Stories that Shine on an Awesome God

Posts tagged ‘life’

A God of Cats and Old Age and Teenage Boys

“Rosey can barely walk, Mom.” My sixteen year old son gently picked up his cat and carried her down the hall to her litter box.


“Yesterday she seemed slower, but you’re right. She’s definitely struggling. She’s old, Son. Older than you.”

We’ve known this day was coming. Sometime. In the future.

“Let’s move her food and box to your room so everything will be close and she won’t have to come down the hall. Tomorrow we’ll take her to the vet.”

The arm load of blankets that my man-boy gathered for Rosey’s new habitat included the baby blanket I had crocheted before he was born. The calico kitten had curled on one end while I worked on the other. She had been there to welcome her new master. As he grew, his bed was where she slept. His desk was where she lounged as a companion to his studies, an aid for his tactile learning.

His face grew grim as he hovered over his aged pet and grasped his new reality. I ached in a grief more for him than for her. Tears were catching up with us both.

“God, I sense you’re timing here. I want to see it clearer. Please show me. Is he ready for this?”

Memory took me back, a good twelve years back, when I had written the following words:

Most every parent longs to protect their children from the dangers of life. I am no exception. Isolation tempts me with its safety. I consider a deserted island or perhaps some kind of bubble suit where only good can get in and all the bad stays out. Of course I know that good outside boundaries are only part of the answer.

To be truly safe, my child needs to be bounded internally. He needs to equipped with internal strength to survive a crazy world. I have decided that there are two essential pieces of this equipment. One piece is Security, the other, Hope. My consistent, always available love helps equip my son with security. And when I tell him of Christ’s promise to return, of life after death, and elaborate on heaven, I equip him with hope.

However, he hasn’t lost so much as a pet to death, and being taken away from the world he knows to go to heaven might be a pretty scary thought. He has sorted through the possibilities, and, one day on a quiet ride home from town, he shared his solution:

“I know, Mommy. When Jesus comes we hold hands. Okay?”

“You want to hold hands when we go to heaven?”

“Mommy, Daddy, and me hold hands. Then we go togedder! Okay?”

I promised him we will all hold hands real tight when Jesus comes.

On another day a dog lay dead on the road. “Mommy, will Jesus make the dead doggie alive and take him to heaven?”

“Jesus promises to make a brand new earth where there will be lots and lots of doggies and kitties.”

I’ll take a leash for my kitty. Yeah, and one for Lassie too.”

“So now, God, my son is sixteen and his kitty, seventeen. He has lost much more than a pet in death, but is he ready for this? Is he equipped with that internal strength? Does he possess that essential equipment, Security and Hope? Is this for a deepening maturity? Another necessary step out of childhood?”

I watch my son carefully squirt the vet’s pain medication into his pet’s mouth and receive a fresh glimpse of a God who promises to carry us even to our old age. I know I can trust God’s timing. Next, a vision presses my thoughts. It’s resurrection morning. Christ has returned to leashed animals and eager humans holding hands, meeting him in the air.


 When you face pain or grief, try to consider how it has come to you at that point in your life. Are there others who are ready to gain a glimpse of God through your experience? Does your experience mark a spiritual turning point for you? Can you feel God sustaining you even through your darkest hours? He is there. Sometimes it is only through faith that we perceive him. Sometimes it is through simple things like old cats and the teenage boys who care for them.

“Listen to me, all who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”  Isaiah 46:3&4

If you have had an experience when you saw God through the simple things of life, please share that point of light with me. On the “Share Your God Story” page you can send me a brief telling that will be rewritten and approved by you. I look forward to sharing God through your eyes.


Singer of Songs

My baby daughter is getting married. I want to sing her that song. I want to bless her with those words, but I’ll cry. I know I’ll cry.

Image of sunrise over ocean by Lyn Janssen

Lyn’s thoughts swirled in and out like the ocean’s tide that welcomed her every morning on her drive to work. This morning, the ocean’s beauty once again arrested her progress. She stopped the car and got out. Air, fresh with the new day’s coolness, was tinged with the smell of salt and damp sand. Clouds, brightened to glory by the rising sun, allowed for a glimpse of blue sky to come.

Music from thirteen years before lilted inside until her heart could no longer hide the joy or the wish that she wanted to share with her daughter, Sarah, on her wedding day. Her voice rose to the words, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean . . . .”

Lee Ann Womack may have made it popular, but it was Sarah’s, song.

