Again

Our family has been struck again, less than a year after our Kristina died, and I am reminded of how much I hate cancer, of how much I hate death

To an outsider, it may not seem quite as much the tragedy as before. This is my Papa, after all, my eighty-six year old grandpa. He is not fighting for the chance to raise his children or wishing for a chance to grow old with his spouse after only a few years of marriage. He has lived a good and full life. 

And yet it is a tragedy. Death itself is a tragedy, and while I am tempted to rail at God against the ugliness of it all, deep inside my heart I know that it is our sin, our rebellion that let death into our world in the first place and it is God’s mercy that gave us life again.

Cancer and death are tragedy, they are ugly. For our family, this cancer is as ugly as any other. Yes, there is difference between a twenty-six year old and an eighty-six year old. And yet, I am greedy. 

I am greedy for more time. I want to yell at God, “NO! It is not enough! Thirty-four years with my Papa is not enough. I want more time! I want him to meet this baby growing inside of me. I want all of my children to know and remember him. You did not give me enough time!” 

All this while stomping my foot like the child that I am.

Yet my heart has been changed through Kristina’s struggle and death. I have learned a little more about Who God is and who I am in relation to Him. I have learned about obedience in the midst of the ugly

And I have learned that I have a choice in all of this. I can choose to blame God, letting my anger and grief drive me away from Him, or I can choose to be obedient and thank Him, clinging to Him and letting Him be all that I need.

So at least for today (I know I still have disobedience, some yelling and foot-stomping inside of me for another day), I will choose this:

Thank You, Abba, for the gift of my Papa and my Gram. 

Thank You for giving me so many years with them, years of such close relationship and of so many beautiful times with them.


Thank You for giving them so many talents and abilities and for giving them the desire to teach and share those skills with me.

Thank You for their wisdom, for all that I have learned from them, for all of the wisdom that I now have stored in my own heart.

Thank You most of all for making their hearts like Yours. Thank You for allowing me to see You in them, to see in their lives how You want me to live. Thank You for showing me through them how to live faithfully as a child of Yours, as a spouse and as a parent.

Thank You for the beauty that is their lives. 

Thank You, Abba, for Your grace.

Don’t Follow Your Heart














When my grandparents were young, during World War II, during the age of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, people were told that they should have the courage to stand up for what is right.


These days, I hear a lot of people say that we should all have the courage to follow our hearts.

After all, something done spontaneously has more validity, right? Something that comes from the heart means more than something that took a lot of effort?

I hear this from Christians, as well as from the secular world. We are told to take a risk, to have the courage to follow our hearts, our passions, our dreams. We are told that God uses our passions for His glory, so we should take financial and emotional risks, even risks to our family, to do what we are passionate about.

This is what many are taught to believe that Jesus came to model and teach: that “to thine own self be true” is the central goal and task of every man.



This actually sounds a bit like Gnosticism, a philosophy that John spoke out against in the New Testament. 

Although an ancient philosophy, see if this sounds familiar today: There is a spark of light hidden in us underneath layers of social and cultural conditioning. Whatever we most truly find within ourselves is right. My heart tells me how things truly are and I must go with my heart.

May I please decry the idea that something done spontaneously has automatic validation while something that is done while following orders or after careful reflection is less valuable or even hypocritical? Thinking carefully about a course of action does not mean that you are being false to yourself. 

This all reminds me of the romantic idea of art vs what art really is. The romantic says that art should be effortless, that it should just flow from your heart and soul. The true artist, whether visual arts, music, dance, writing, or any other genre, knows how much hard work and practice it takes to get to the point of seeming effortless. 



Perhaps it takes more courage to stick with the hard task, to continue working to provide for your family, to practice patience and self-control every single day than it does to just throw it all away and follow your heart’s desire.

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” ~ Luke 9.23

In After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (you will be hearing more from this book in coming weeks!), N.T. Wright says that following your heart

tries to get in advance, and without paying the true price, what virtue offers further down the road, and at the cost of genuine moral thought, decision, and effort.

I am not suggesting that what you do only has merit if it is dull and drudging work or that doing what you love is wrong. Yes, God does use our gifts and talents. Yes, sometimes God does call us to do something crazy, something that our world would call foolish.



What I am suggesting is that we should test what is in our hearts before we blindly follow. We should spend time with God, seeking to know what He wants rather than assuming that what is in our hearts is right. 



