Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sky Lanterns

At around 9.30 pm last Saturday evening, I was one of a crowd who gathered to release Sky Lanterns into the dark blue skies over Reed City, Michigan. More than a hundred of us, from babies to grandparents, craned our necks, amidst oohs and aahs, as these beautiful paper balloons filled with light and air, and lifted off to float high above the trees and out of sight. 
Sky lanterns make a magical display wherever they are released... but ours were special- because each one of these lanterns carried a prayer...prayers written from the heart, prayers that made their way to the heavens. And as they ascended, each prayer lantern followed the other, weaving and bobbing in a line, just as if they knew exactly where they were headed, carrying their petitions with purpose and grace. On one was written, 'family', penned carefully by a kindergartner. Another carried a picture of a pet fish that had died the year before, drawn by a little girl too young to write, but never too young to pray, and  never too little to understand that as our prayers go up, love itself comes down....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Painting Pictures...

It was 10am last Sunday mornng when my teaching colleague and I were shyly handed a note. Bordered with flowers and penned in neat handwriting, it was a thank you letter, written by one of our 5th grade students. The note read:
Thank you for being my Sunday school teachers....I enjoy reading AMAZING stories in the bible. I love to hear those stories because it paints a picture in my mind and I can picture what it was like.
I think I know just what that little girl means...because when I read those amazing stories, the same thing happens to me. God paints those same pictures in my mind...a heavenly artist who is constantly at work, not just in my life, but on the huge canvas of the world.
And although I cannot paint, in God's hands, I am an artist too... each one of us who teaches or mentors can be a brushstroke in the hand of God, bringing color and light into the everyday scenes of a child's life.
I don't teach so that I can receive thank you notes...but when I do, it confirms what I know all along...that on Sunday mornings, there's no place I would rather be than in God's hand...helping to paint a beautiful canvas.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Piggy in the Middle

When I was at school, I hated playing Piggy in the Middle. I can remember making myself dizzy, spinning around in between my two friends, trying to intercept the ball. When we were young, none of my siblings ever wanted to take the middle seat in the back of our car. We were supposed to take it in turns to sit there...but my brother never would. He always stole the premier seat by the window. When we fly on an airplane, my husband rarely chooses the seat in the middle. He prefers to sit in the aisle, where there is more room for his long legs. Nobody likes being in the middle...we don't care to touch the person next to us or have our space invaded. The middle seat is the seat of inconvenience. But maybe it depends on who is sitting on either side of you.
The Psalmist knew a secret when he wrote, you hem me in. He knew the power of being able to imagine God sitting on either side of him and what a comfort, not an inconvenience that could be. And what a difference we could make in the lives of our children if we could teach them to remember that in any and every situation, God is hemming them in, on their right and their left, ahead of them and behind.
Because if God is sitting on either side of you, then that surely has to be the very best seat in the house.
Click here for a fun game to demonstrate how God hems us in.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Our tweens geocaching at
Reeds lake 
Every year hundreds of people enjoy spending time on the boardwalk that traverses Reeds Lake. Some stroll along, admiring the view. Others power walk their way to the end and back. Kids run. Some athletes zoom along on wheels. But whether they stroll, or run, or bike... under their feet lies a secret. It hides, undiscovered, tucked away quietly, waiting to be found. But the only way to find it is to slow down on that boardwalk, and truly search.
This little piece of treasure is one of over 500 geocaches that are hidden in Grand Rapids, and one of over two million that are lying in secret around the world. Geocaching is a fascinating and fun phenomenon- the ultimate treasure hunt that anyone can participate in- for free.
I wonder how many secrets are hidden in my Bible? I wonder as I turn the pages... what treasures lie undiscovered beneath my fingers? Sometimes I stroll through my Bible. Sometimes I run. At times I might even zoom. But it is only when I slow down and truly take the time to search that I find that hidden treasure. The Bible is a mystery. Power lies within its pages. But this ancient book is the ultimate geocache... our invitation to a global treasure hunt that is free to all, and that anyone can participate in.
Seek, and you will find. Matthew 7:7

Click here for a fun Bible Geocaching activity for tweens.