When God’s Answer is the One We Dread

by Lynn on June 21, 2017

The month of June always brings my thoughts back to 2007. Up to that point, I had endured a few life-altering trials, but that year my family was broadsided by the most difficult challenge we’d ever faced. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in late 2006, we earnestly prayed for her healing. In fact, we begged God to intervene and prevent the outcome we all dreaded. Holding onto hope in the furnace of affliction is hard. We don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. We are tired and worn out, both physically and mentally. At times it seems that we’ll never get through, the struggle will never stop, and the pain will never end. We know that God hears our pleas and we know that he is able to rescue us from the turmoil we’re in. But what if he doesn’t? What if the answer to our prayer is the one we dread?

It can be hard to maintain hope when we are not delivered. But as we see throughout Scripture, sometimes God intervenes and sometimes he does not. Paul described a “thorn in the flesh” for which he prayed to be removed, but his deliverance was not part of God’s plan.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV

Paul’s attitude of obedience might seem odd to the world, but Christ-followers see the big picture when it comes to suffering. God often uses hardship to teach us things we can’t learn otherwise, to give us perspective as to what is important, to focus and make us more like Christ, and to work in and through us as a testimony to non-believers. The Bible tells us that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours, and so we’re never going to fully understand why he allows trouble to come our way or why he may not rescue us from such trouble.

Another example of bold faith under fire comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel, where his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are threatened with death unless they agree to worship an idol set up by the king. In obedience to God they refuse to bow and Nebuchadnezzar instructs they be thrown into a fiery furnace. Their response to the king is worth noting.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18, NIV

Daniel’s friends recognize that God is able to save them, but they also acknowledge that he may allow them to perish. Their faith being anchored in God and not in their circumstances enabled them to be bold even in the face of death.

So what can give us that same boldness when we face trials? It is remembering God’s faithfulness, and trusting in his goodness. It is choosing to remain faithful even if we are not delivered from our affliction. Even Christ himself was denied deliverance when he asked to be spared from the cup of wrath God laid upon him instead of us. He willingly endured the cross, and became the greatest example of obedience that we could ever see. As Christ-followers, we know that there is more going on than we are capable of understanding, and that any suffering in this world is a mere blip on the radar when compared to the eternity we will spend with our Savior.

A new release by the Christian band MercyMe has really resonated with me. Every time I’ve heard it on the radio, I relive the days of prayerful vigil, pleading with the Lord to heal my mom, and tearfully submitting to his will when he chose to take her home instead. To me, the song is a prayer of trust and a choice to place my hope in Christ whether I am delivered from my trial or allowed to endure it.

We can have peace in the midst of pain by remembering that God is good, even when our situation is bad.

On the journey toward Home,


Next week we will honor the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our great country. In the photograph above, older family members representing three branches of the armed services, take a moment to pose with my dad, age four. The year was 1944, and many families had loved ones fighting in the war. No doubt, some of you have similar pictures in your own collection of old family photographs.

From the founding of our nation to the present day, these brave Americans have embraced the hard job of maintaining our liberty. In the face of tyrants, dictators and evil empires, our men and women in uniform have consistently showed courage, strength and a willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep our country safe.

In his 1981 Memorial Day proclamation, President Ronald Reagan reminded us why we pay tribute to these brave heroes.

Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace — a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our Nation. –Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day, May 25, 1981

The members of our military have always understood the cost of freedom, and so with steadfast determination they bear the burden of our protection. And while we remember that fact today and next week, we should make more of an effort to remember it every day.

May God bless all of our troops and their families, and may he continue to bless the United States of America.

On the journey toward Home,


vintage style Easter greetingsEaster is a great time to make holiday crafts, especially when there are so many lovely vintage images available online to work with. Owning a few antique doily cards myself, I wanted to see if I could duplicate the vintage layered paper look with modern materials.

I found some old Easter card images online and downloaded them. There are several websites and blogs that provide free vintage images. One of my favorites is The Graphics Fairy, but I also like Free Pretty Things for You, Vintage Holiday Crafts, and the New York Public Library Holiday postcard collection.

The images were resized to roughly a 3×5 inch dimension, and then printed on semi-gloss photo paper using the best/high quality setting.

Once the images were cut out, the remaining supplies were assembled—gold and silver paper doilies, an assortment of scrapbook paper, white craft glue, scotch tape, and metallic pens. If you don’t have metallic colored doilies, you can buy white ones and spray paint them.