I don’t know about you, but my own heart can be incredibly fickle.

A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart. ~ Prov. 21.2

Perhaps doing only what we love is not always the godly path. More often than not, it seems that the godly path is the harder road to follow.

I promise you, though, it is well worth the work and effort. 

Just like a beautiful piece of art.



art credit: Shakespeare playbill; Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night

What will you do when God says "no"?

What do you do when you don’t get your way?



My eldest screams with a red hot rage and sobs tears of hurt and disappointment.

As much as I would like to hold my head up high and speak with condescension about the ways of a child, I can’t. Instead, I will bow my head with shame and confess that, even if I don’t do it out loud or in front of people, I have much the same reaction in my deepest places.

I received another “no” from God this week.




It really hurt. Yet another of my well-laid plans was swept away with the dust of a hope.

I do gain deep peace and joy from knowing beyond a doubt that the only reason that God said “no” was because that wasn’t what was best.

And, just as I wrote recently, my heart still grieves.

There is a piece of me, that child that can’t seem to grow up, that wants to shout and rage and stamp its foot and demand a “yes” from God.



The desire, the temptation, is not wrong. As I often tell my eldest, the feeling is not wrong, but what you choose to do can be either wise or foolish.

So what did I choose to do?

This time (I wish that I could say “every time”) I chose what was wise.

With tears, I praised God.

I thanked Him for telling me “no” because I trust that it was best, that it was done out of love.

Then I went to church and worshiped.

You make all things work together for my good.
You stay the same through the ages,
Your love never changes.
There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
And when the oceans rage,
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me.
Your love never fails.


My whole life I place in Your hands.
God of mercy, humbled I bow down
In Your presence at Your throne.
I called, You answered
And You came to my rescue
And I want to be where You are.


You stood before my failure,
Carried the cross for my shame.
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders,
My soul now to stand.
So I’ll stand,
With arms high and heart abandoned,
In awe of the One who gave it all.


I turned my eyes back to Jesus and gained back my perspective. No matter to what God says “no”, it is so small compared to the huge thing to which He has already said “yes”: allowing us to become His children through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. He has given us everything, and so…

I’ll stand
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered.
All I am is Yours.

art credit: 
songs are from Your Love Never Fails (Jesus Culture); Came To My Rescue (Hillsong United); The Stand (Hillsong United) 
sketching is The Three Crosses by Rembrandt

If I hurt, am I really trusting?

My eldest has a new fear.




Any time my husband gets into the driver’s seat of our car while I am still out of the car, my eldest is convinced that he is about to leave me. She begins sobbing and yelling, “Daddy, don’t leave Mommy! Daddy, don’t leave Mommy!”.



The usual response is, “Sweetheart, have I ever left Mommy?!”

Apparently, that has nothing to do with anything.

I sometimes get frustrated with the apparent lack of trust that my daughter has in both of her parents, regardless of how many times we have proven ourselves to her.



“Why won’t you trust me?” I ask her. “Have I ever (you fill in the blank!) before?”

When I stop to think about it, though, I completely understand. So often I decide that this is the time that God is not going to care for me, no matter how many times before He has proven His goodness and His love.

How many times does He have to prove Himself to me before I will finally trust that He will do what is best for me, even when I can’t see it?

Recently, though, I have been struggling with a different sort of trust issue.

While Kristina struggled for life and in the early days of Mike facing life as a single parent, God helped me to work though how we trust Him in the darkest times.

Now there are different hard times.

I want to publish these words of mine. So far, God says no.

We want another baby to add to the beauty and joy of our family. So far, God says no.

I thought I was trusting Him in these things. After all, if I could trust Him through horrible pain and ugly death, surely I can trust Him in this also.

I trust that if He is saying no to my desires it is because He has something infinitely more beautiful in mind.

Yet it still hurts.



Why does it still hurt if I trust that God is love?

How can my heart feel as though it is breaking if I trust that God is good?

If I hurt when God says no, does that mean that I am not truly trusting?

This. This is what my heart and my head have been struggling with.

Then one night I was praying while nursing my youngest and God brought to my mind the image of Jesus in the Garden, praying so fervently His sweat fell like drops of blood, praying in anguish that He would not have to face what was coming.

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.



It was as though God was laying a soothing hand on my troubled heart and telling me to look at His Son.