“Mom, will you sing, I Hope You Dance, for my graduation?” Lyn had met the depth in the eyes of her high school senior and never even noticed her smooth, naked scalp. Her baby was gorgeous. The fact that cancer’s cure had taken her hair, only proved how strong she was.Image of Sarah's Cancer Pic - resplendent and glowing in Prom dress

“You know, Mom, the part about never taking one single breath for granted? Wish you would sing it.”

Lyn, drove away from the ocean, its splendor saved on her iPhone.

I knew I couldn’t sing it then. I would have been an emotional basket case, and I’m afraid I can’t sing it now. But I want to surprise her at the reception. Lord, how can I sing for Sarah?

That night she conferred with Sarah’s brother. “Why don’t you make a recording, Mom, and then if you don’t think you can sing it, you can play the CD?”

Good idea, but who would do the recording? How much would it cost?

Lord, I want to rejoice over her with singing. It’s a miracle that I can sing at all, but that’s another story. Right now, how can I sing for Sarah? Will you give me this desire?

Days passed. Each one, with its ocean views, brought beauty but no answers.

Image of Sarah and Lyn

It was her day off, one that she had set aside for study and prayer. Instead, she found herself at the office helping to finish monthly reports. A co-worker came in. The two chatted about health classes and nutrition and joining a gym and how hard it was to find time to exercise, what with family and church activities.

“I’m busy enough already,” Lyn said, “but there’s talk at my church of starting a choir. I would join if they did.”

“Oh, I wish I could sing. My husband would love it if I could. He writes songs and he needs a female voice.”

“He writes songs?”

“Yes, indeed. We have a recording studio right in our home.”

Lyn felt sure her heart stopped, but after discussing the details of how her friend’s husband could help her record her song for Sarah, she left the office dancing and delighting herself in the Lord. The ocean, resplendent as ever, reflected the glory in her heart.

Image of Orange Ocean Sunset by Lyn Janssen

God, your timing is so absolutely perfect! You, and you alone, know how to give us the desires of our hearts.

On July 3, 2014, Lyn was able to fulfill her dream of singing for Sarah. When she shared her story she wrote:

“I wondered for quite a while how and when to fit this into the events surrounding the wedding. I enlisted the help of my sons. We decided that during the reception, when the floor opened up for toasts, mine would be the last one…and we would play the song. I managed to introduce it without telling the whole story (and without crying). And I got to spend a moment with the bride and groom, my beautiful daughter and new son, wishing them the very best and letting them know that I wanted everything good for them.

Click play below to listen to the recording that Lyn made for Sarah’s wedding.



Image of Lyn & Sarah at Mirror on Wedding day

The points of light that Lyn’s story shine on our awesome God are numerous:

His timing is perfect.

He loves to give us the desires of our hearts.

He identifies closely with parents who joy over their children and who, like himself, love to sing over them.

 When you think of the Father, know that he takes great delight in you. Let him quiet you with his love. Let him rejoice over you with singing.”

“The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you (rejoice over you with joy) He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 2:17

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

If you have a story that has helped you see God in closer light, please share it on our Share Your God Story by clicking here.

Story contributed by Lyn Janssen and Written by Merita Atherly Engen.  Ocean pictures taken by Lyn Janssen.

God in the Ultimates

There was a time when I longed for an ideal, romantic love. My life story seemed to prove that it didn’t exist. Consequently, I thought that perhaps God didn’t exist. My pinpoint of a beam, searching for the truth about Him, grew dim as it swept the darkness.

Finally, like the young woman in The Heart of Rose-Marie, I cried in desperation:

Image of Husband & Wife Holding hands at altar

“God, I’m tired of spiritual limbo. Your way has to work in every circumstance, for real problems. That’s what I want to test.”

My discourse with the All Mighty began:

“So what is faith?”

“It’s naked trust, and I haven’t had much experience.”

“What kind of experience do you need?”

Experience with trusting in the ultimates.”

What are the ultimates?”

Life, death, health, economic security. An ultimate for me is to find my reason to be, who I am, my place of belonging. Another ultimate is to love and be loved. God, for Your way to mean anything, I want it tested in these ultimates.”

From that day on, I began to search for situations where God’s way was tested and worked. I began to interpret my  life experiences through the lens of Him proving His way in my joys and challenges. I began to recognize the genuine, ideal Love that was working in my heart.

I began to get to know Him.

The better I know, the better I can trust. Even in the ultimates.

So, how has God proven His way to you personally, in your ultimates? Especially in matters of your heart. How have you gotten to know Him?

“In him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28

%d bloggers like this: