Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Bubble Saga Part II

If a picture says a thousand words, then here are three thousand to document the "Bubble Saga" in my left eye.

 On December 14, 2017 the mysterious bubble on my left eye was at the height of its distress 
(read: about to burst).

 Four days later on December 18 the bubble "reduced" and entered into a state best described as problematic, puffy and protruding.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018. 
With no medical intervention (and still no clue what that troubling bubble was really ever about) the pictures tells the amazing story. There is no denying, my eye has undergone miraculous healing. 

The unfiltered, never photo-shopped "before" and "afters" give testimony to the wonderful truth that that problematic, painful, puffy protrusion is gone. The bubble that obstructed my vision and bound me to glasses for months has gone away. There is emptiness on my eyelid and it is evidence that a miracle has occurred.  
It really should come as no surprise that God would reveal my healing miracle in the emptiness because that is where God revealed the greatest miracle of all. 
Up from the empty grave, Jesus Christ rose again to heal with the miracle of His new, eternal life .
All the pictures in the world could never tell the story of the great suffering that Jesus endured before His resurrection. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, was completely spotless and innocent yet He willingly took on the guilt of every sinner. Jesus died to pardon with eternal forgiveness and save with merciful grace.
But Jesus rose again. The empty tomb is the evidence that death is defeated and hell has lost its sting. Jesus is Risen with eternal healing in His wings!
For all who seek the healing of His crucifixion and unite with His resurrected life, your miracle of eternal healing has already come. The evidence is in the empty tomb of the risen Lord, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Subject to Change

It's official.
On March 31st, with a Uhaul truck and returned security deposit, I'm hitting the road again and moving home...again. 
Over the past eight years I have played relocation hop-scotch across the eastern United States. Long-time Pippy Love followers will remember that it all began in Sarasota, Florida on a 1,200 mile adventure to regain my health. At least, that was my plan until every detail of my agenda was turned upside down and changed due to declining health. Before I knew it, I was on the road again and headed back home again. 
Next stop was a move to the village town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio followed by a journey back down to the Sunshine state. Both moves were made with pure intentions but neither one went according to my plan. After each failed relocation I hit the road and headed home...again.
Then, when I was absolutely sure I could not take one more ping-pong move, my plans changed. Before I knew it I was standing in the North Hills of Pittsburgh with a Lyme Disease diagnosis and a Uhaul truck to unpack. That was a year ago now and once again, my plans have changed. I'm on the road again. I'm moving home again.
To be honest, as much as I love my parents and childhood home, living at home in my twenties was not part of my plan. The broadest sketch of my plan included marriage and home ownership, not ailing health and a fixed up "apartment" in my parent's basement. But my plans have been utterly destroyed and dramatically, fundamentally changed by the correcting, perfecting hand of God. 
With every relocation and return home I have learned that every plan I make is subject to God's perfecting change. When I plan and plot with a pure, surrendered heart He is faithful to transfigure and transform my moves by the renewing of His cleansing grace. Because He is merciful and loving, God restores my plans and sets them on the right road again. He brings them back home and back to the heart of His Son, Jesus Christ, again
At every failed move God has furthered loosened my grip on my plans. He has weakened my hold on my will in order that I be free to grasp all the tighter to the Lord, Jesus Christ. In His infinite wisdom, God has used moving here, there and always back home again to soften my rigid heart. He has changed my plans to change my heart and transform it with the fluidity of Christ's amazing forgiveness and grace.
I'm about to hit the road and move back home least, that's my plan.
But as you well know everything is completely subject and surrendered to God's most good and glorious change.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For the love of donuts

The donuts are different. For the first time in my life the Sunday post-sermon donut selection has changed.
For the past twenty four years the church donut selection has always featured the exact same sugary delights. The "random assortment" ordered from the grocery store bakery is never random. It's the same each week. There are always cream-filled, jelly-filled and coconut-topped donuts. There are always plenty of glazed and a few apple fritters. For the children, and those young at heart, there are always doughy treats featuring sprinkles and chocolate frosting, too .
But today the decorations on the donuts were different. On one particular donut pretzels adorned the chocolate-frosting while gigantic California walnuts were atop another. A few of the chocolate eclairs were drizzled with pink frosting.
Since I haven't tasted a donut in years and haven't had a single craving, you might wonder why I care so much about the church's donut selection. Although it's true that my appetite no longer desires donuts my heart still craves them because donuts have played a very special role in my life.
You see, church, donuts and I go way back, all the way back to my very first church memory. It was 1994 and I was a toddler, still small and short enough to hide behind my Mom's flowing skirt, which is precisely what I did until the end of each service. After the sermon, pastor would give a word in benediction then dismiss the congregation into the fellowship room for a time of conversation, coffee and, of course, donuts.
And so it began, my love for donuts.
As a young child I reached for puffy glazed donuts and cinnamon twists. As a teen my taste buds were tantalized by the dense cake donuts that were covered in sweet maple frosting.
Over the years my choice of donut has changed countless times and now I don't eat donuts at all. But  the unconditional love and grace serviced at during the post-service fellowship hour hasn't changed a bit. The compassion and care of my church family is as sweet as ever and as plentiful, too.
Although the decorations on the donuts are different the beautiful offering of the Savior's love served and shared in that blessed fellowship room is still the same.

....For Joanie

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Greater Still...

The memory flashed before my eyes as clearly as if it were happening in the present day. While stopped at the very same stop sign where I once witnessed a bird being rescued from beneath an idling car the nearly forgotten remembrance flashed before my face.
When the incident first took place years ago I had to squint to make sense of the scene. The car in front of me was on but stopped and a woman was bent down, reaching beneath the back wheel. Without a moment's hesitation, she lifted something delicate - and feathered - up from the pavement. For a moment I thought my eyes must have been deceiving me but the woman's smile was confirmation that the rescue I had witnessed was real...and it was a success.
Years later, I still can't quite figure out how the vehicle arrived on top of that baby bird without crushing its delicate feathers. The tiny beings very survival has always been a marvel but greater still was the rescue.
Like a hero swooping down from on high the woman leapt from her car and into action. It was a miraculous rescue that occurred in the blink of an eye. One second the bird was trapped. The next he was free from danger, saved from sure death. In the protective palms of the anonymous rescuer, the little bird was lifted up in victory and placed in a seat of safety. 

The image of the bird rescue remains as powerful a memory as the day it occurred. That little bird is a stunningly perfect picture of every hopeless, trapped sinner in desperate need of eternal salvation.
In every lost soul there is a precious, fragile birdie trapped beneath a car. The weight of sin and rebellion is so great it is a wonder anyone even survives. But greater still is the rescue.
Greater still is Jesus.
The mighty Rescuer, Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, stepped down from on high as the one and only life saving, eternal aid. Jesus left the glory and perfection of heaven in order to save His precious children, his beloved birdies. With His death on the cross, Jesus became the Rescuer for the lost. With His resurrection from the grave, He became the Redeemer and hope for every little birdie in the world. In Christ's Risen life God lifted every trapped sinner from beneath the wheels of sin and placed them in the safety of His eternal, heavenly seat.
God is faithfully traversing the roads of this world seeking the lost and in danger. With His Almighty hand He is reaching out to lift the lonely, free the captive and bring hope to the hopeless. With the Lord Jesus Christ, the Rescuer and Redeemer, God is saving with He who is greater still.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jesus walked in

Today the world is walking out in demonstration. They are sending a message by stepping away.
But Jesus stepped in to demonstrate His love and grace....Jesus walked in to save.

Today our schools, cities and country desperately need Jesus. Not politics. Not demonstrations. Not agendas. Our world needs Jesus. Simply the saving grace of Jesus.
We need Jesus, the one and only Jesus Christ, who left the perfection of Heaven to live on earth and suffer in this utter brokenness. Jesus, the Son of God, who walked into the world and up to the cross with outstretched arms of love and forgiveness. Jesus, the Savior of the world who walked in to save.
And He is still walking in today.
Today Jesus Christ is walking into our schools. He is walking into our city streets and neighborhoods. Into our government buildings, churches and coffee shops, Jesus is entering in. To our country and this broken, fallen world, Jesus is stepping in to save.
Today (and everyday) lets join together to demonstrate praise to God and proclaim the good news that Jesus Christ is not done walking in. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Mr. Woodpecker

Every morning there is a woodpecker outside my window that wakes me at the very crack of dawn. He is as dependable as a rooster, my neighbor, Mr. Woodpecker. He is steadfast and faithful to his wood pecking routine. He strikes his beak into the tree's bark at a rapid pace for at least hour each and every day. The rat-tat-tat-ing beats like a drum to awaken the night.
Mr. Woodpecker's daily ordeal is completely disruptive to early morning sleep, which I would happily enjoy if he were not my neighbor. I wouldn't mind residing so close to Mr. Woodpecker if he didn't conduct his commotion so early in the morning. But for his noise, I would happily reside near my feathered friend and enjoy the stunning sight of his brightly colored red head peaking through the tree's branches. If only Mr. Woodpecker would push back his pecking by an hour or two, then we could live in peaceful harmony.
But Mr. Woodpecker will not relent. I've kindly asked him to beat a bit more quietly but he has yet to tone down the tapping. He hasn't rearranged his schedule either. There is simply nothing I can do or say to change his routine.
For Mr. Woodpecker, pecking wood in the early morning hours is the duty he was born to perform. It is his calling and obligation to beat against the bark. In this act he finds food, makes his nest and even drums messages of communication to other fowl of the air.  Mr. Woodpecker and his feathered dependents are sustained by the act of his daily wood pecking.  
To have the beautiful sight of Mr. Woodpecker's bright red feathers there must be the sound of his incessant striking. The two cannot be separated from one another. Where there is the bird, there is the drum. Where there is the presence of his life, there is the inescapable noise of him.
And so it is while residing with God. He is intent on striking in the early morning hours. He awakens the night with His cleansing drum. The repeated pecking of the Lord's purification beats with vigor and breaks through the silence.
To be in the midst of God's striking sound is to be in His holy presence. To be united with the Son is to be full of His joy even when the noise comes in the early morning hours. To be one with the Spirit is to at peace during every holy, purifying, pecking disruption. 
Where there is the presence of God, there is the inescapable, Holy noise of Him. He taps into the places that need more grace and pecks away the hard, hurt crevasses in the heart. It is His unrelenting work to strike at sin with the beacon of Christ's purifying life. It is his glorious duty to cleanse the heart with His steadfast pecking.
With God as my Holy Father (and Mr. Woodpecker as my neighbor) I am assured that my days will be blessed with many holy disruptions as God goes about His heavenly work of pecking me into the shape of His perfect Son, the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Monday, March 5, 2018


A year ago my dear pastor lent me one of his favorite books to read. Miracles by Eric Metaxas. I gladly borrowed the book with every intention of reading it then promptly returning it. But once I brought the book home I sat it on my shelf without ever cracking open its hardback cover.
The truth is, I couldn’t get past the title. “Miracles.” Oh, how desperately I have wanted a miracle. I have begged God for a miracle. Countless prayers have proceeded from these lips to God’s ears pleading for Him to perform a healing wonder in my body. Just the other night I laid on my bedroom floor, crying out to God for His hand to deliver an instantaneous miracle.
But I didn’t get my miracle. Despite all of my prayers, God has never reached down and touched me with His healing hand like he did for the paralyzed man stranded by the pool. Jesus has yet to touch my body like he did for the women who reached out to touch his cloak. That sick woman had bleeding stopped on the spot. But that hasn’t been my story and with each day that passes in sickness a happy healing ending seems less and less likely.
So for a year I have kept Miracles on my shelf, unopened and unread. While glancing at the title imprinted on its spine I have experienced every emotion from crushing depression to exhilarating hope. At my lowest moments the big, bold blue word has taunted me…“Miracle? Where is your miracle?” On other days it has encouraged me… “Miracle! Yes, I believe and trust in God’s miraculous healing!”
It was never my intention to keep Miracles in my possession and on the shelf for so long. I always planned on reading it, I was just waiting to receive my miraculous, transforming healing story first.
Finally, after a year of waiting, I returned pastor’s book. I never did read past t
he cover. But I did receive my miracle.
My life - that is my miracle. My very existence is a marvelous work of God. I am a walking, living, breathing wonder. Every instant that there is air in my lungs and a beat in my heart, God is accomplishing an extraordinary, logic-defying miracle.
The fact that my body has endured the past seven years is a wonder reasoning fails to explain. According to blood pressure readings I should be comatose. By the pounds on the scale, I should be hospitalized and on an IV drip. Yet, here I am. I am alive. It’s a miracle.
For over a year I have been begging God to do something miraculous in my body. How foolish I was not to see that the fact that I can pray is miracle. The very within me is a miracle. The marvelous salvation of my soul is the most extraordinary, fully executed miracle.
I have received the greatest miracle. I have received the miraculous, transformative, wondrous new life of Jesus Christ. What more of a miracle could I ever want? Jesus Christ is the greatest miracle I could ever need and the miracle that is mine for eternity. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

On the scales again...

Scales are scary. They reveal troubling numerical truth which is why for the past year I have refused to step on one. Even if I can't keep my shockingly low weight out of mind at least by staying away from the scale I can keep the numbers out of sight.
April 2017, during my first office visit with a new doctor, was the last time I faced the weight-gathering, truth-teller and the number that appeared before my eyes was shocking.
Sixty eight pounds.
I remember seeing the red dial swing up and hover just below the seventy pound mark. I held my breath, trying to keep in every last ounce of weight but my attempts were futile. I couldn't make the number budge. At twenty six years old I couldn't make the scale reach a measly, pathetic seventy pounds. The scale read me a troubling truth: I was back to my twelve year old weight.
At that moment I began a scale boycott that has remained in effect for ten months. But that all changes today because today is the day of healing that the Lord has made and I am going to step on the scale believing in that!
When Jesus Christ rose from the grave and conquered the empty tomb He guaranteed that no scale on earth will ever have the final say. God alone controls the numbers and the pounds. Sickness and illness are powerless to trump his authority or thwart His plans.
If it be God's will that the numbers rise and pounds be added, even a broken scale won't be able to deny the healing. If it be God's will to keep the scale's number stable it will by the Almighty Hand of God that supports and sustains every little pound. 
Today I am going to step on the scale without fear or worry. There is nothing to fret because God is the one working the dial. With the assurance of Heaven I can place my scale on a solid surface trusting God regardless of the reading. United with the Savior and His cross, I can face the scale with the grave-defeating confidence of His victorious resurrection.
God alone holds the scales of my life so I can step atop any earthly scale knowing that my healing day has already come in the risen Jesus Christ.