Of all who have ever walked this earth, Jesus trusted God. Jesus trusted that God is good, that God is love, that whatever God chooses is the very best, most beautiful thing.

And yet He still hurt. He still prayed in anguish and cried out to God to save Him.

So perhaps I am still trusting after all. Perhaps it is okay to hurt when God’s plans turn out to be something other than what I desire.

I will try not to doubt myself so much. I will try to allow myself to weep, to cry out to God in pain and disappointment, while still knowing that

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

art credit: Gethsemane by Carl Bloch

Photographs of Love

I have a photograph that sits on my dresser. In this photograph, my then-two-year-old daughter is giving an exuberant hug to my crammed-full-of-baby-sister tummy. Her arms are wrapped around my belly as far as they will go, her sweet face is all squashed up against my belly and I am laughing with joy at her excitement.

I have another photograph that could sit beside the first. In this photograph, my then-two-year-old daughter is lying on top of her now-two-month-old sister, trying to squash her and steal her pacifier, while baby sister is crying with pure frustration. Ah, the fickleness of a child’s love!

My eldest daughter was so excited about becoming a big sister. She talked for months about how much she loved her baby sister, how she couldn’t wait for baby to arrive and how she would give baby sister so many hugs and kisses. Then her baby sister arrived and reality came crashing into her world. The first time I gave baby the attention that my eldest claimed for her own, that previously professed love disappeared as quickly as a child when bedtime is near.

I like to think that I, as an adult, am able to show a much more pure kind of love to all those around me. I want to believe that I am capable of giving true love, a perfect sort of gift-love, if not to everyone, then at least to those who are most important to me. Like my eldest duaghter, however, the gift-love I am capable of giving shines best when captured by photographs.

SnapThere I am making my husband’s favorite meal for supper tonight. Snap Look at me! There I am taking the time to walk with my kids to the park for a fun morning of play time and a picnic lunch. SnapIn this one, I’m making a meal for a dear friend who just gave birth to a baby boy. 

If you look at me in the space between those snapshots, however, I’m ignoring my husband when he gets home from work, snarling at my girls when I am tired and avoiding the friend who is struggling with her past for the pitiful reason that I don’t know what to say. Ah, the fickleness of an adult’s love!

I struggle to understand the true nature of gift-love. Ask anyone on the street and they would say that they desire to be loved. I don’t really comprehend what that means, though. I don’t know what that looks like. What doesit look like to be loved beautifully, perfectly? I begin to look around me for insight, for glimpses that will help my heart to know what love really is.

SnapMy husband gives up certain advancements in his career in order to give me and his daughters more of himself and his time. SnapMy parents give up a needed vacation so that they can support their son as he grieves for his wife. SnapI watch my brother love and care for his young wife who is dying of cancer, giving up all thought of doing anything for himself.

As I watch and tuck away these photographs of memory, I begin to see a strand that connects them all. Each of these moments of perfect love seem to involve sacrifice, a denying of self. I start to wonder: is this what is required for love to be real, for love to be true? For love to be perfected, must the lover give up something of great importance?

The truth of this seems a little clearer when I think about my children. Other than my love for my husband, my love for my children is the closest thing to a perfect gift-love that I am able to give. With my children, I do not expect anything at all in return for my love, my service. Especially while they are young, I know that I must love them even when the gratitude I receive in return for my love is a tantrum in the supermarket. It is when I start expecting something in return from them, when I expect obedience or even a simple “thank you”, that my gift-love fails and those photographs of love turn into the blank in-between space of ugly actions and thoughts. Still, I do expect something in return. I expect to be loved in return for loving them.

I begin to think that perhaps this is why it is so hard to love consistently. I need love for myself too much to be able to give love perfectly to anyone else. Authentic love is unconditional yet I can’t live without the love that I receive from those around me. Those snapshots of perfect love that I tucked away seem to include a forgetting of self, a giving without expecting anything in return, an open-handed gift even if a close-handed gesture is the return. The imperfection of my love creeps in when that cannot be sustained. It seems that, as much as we may desire otherwise, we can only have snapshots of that real love because we all must receive as well as give. We need to be loved in order to give love perfectly. It seems that what we need is someone to love us who doesn’t need us at all.


