27 September 2012


We read about Eden. God gave the man work in the garden before the fall, before the curse. Before the time of
"cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face 
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground..."

But before that, what was it? A blessed ground?
In delight, we would eat of it all the days of our life;
wholeness and fullness, goodness and beauty it shall bring forth for us,
and we shall eat the plants of the field.
By laughter and happiness
you shall eat bread,
as you walk with me...?

The picture of the beautiful woman of Proverbs, "...she laughs at the time to come." That word laugh meaning rejoices, plays, celebrates. O delight. The future as delight. I wonder, before the curse was the future always a pretty sight? Fear the Lord -- the future is a time of praise and laughter.

We live under the curse, but what if we live out from under the curse? What if we live like the kingdom is not yet, but very fully present? What if I laugh at the day to come, live like I have enough? Because--actually factually--I do have enough. Not too much. Not rotting-under-the-trees too much or hoarded-in-the-bottom-of-my-refrigerator stocked up, but enough. Just enough.

In Christ
there is always

While we toil and Sophia burps up on the carpet, while the car needs to be repaired and that bill is higher than we expected, when weeds come up in the garden and bodies are getting old and I'm working hard and it's just not working, what if I remembered 


14 Weeks

21 September 2012

13 Weeks

like a watered garden

The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest the Lord appeared to him from far away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

...they shall return here with weeping they shall come
and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back. I will make them walk by brooks of water in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a Father...

"...He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock."
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lordover the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden and they shall languish no more.

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31)

The harsh God of the Old Testament? Are you joking? This covenant-bound husband, enduring, jealously, patiently biding the time, welcoming back. The harsh God? I don't know who you are talking about.
grace in the wilderness
an everlasting love
continued faithfulness
led back
by brooks of water


sing aloud!
be radiant over the goodness of the Lord!
languish no more!
rejoice! be merry!
mourning into joy
gladness for sorrow
feast the soul with abundance
be satisfied with God's goodness

What joyful, hopeful, gracious words to such self-seeking, self-protecting, self-worshiping people. Oh my. Thank you, Lord.

08 September 2012

summer reads 2012

This summer I've been reading a whole lot about giving birth, babies and breastfeeding. But before those I read a few old books that'd probably be really hard for anyone to find. Both are true stories. I think they'd fit into the biography category:

1. Hidden Rainbow. About a very poor Yugoslavian family who is transformed as God's word comes to their village. I was fascinated by the portrayal of the culture and village life and catholicism AND in wonder at the power of God for salvation.

2. Hansi: The Girl who Loved the Swastika. True story of a Czechoslovakian girl who joined the Nazi youth. The first half is grueling and horrible. The second half is God's blessing. An incredible testimony.

Neither of those books were notable for being written very well, but the stories were incredible and PULLED me through. This next one did, too:

3. The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens. I would say this was sort of the findings of a qualitative research project done about immigrant teens in America. It chronicles the experiences of a handful of teens. Because I've been a foreigner, I think I'll always have a big opening in my heart for people living in an unfamiliar land. I don't think this book caused any immediate action for me, but it certainly opened my eyes to a very current issue and grew my compassion.

Oh no. Now I'm thinking of a few more that have totally been pulling on my brain, giving us lots to talk about in the Burnham home. We've read these two aloud and spent quite a bit of time talking about both of them.

4. Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America. Not finished with this one yet. Intriguing, smart study, work and story of how human everyone really is and what we can do to bridge gaps that cause violence.

5. The Wise Woman. Always, always a good one for me to mull over, Sarah. I really think you'd like it if you could wade through the old-fashioned wordiness. A source of conviction and encouragement as we reflected on our own state and the task of raising a child.

05 September 2012

declares the Lord

When the Israelites were in Babylon, away from home, exiled, misled and in distress, God said to them:

Build houses and live in them;
plant gardens and eat their produce.
Take wives and have sons and daughters;
take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage,
that they may bear sons and daughters;
multiply there, and do not decrease.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you in to exile,
and pray to the Lord on its behalf,
for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
.....I will visit you,
and I will fulfill to you my promise 
and bring you back to this place.
For I know the plans I have for you, 
declares the Lord,
plans for peace and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon me 
and come 
and pray to me,
and I will hear you.
You will seek me and find me,
when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,
declares the Lord,
and I will restore your fortunes 
and gather you from all the nations and all the places 
where I have driven you,
declares the Lord,
and I will bring you back to the place 
from which I sent you into exile.
(Jer 29:5-14)

A good reminder for me today. He has good plans, he gives good direction, he has good purpose, he restores, he redeems. He declares it and it will be done. Amen!!!

04 September 2012

10 Weeks