Using an assortment of scrapbook paper, I chose three that would complement each image with respect to color and style, when arranged as first, second and third borders. For these, I used a variety of papers—some in solid colors, some with patterns, some textured, and some with glitter designs. The first border measured about ½ inch larger than the image. The second border was another ½ inch larger than the first border. The third border measured about ¼ inch larger than the second border.

With all the border papers selected and cut out, I prepared the doily pieces. I used both gold and silver, and cut out sections to make several sets of twin doily edges. The sets will be used in either a side to side placement or a top and bottom placement.

I placed the first set of doily edges behind the image and adjusted them to show about an inch of decoration, before securing the pieces to the back with scotch tape.

The image was then centered over the first paper border and glued.

I placed the second set of doily edges behind the first paper border (opposite the first doily set), and secured the pieces with scotch tape.

The first paper border was centered over the second border and glued—likewise for the third border.

I then used other parts of the doily to cut out decorative pieces, which I applied to the card front with glue. Once the embellishments were completed, I highlighted some areas with metallic pens to give the greeting an extra little sparkle.

Vintage style Easter cardThis technique was easy to use and the cards have a custom handmade look.

Victorian style Easter cardThe method would work equally well with other vintage holiday cards for Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and for Christmas.

Victorian vintage style Easter cardsI’m linking up today for Pink Saturday!

On the journey toward Home,

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Wearing the Right Clothes

by Lynn on March 19, 2017

What’s that old saying—clothes make the man? Our culture seems a bit preoccupied with clothes. Some people spend a lot of time and money being concerned about what they wear, while others are concerned about what their neighbor is wearing. Women especially tend to notice, have opinions about and often judge others on their choice of attire. Now, I’m not knocking those who have an interest in fashion, because most of us would prefer to find clothing that flatters us as opposed to clothing that does not. What I’m really referring to are those folks obsessed about the material that they and others cover themselves with, for their concern is mis-directed.

As with most subjects in life, God’s word has a few things to say about clothing. It mentions two types, and we put on both. The first has little significance and should not concern us overly much. But the second is extremely important, and one we should give our full attention to, as our eternal destiny is at stake.

In the Gospel of Luke, we are told not to worry so much about our physical clothing since God knows we need it and he supplies what we need.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear… Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!” Luke 12:22, 27-28, NIV

In the book of Matthew however, Jesus describes a very different type of clothing that we should be concerned about, as he shares the parable of the wedding supper.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son… But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless”… Matthew 22:2, 11-12, NIV

Intrigued by this passage, I wanted to do a word-study to better understand of how the idea of “spiritual clothing” is used in both the Old and New Testaments.

Isaiah 64 describes our natural state as unclean, and calls our “spiritual clothes” nothing but filthy rags.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6, NIV

It is interesting that the Hebrew word for “filthy” is found only here, and comes from a root that refers to the soiling caused during menstruation. Our righteous acts are akin to being wrapped in blood-stained garments. This verse also points back to Levitical law where menstruating women were labeled unclean and separated from the population. As unclean things, our sin separates us from God.

Zechariah gives a fascinating account of a conversation in heaven, and describes a vivid change of clothes for Joshua, to symbolize how Jesus removes our sin and gives us new spiritual clothes.

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Zechariah 3:3-4, NIV

The Hebrew word translated here as “taken away” means “to cover, bring over or through, deliver, or to pass over,” showing that we are delivered from punishment when our sins are removed.

Isaiah 61 illustrates the importance of our new spiritual clothes, describing them as “garments of salvation” and comparing them to the fine adornments worn by brides and grooms.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10, NIV

The most interesting part of this verse is that the Hebrew word translated as “arrayed” in the NIV is only found here. In the King James Version the phrase is “he hath covered me” and it means to clothe or cover, which is straight forward enough. But there are other words for clothed that are used more often. The fact that this word is found only here seems to imply that this type of covering is unique to God alone. I believe the phrase can be read in two ways—the first depicting an act of covering, and the second showing that it is God himself who serves as the cover. Elsewhere in the Bible God is described as a place of refuge, a shield, a shelter, or a set of wings under which we might remain hidden. It seems likely that this verse would carry the same meaning, that God covers us with himself.

Many New Testament verses use a Greek word for “clothed” which means “the sense of sinking into a garment, to invest with clothing, or to put on.”

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12, NIV

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:14, NIV

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27, NIV

While these verses admonish us to apply Christ-like characteristics to our own lives, could they also allude to the role of Christ as a covering? If his righteousness is applied to us then in essence, Jesus is the garment we wear. This points us back to the concept recorded in Isaiah implying that God not only covers us, but he covers us with himself.