Perhaps this is why those photographs of perfect love are so beautiful, so cherished, so longed for…because, at least among humanity, they are the exception rather than the rule. They draw us out of the smallness of ourselves and into something bigger, something greater. Those momentary photographs show us a glimpse of the joy and contentment that could be ours in a perfect sort of gift-love. It seems a difficult thing, but perhaps with time, more of the pages of my life can become filled with those beautiful photographs of perfect gift-love with less blank space in between.

Can I Really Know God?

“This is one of the most beautiful things to me.”

I look at her, my mommy-shepherd, wanting her to continue.

“A mother who knows her baby, who knows what her baby needs by being completely attuned to the cues her baby gives her.”



Yes. This is beautiful.

Our conversation drifts to the back of my mind until I am reading Psalm 139, which begins like this: 

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.

My mind leaps back to the beauty of a mother knowing her baby as I read more of the psalm: 

…you perceive my thoughts from afar…you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord…For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

God knows me.



God, the One Who weighs the clouds heavy with snow, knows me even more deeply than a mommy can know her baby.

This is beautiful.

And then I read something that I have read many times. This time, with the beauty of God’s knowledge of me fresh in my mind, I am stunned.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

The wonder of this takes my breath away and I want to check, to be sure this is true.

I know that the Old and New Testaments were written in different languages, but I check my Strong’s for the meanings of “know” in both chapters and they are remarkably similar. It is the same kind of knowing.

We will know God as deeply as He knows us.

Stop for just a moment and let that fill up your heart.

Lately my heart has been too full of the mystery of God. I often struggle to see Him in the midst of the busyness, the hurts and disappointments of life. 

My heart needs to hear this, to savor it: God wants me to know Him.



I search for more of this truth. If you, too, need this, go slowly. Let God breathe these words into your distant heart and draw you close to Him.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom…but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD.’

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD.

I am filled with this beauty.

God knows all of the deepest pieces of me and in all of His knowledge of my dark places, He desires that I know Him just as deeply.



Beautiful.



Scriptures in order: I Corinthians 13.12; John 10.14-15; Ephesians 1.17; Hosea 6.6; Jeremiah 9.23-24; Jeremiah 24.7 
Painting is Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Johannes Vermeer

A Psalm of Love


Holy. Beautiful. Glory.



Creator. Author. Majesty.



King and Lord. Humility and Servant.



Love.






Wise beyond my wisdom.



Knowing beyond my knowledge.



Perfect plan beyond what I can comprehend.



Love.






Giver of all that I grasp too tightly.



Sacrificer of all, that I may see Your face.



Abundant mercy and grace, I rest in your delight in me.



Love.






For all that comes before,



When I cannot understand,



Still I will cling to Your power, Your goodness and



Your Love.




Follow the Signs

May we continue our conversation from last week?


Reality is hard.

Our family has become steeped in pain and loss.


Many others suffer far greater tragedies.

Reconciling the hurt with the heart of God is hard.

It is tempting to add a veneer of softness, to speak in cliches that turn raw, ripped-open pain into a lie.

Sometimes this is even encouraged among those of us who follow Christ.

Yet to do this denies that we are real, that our hearts can be ripped in two, that our pain and loss can suffocate and almost overwhelm us.


To do this denies that Christ is real, that His body and heart were also ripped apart.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

All through the Bible, God seems to not place much importance at all on whether we are free from pain or suffering. 

Abel. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Uriah the prophet. John the BaptistJesus’ cousin. All of the apostles…Jesus’ closest friends.

Understanding why Kristina had to die is hard.


I might never know the reason.

God’s purposes are not for me to understand His plans: His plan is for me to understand Who He is…Faith is this unwavering trust in the heart of God in the hurt of here. (Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience)

Can I trust in the heart of God?



In C.S. Lewis’ story of Narnia, The Silver Chair, two children (Jill and Scrubb) and one Marsh-wiggle (Puddleglum) are given by Aslan (the Christ-figure) four signs with which to find the lost prince of Narnia. They completely muff the first three signs which leads to their imprisonment with a madman who is chained to (you guessed it!) a silver chair. The fourth and last sign is that someone “will ask you to do something in my name, in the name of Aslan”. The madman entreats the three travelers to free him, which is where I will pick up our story:

“Once and for all,” said the prisoner, “I adjure you to set me free. By all fears and all loves, by the bright skies of Overland, by the great Lion, by Aslan himself, I charge you –” 

“Oh!” said the three travelers as though they had been hurt. “It’s the sign,” said Puddleglum. “It was the words of the sign,” said Scrubb more cautiously. “Oh, what are we to do?” said Jill.


