Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Let's say you walk into your bathroom and there are 6 or 7 large flies buzzing around the light. Do you get a fly swatter? Do you call your 18 year old son to come look at the gross situation? First, we don't own a flyswatter--my 16 year catches them...or I use a newspaper. In this case, I chose to show the novelty to my 18year old and I left the scene.

Moments later I hear, "one. pause. two. ugg. got away. three. pause. four, five. long pause." That was it for that bout. I figured I could handle one or two. I could tell you the long story, but since it is late tonight on the THIRD day of flies, I will shorten what the days were like. There were about 30 the first night and more than that the next and again today. Do I dare even mention that when I went to get cleaning gloves that the sink was leaking?

God has privileged me to help in some tough situations recently... things in people's lives in which there are no adequate words for comfort. Sometimes this makes for a busy schedule...flying here, flying there. I try to ask God to orchestrate my day...even when it is highly scheduled. I've discovered it helps the stress level when the schedule gets changed.

I was not so thankful for the orchestration of the flies. Their buzzing was NOT music to my ears. I was entirely grossed out. My friend Ruthie helped me today. We thought we were just cleaning my house and we ended up cleaning fly residue and removing the compost pile and desperately searching for answers. My neighbor came over the second night...checking the attic, the house perimeter, the grouting and window seals. He sprayed and helped me clean up fly guts. Sorry, I'm just feeling buggy.

I had to travel out of town today. Even the cows I encountered looked tired of the rain. The scenery did resemble Ireland, however. I was planning on taking Michael to England this year. Guess he has a better view. I'm rambling...but on the way home the pieces started to come together. I was glad I was trying to understand the lesson of the flies BEFORE I discovered the activities of this third day. When we get a little garbage in our lives, it can multiply rapidly and get out of control. The flies almost set up control of my schedule. Yes, I had to change a lot of things, even back out of an important opportunity, but God allowed me grace to do what I needed to, to put order back in my home. He gave me time with people who came to help. He allowed me time to think through my schedule and bounce some things off other people about different decisions. He reminded me that not one of those buzzards passed in front of me without Him knowing about it. He CARES that much. If He allows it, then He will help me handle it. I am thankful for my neighbors and friends.

My third day is ending now. Everything is back under the sink and my daughter's room is put back together after accessing the underhouse crawl space. I am going to sleep before midnight and thank God for His grace and for his lessons on learning to love people. Some day I will try to thank Him for the flies. I pray for comfort and grace for my widow friends. The music group, Casting Crowns, has a new song about ??? God's presence in the storm??? I raised my hands at a lot of flies. Tonight I can rest...and raise my hands in praise for His comfort and grace in the storms (and maybe the rain will week??).

Once again, God's character didn't change and His Word stayed true. "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,..." II Corinthians 4:16,17 He was faithful. He walked me through it...gross as it was. He will be with me as I drive to Southern California tomorrow with my oldest. Good Friday is the appointment. Hmmm on the third day...Easter...we will say truly...He is Risen. He is Risen indeed.

Michael named the cockroaches he encountered in his hotel room in India...I don't thinkI have enough names for the flies....but I know Who is Lord of them!

Will there be flies in heaven...and other important questions...??

Resting in Jesus,
Annie B.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

In Pursuit

When you hear the words “in pursuit,” what picture does in conjour up in your mind? Cop cars? Sometimes one sees pursuits on the news or reads about them in the paper. Already some of you may sense an increased adrenaline. I don’t even begin to grasp where this analogy came from, but I am just writing furiously. Starsky and Hutch? CHIPS? Okay, so I date myself.

God pursues us with more intensity than a police chase. When I see a chase on TV-- on city streets, I try to watch the car, but I also notice the many things that are passed by so (quickly)…without a thought….without regard.

God is jealous for our love. "...for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God..." Exodus 20:5a

Holy Passion

Michael had a friend who makes documentaries. She is gifted in so many ways but, with this particular job, I noticed the enjoyment that came through when she talked about the things she was learning when she would put together the pieces of a documentary. One of her docs was on police car chases and the methods used to stop cars.

