The night song

For all those who sing in the dark

Some days the words aren’t there. Days when it’s a struggle to mesh thoughts with truth. Days when the light shines dimly.

Fear can clutch at the heart and disappointment can rise and it becomes hard to push back the sadness. Our dusty frame is tired. Oh, the trembling weariness of our frame some days.

But we are held by the One who remembers.

A friend is recovering from brain surgery and his speech and movement have been slow to come back. When I wake in the night I pray for the frustrating ache of this weakness, for the fear and the dread that I know can sometimes come in the night. I pray for his inner man to be strong and to remember.

His wife told a beautiful story of a time after surgery when the words wouldn’t come. The therapist explained that sometimes you can sing before you can speak. So they sang “Amazing Grace” and the music brought his words along with flowing tears.

That song was full of grace, amazing grace, and the sound was sweet. Grace helped him find lost words. Grace taught him his night song.

A friend shared with me a lesson about birds. About how when a bird is in captive darkness, he sings his own song. The ability to sing is inside him and he must sing, but he sings uniquely. He sings differently than he would if he were in the light. He sings differently than the birds safe at home.

Our song in the night is not the same as the one we sing when all is well. It is different than the one we sing when we gather with our brothers and sisters for praise. Our darkness song is ours alone. It is unique and it is given by a faithful God and it is beautiful. It tells of a strong fortress, and it is full of truth.

Only we can sing this song. Only we can praise in this way. My song is different than yours. Marissa’s is different than each of ours.

We can sing when the darkness comes and the words won’t. We remember that the heart knows praise before it can speak of it. We remember that God is near and that He is doing a new thing. He is giving a beautiful praise song.

We are worshipping with this song. We are praising the God of darkness and light, the One who gives us breath. We are singing the beautiful night song that is ours alone to sing.

We are singing even before the words will come.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.  Psalm 42:8

I will remember my song in the night. Psalm 77:6

But I will sing of your strength. I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalm 59:16







I hardly remember rain.

These autumn days have been beautiful and bright and almost always sunny. The sound of gently falling rain exists but only in far away memory. We’ve been living and moving on and enjoying the bright without realizing how dry it really is, how much we need rain.

This weekend there are fires raging in the mountains near us. Fires devouring miles of beauty and threatening more. Fires that started with a spark but quickly grew because of dry and thirsty ground. Ground that is thirsty for rain.

Sometimes my soul is dry.

Some days I am just living and moving on until a spark of doubt, a flash of anger, or a moment of fear reminds me that I am thirsty. I am thirsty for a drink of cool water. I am thirsty for a drink from the well that never runs dry.

Dryness of soul is different than anger or sadness or fear. It is different than unbelief. It happens slowly over time and can easily go unnoticed. We can be so busy and so distracted that we don’t notice how thirsty we really are.

I love God’s words. I love to come thirsty and drink the sweet water. I love the picture of Christ as living water. I love the promise that we will be fruitful even in the desert, that we will find water in the wilderness.

I love the abundant, always available, thirst-quenching stream.

He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused water to flow down like rivers. Psalm 78:15-16

Whoever drinks of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. John 4:14

He turns deserts into a pool of water, a parched land into springs of water. Psalm 107:35

For I will pour water upon him who is thirsty. Isaiah 44:3



Gifts along the way

There is a mist hovering over the little lake each morning when I walk beside it. A long, winding driveway takes me past a rolling pasture where the Clydesdale horses roam and into a shady wooded area where the gray mare comes to the fence each morning to watch me. It is the kind of woods with scattered trees so that there is both shade and sun, a perfection of balance. Across the lake there are kind grandfather trees that whisper in the wind and a lone heron that gingerly steps along the edge of the water.

It is quiet here in a way that life mostly isn’t. It is beautiful in a way that settles the heart.

This place is a gift.

If you ask me how I found it, I can’t even remember. But I can tell you Who the giver is.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

So many gifts along the way have lightened our load and lifted our burden. Your words of encouragement and faithful praying have ministered sweetly to our souls. Many of you have given sacrificially so that we could pay bills and pursue treatment. While we’re away in Durham, you have been loving my family by feeding them delicious meals. I can’t count the number of times we have received a text or a card or a message exactly when it was needed.

You all are precious gifts to us.

I don’t take things for granted these days. My children hug me a little harder and I hold them tight a little longer. I listen even when I am tired and I focus on what their hearts are saying. I go to soccer games on Saturday when I have a thousand things to catch up on. I go to Home Depot with my husband and he goes grocery shopping with me. We are grateful in a new way, and I hope I am getting better at giving and loving.

Because to love, to have people to love, is a gift.

I am spending every day with Marissa. On Mondays we are at Duke all day long, but on the other days we are only there an hour or two. When she feels well enough, we are exploring Durham. It’s a college town and there are lots of neat shops and interesting restaurants. The Eno River runs through and there are beautiful spots to sit by the river or go on short hikes. We bought some craft supplies, and we are working on a different craft each week. We bake goodies to take to her team at Duke. We walk on the farm and feed carrots to the horses. We read and we talk and sometimes we are just quiet.

Because every moment is a gift.

I remember when I first thought of writing things down during our journey and I woke early with the name on my heart: Tracing His goodness. It felt like the only way to get through was to look for His hand and recount His kindness along the way. I knew that some days it would be hard to feel Him near, but I could trace His goodness like a golden thread, unbroken and beautiful.

So I trace the bountiful thread of grace. I cling to the precious gift of faith. I follow His hand, and I see His glory.

He has been the best gift. He is the quiet beauty that settles the heart.

Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty. They will see a land that stretches afar.  Isaiah 33:17

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11