So why is this important? Let’s go back to the wedding supper. The king prepares a lavish banquet for his son. As the guests arrive, he spots a man not wearing a wedding garment. He asks the man how he got into the event without the proper attire. The man is speechless. The king tells his servants to escort the man out of the hall.

Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:2, 13-14, NIV

Wow—brutal consequences for not having on the right outfit! The Greek word translated “tie” means “to bind, or to put under obligation of the law.” This is very telling, since the law is what those without Christ will be judged by. And the word for “outer” means “the darkness outside the limits of the lighted palace,” to which the Messiah’s kingdom is likened to here.

The poor fool. Where did he go wrong? Well, basically, he accepted the king’s invitation but rejected the garment the king provided for his attendance. He refused to wear what was necessary to gain admittance, but instead chose to wear his own soiled and filthy rags which were clearly unacceptable. Perhaps, believing himself to be a “good person,” the man thought he was entitled to access regardless of what he wore. Oh, how much that sounds like many of us today—convinced our lives are just fine with God, based on some standard of our own making. Jesus admonished the Pharisees in his day, for just this sort of thinking.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28, NIV

Like the wedding supper guest, the Pharisees didn’t take the subject of spiritual clothing seriously either. They arrayed themselves in their own righteousness, giving an appearance of godliness, but were just as adorned in filthy rags as the man. World religions try to manufacture, construct or sew together their own garments by following certain rules, observing certain customs, or completing certain tasks. While some of these activities, like feeding the poor are good in of themselves, they are not the means by which we are made righteous. Legalism is trying to sew together our own garment to come before the king.

A good example of someone trying to live up to religious legalism is Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a Pharisee, a teacher of the law, and therefore a good keeper of the law. He knew all the rules and followed them, but was dependent upon his own ability to keep himself in good standing with God. However, one day on the road to Damascus he found that his religious rule-keeping fell quite short of the mark. Alone, we are all dressed as dirty paupers, and quite unfit to stand in the presence of a holy God.

As explained so well in Isaiah, a holy God cannot abide with us while we are still mired in our sin. The filthy rags that wrap our frame keep us at a distance that we cannot traverse. We cannot approach God with our own righteousness which is akin to wearing clothes of our own design, made by our own hand. To enter God’s presence only one garment is acceptable—the covering provided by Jesus which he purchased with his own blood. Those trying to enter heaven clothed in their own righteousness will be turned away, but those who accept Christ as their savior will be clothed with salvation and one day, will be welcomed into the King’s presence at the supper of the Lamb.

Indeed, Revelation 19 describes the Bride of Christ dressed in fine linen, clean and white.

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Revelation 19:6-8, NIV

Wow—what a day that will be!

In the case of spiritual attire, clothes really do make the man (or woman)!

On the journey toward Home,


New Vintage and Handmade Gifts are Available in my Etsy Shop!

February 26, 2017
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I’ve recently added some new items to my Etsy shop, The Drawing Room at Pemberley. Here is a sneak peak! This wreath features silk flowers in vibrant colors of blush pink, medium pink, white, and cream. Hydrangea, camellia, Dogwood, and peony form the wreath, while a white dove sits on a nest of green reindeer […]

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The Camellias are in Bloom at Descanso Gardens

January 22, 2017
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Winter is a great time to visit local gardens. The weather is cool and the camellias are in bloom. One of my favorite places is Descanso Gardens, located about 20 minutes north of Los Angeles. The property was originally purchased in the 1930’s by newspaper publisher Elias Manchester Boddy, who bought 165 acres of undeveloped […]

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Christmas was a Rescue Mission

December 18, 2016
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Our human existence was never supposed to be this way. In the beginning we were perfect creations. We walked with God. We had everything we needed to be content and happy, and we were at peace with our Creator. But God didn’t want automatons who would blindly worship him, so he gave us a free […]

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Give Thanks to the Lord

November 24, 2016
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You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:28-29, NIV Blessings to you and your family. Happy Thanksgiving! On the journey toward Home,

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Victorian Pink Vintage Style

October 22, 2016
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A few years back I had a bit of trouble with a leaky roof. When the roofer decided to save himself some effort by nailing down only every other tile, the Santa Ana winds unfortunately unseated and broke a few of them, leaving the paper exposed to the sun which quickly disintegrated it. And since […]

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Chicken Cranberry Spread

September 21, 2016
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As we here in California anxiously await cooler weather (daily temperatures are still in the 90’s), some of us are already planning holiday menus! One of my favorite appetizers is a simple-to-make chicken cranberry spread. I’ve brought this spread to many pot-luck functions over the years, and it continues to get rave reviews and recipe […]

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