Are we sometimes going so fast in our lives that we miss the Hand that is at work in our lives? We miss the Source? By now you may be saying, “Okay, lady, what does this have to do with grief…or Michael’s story?” Sometimes the way God slows us down can seem brutal on a human scale. We look with human eyes.

It’s like those pictures that are made of tiny images and if one looks at it a certain way there is a 3-d image within it. It is quite funny to watch people try to see the image; putting a book in their face and going cross-eyed. Michael used to get so frustrated because he could rarely see the image. And now? To see what he sees? I could only imagine.

God pursued Michael’s heart and Michael pursued His. He cried out to understand how to help children comprehend the depth of God’s love for them—especially when their parents were driving in 2 different directions.

The abandonment he felt when his adoptive mother left him and his dad…and when his grandparents died (they had moved into his home)…that abandonment fueled an intensity of searching for trust. He was afraid somewhat of commitment because of this fear of abandonment. But, as God drew us together, he grew in a new freedom to trust. When I dealt with periods of depression earlier in our marriage, Michael exposed some of his fears that I would become mentally ill like his adoptive mom. We fought to find the pieces that were fueling the depression and came through it. In the fall it was often the ache from loved ones passing away—but that is another story.

Michael did not ever want to see a child not connected to others whether it had to do with their parents or feeling safe with a Sunday school teacher or to him as a friend. He was fierce about his ‘friends’—from the little preemie newborns to the three year olds who reverently called him “Pasture.” Then there were the years where his beloved title was “Mr. Mike.” Whatever the age, there was this connection as FRIEND. Even when kids transitioned to middle school and beyond (picture Buzz Lightyear)…those goofy middle years—the kids would return to make a point to say, “Hi.”

They came back.

When Michael took his journey to Jesus—many grown kids came back. They stopped to express their loss of a friend.

That’s the thing; the thing about God. He wants us back. He loves when we return to Him. Not only that, He pursues us intensely and passionately. Can you imagine the grief when we reject Him?

When did all this start—with some image of a police chase? Why do chases happen? Someone is out of control. The police attempt to bring them back to reality-- to safety—for themselves and others. They’ve most likely broken the law or are breaking it. God pursues us with His love. Yes, He allows heartache at times, but when He captures our heart, when we slow to hear Him, see Him…He doesn’t slap cuffs on us or cart us away.

No Law anymore, just grace.


He IS.

The Law was fulfilled in His Son. The price of our lives of inappropriate behaviors, little and big, were erased by a cross. The intersection we face is to believe the Pursuer…the Passionate One Who seeks our heart…because of love…holding out grace.

Car chases end. Lives end. For me this used to bring on depression—even the anniversary dates. Lives ending—that’s life. But, for a Christian it is a beginning, a new chapter. I face anniversary dates later this month and early next month. I’m moving slow enough to see them. (We all have them.) More than the dates, I see my Pursuer. He lifts me above the despair, walks me through the ‘sting.’ I was just reading about that—the sting of death is sin—those inappropriate behaviors. That is what brought about the separation between us and a holy God. But, the Pursuer, God, made a way back. He gave us His Son, Jesus, who died…

On Good Friday.

Good? What’s good about the pain? What’s good about the human loss to a family, to friends, to a church family…to a community?

Easter. The Pursuer wins.

Oh Father hold me—hold us. Thank You for the resurrection, historically and spiritually. The One Act that allows us to pursue a love that is unconditional. Isn’t it a blessing when He gives us friends here on earth that are glimpses of Him? His arms, His hands, His comfort.

In pursuit of Him…
And finding Him faithful,
Annie B.

p.s. I have an amazing story to share with you very soon. Also, there is a magazine article about my journey. If you find it helpful, please feel free to share it. "It's Friday, but Easter is Coming" You can find it at:

A recurring theme I hear from (little) people…”Did you know, Pastor Mike was my friend?!” What a privilege I had to share him.