satisfy your own pleasure.

While in the book store on Monday God spoke again and reminded me of a song from my childhood, Mercedes Benz.  A song I can’t remember not knowing by heart.

Oh Lord won’t you buy me a night on the town?

Prove that you love me and buy the next round…

If you have been reading along since the beginning you remember my reflection from the post tripping:

The strongholds remained, the anger persisted and the peace evaded me.  God doesn’t love me…I decided. He doesn’t answer my prayers….He doesn’t care…I don’t even know if He is really there…

Rachel. Do you see now?   The unanswered prayer is not a reflection of my love for you.   I don’t answer prayer to prove my love.  I already did that.  The question of My love is settled.  I will not give you those things that will destroy you or cause you to be more focused on yourself and less focused on Me.  I love you way too much for that.


I came home from the bookstore with one book in hand…a  departure from my typical “buy everything in sight until the credit card screams”.  In my seeking after God He has convicted me of the need to live simply and with contentment.   After arriving home I took a brief inventory of my massive book collection.  I won’t bore you with the details but I was shocked to see how I had wasted the resources God has given me on useless things I was convinced for a short time that I needed.  Interestingly many of the needed books have never been read.   I am learning to want less trinkets and instead to want God.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What an amazing love….

Jesus loves me this I know…

Jesus loves me this I know…

Jesus loves me this I know…

Jesus loves me this I know…

Jesus loves me this I know…

Jesus loves me this I know


Six words that mean so much.

Friday, February 26, 2010

It would have been enough….

If He had just called me out of darkness - it would have been enough.

But he gave me joy…

If He had just forgiven me – it would have been enough.

But He called me His child…

Even if He had just left me to die in my sin – it would have been enough.

But He has made me beautiful with His Salvation.

What praise is enough for a God like this?   What sacrifice is worthy?   How can I glorify anything but You?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



Why is it that what is so easy for my nine year old –is at times so difficult for me?

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

II Corinthians 11:3

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rebuilding the Ancient Ruins…

…And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell…

Isaiah 58:11-12

Spiritual Warfare… real, how easy mistaken for just the daily difficulties of life.   How like Elijah- we climb Mount Carmel so confident in the Lord’s work only to run from Jezebel…how desperate we are for God.  How ignorant we often are of that need.

I have been fasting each Monday since Near began and I have set my heart to seek and run after God.   I have stood on the mountain and declared the power of God and huddled in my bed with tears streaming in discouragement. 

The above passage from Isaiah follows God’s call for fasting.

Is this not the fast I choose to loosen the bonds of wickedness….

And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted

Then your light will rise in darkness…

We are often told that nothing worthwhile comes easy.  I will keep crying, I will keep seeking and when I can no longer run I will crawl.

Jesus, can I have more of you?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How interesting…

Many of you know that we lost our oldest son to cancer in 2005.  And as those of you who have lost a loved know- much like a broken bone, the wound heals but everytime it rains you still ache.

Lately it has been raining in my life a lot.  I am leaning on God and trusting Him for direction but it often feels like I am just wandering in the wilderness.

When you walk through the water…I will be with you…

It seems I spend more time crying then not. 

When you walk through the river, the waves will not overtake you…

Then an interesting thing happened.

I am in a contest at the gym near one of my restaurants.  There is a group of six of us and a coach.   I thought the coach looked a bit familiar but figured that it she was one of many people that go through my restaurant.

When you walk on the fire…

Turns out I know her from somewhere else.  She is one of the nurses who cared for my son while he was in the hospital.

the flames they will not touch you…

My manager in a passing conversation mentioned my son after I had left.  How he had died…

“I can’t talk to you about it” ….”tell Rachel I am here if she wants to talk.”

You are mine.

So unexpected.  The tears come again…and it’s already raining.

You are mine.


(The italicized words are lyrics from You are Mine from Enter the Worship Circle 3.  While at Near on Monday night, I asked for prayer and the lyrics were mentioned.  How wonderfully fitting…)

Monday, February 1, 2010

our eyes are on You…

Today marks the second week of Near

I really don’t know what to share today but I felt I must share something.  I am struggling and have been for the past two weeks.  Nothing major has happened…nobody has died, all is well but…

the daily disappointments and discouragements seem a bit overwhelming right now….i feel forgotten and alone…

This morning in my daily reading I came across this-

…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.  2 chronicles 20:12

It is enough.  To look to God for the answers and patiently wait…

Monday, January 18, 2010


I have realized that I have spent the past 15 years perfecting my dependence upon…myself.   I have cried out so many times  Are you even there God??? only to realize He was only waiting for me to surrender control.

I thought I had….really.  I said I am sorry at the appropriate times, was transparent when necessary, attended church on the required days and spoke Christianese.

The strongholds remained, the anger persisted and the peace evaded me.  God doesn’t love me…I decided. He doesn’t answer my prayers….He doesn’t care…I don’t even know if He is really there…

I continued going through the motions, mainly because it was expected partly because I was just plain afraid of Hell.

There must be more to this….what am I missing?

Then while listening to Crazy Love by Francis Chan I heard him say Help God! I don’t love You…..

Ah….now I am beginning to see.   When I came to Christ my life was a mess.   He came at just the right time to literally save me (physically) and He began working on me.  But…I fought Him the.whole.way.   I am came to Christ for me now I need to learn to live for Him. 

What was missing?  The love.   I loved myself plenty.  In fact I was so filled with love for myself there wasn’t any room to love Him.  Help me God…I don’t love You.  But….I want to…..

In exactly one week I begin my weekly journey to Grand Rapids, a town an hour from my home to participate in Near/A Season of Unbroken Prayer.   I have been praying and seeking in preparation for this.   God has been answering.  Yes He was there all along….

Fire Fall Down…...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In the stillness…

I find myself running from the time my feet hit the ground.  Somehow I am sure you can relate…

I am overwhelmed with all that beckons me…all that needs to be finished or begun.  Yet, doesn’t Jesus tell me that His yoke is easy and His burden is light?   Didn’t he tell me…

Come, all of you that are overwhelmed, all of you that are tired.  I will give you rest.

Somehow I have found myself under the command of another master.  A master that wearies me with all that I must do.  A relentless master that only calls for more and never offers rest.

My sheep hear my voice….

Could it be that I am just not listening?  

Lord, teach me to be still that You may speak.   Teach me to hear your voice once again and allow you to dictate what must be done….

In an attempt to be still, to listen more, I have committed to Near /A Season of Unbroken Prayer and will be travelling to meet my Savior for an hour every week on Monday evenings.   I know, I know.  God doesn’t require that we travel to a building somewhere.  We can (we should!) pray in our own homes.  Yet, I am expectant…

I have a date with God and I can’t wait.

Lord, send down your fire.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking back….looking ahead…


Looking back on 2009 is bittersweet.   There were a lot of setbacks…but I learned a lot and I have grown.

I have been bitter, but I have learned to forgive.   I have been hurt but I am learning to let go.  To stop nurturing it, and instead to surrender the hurt to the one who judges justly.   I have been angry, unfair, unkind and unloving yet through it all I have finally seen that His grace is enough.  And that sometimes learning the important things takes a long time…

I have learned that there is love enough to cover my shame. 

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…

Phil 3:13