It was a dreadful question. What had been the use of promising one another that they would not on any account set the Knight free, if they were now to do so the first time he happened to call upon a name they really cared about? On the other hand, what had been the use of learning the signs if they weren’t going to obey them? Yet could Aslan have really meant them to unbind anyone – even a lunatic – who asked it in his name? … They had muffed three already; they daren’t muff the fourth.


“Oh, if only we knew!” said Jill.


“I think we do know,” said Puddleglum.


“Do you mean you think everything will come right if we do untie him?” said Scrubb.


“I don’t know about that,” said Puddleglum. “You see, Aslan didn’t tell (Jill) what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he’s up, I shouldn’t wonder. But that doesn’t let us off following the sign.”

That doesn’t let us off following the sign.

We aren’t guaranteed that anything here on earth will turn out okay. I wish we did have that promise. 

Instead, if we have nothing else (and we do have so much else!), if we can turn to and trust nothing else, we have the cross.

After his wife of only four years had died of cancer, C. S. Lewis said 

If only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it, instead of her…But is it ever allowed? It was allowed to One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be so done. He replies to our babble, “You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.”

And so I find that perhaps, after all, it does not matter why. It does not matter from whence came the hard thing. 


If God ever had to prove anything, at the cross He proved His love, His promise to work for the best of all He created.

It is not a bad thing to seek for the why’s and how’s and from where’s. God is able to handle our questions, our fears.

Yet if we never get any answers, if we never know the reasons, if we never understand, we who have chosen to follow Christ, who have allowed Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, we who have embraced His sacrifice of love…

We aren’t let off following the signs. 

Art Credits: Photograph of Cross wooden statue by Asta Rastauskiene
; Marsh-wiggle picture (I was not able to find the original); Rembrandt’s The Three Crosses  

Thanks also to my wonderful Dad who gave me some of the ideas in this essay.

This is Hard.

Grief is hard.

While the rest of us can return to our lives and, for at least a few hours, forget, my brother is faced with his new reality every moment of every day.



The loss of his beloved, now a single daddy…

Reality is hard.

I want to know God and part of knowing Him must involve reconciling what I see around me to what I know of Him through His Words.



The seeking results in ideas and wonderings that reverberate through my heart.

You have walked with me through many of my searchings in the darkness. Will you join me for a few more?

Does God send suffering? Does He send pain?

Some would recoil at the idea. 

But why? We see pain result in good all the time in our world. Go to any hospital and look around.

I talk with my youngest brother about this.



He of the scientific bent points out that many things that sometimes have “tragic” results are very important to the existence of the earth, even to our own existence: without wildfires, ecosystems would collapse; without seismic and volcanic activity, our earth could not refresh itself; hurricanes aid island ecosytems; the gene mutations that sometimes produce cancer prevent us from all being clones.

The Bible seems to suggest that God does, at least sometimes, send bad things:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. ~ II Corinthians 1

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” ~ John 9

Perhaps, though, whether or not He sends them doesn’t matter. 

Bad things happen.


If God doesn’t send them, He certainly has the power to stop them. Yet He chooses to allow them to happen.

Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t. Either way, we’re for it. (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed)

Either way we are left trying to reconcile these things with the God that we know to be good.

We are left trying to reconcile the hurt with His heart.

There are tears everywhere and God catches them, puts them into His bottle.

God is always good and we are always loved. Loved enough to be shaped into goodness of Christ Himself. (Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience)

This reconciliation is hard.

How have you done this? How have you reconciled these hard things with the character of our God?

Will you join me next week as I search through these ideas even more?

You Are What You Do

“I don’t feel like obeying today.”



My eldest believes that she should only obey when she feels like doing so.

I am quick to disabuse her of this idea.

The incident does, however, cause me to begin mulling over the connection between actions and emotions, between behavior and the heart.

Is there a reason why we are supposed to obey, to do what is right, even when we don’t feel like it? Isn’t that hypocritical?

“I shouldn’t read the Bible if I’m only doing it because I have to.”

“I shouldn’t go visit Maria at the nursing home because my heart isn’t in the right place.”

Which comes first? The physical act or the heart change?


A.J. Jacobs is a humorist who writes books about the human experiments he conducts. In several of his books, he mentions the connection between his actions and his emotions. 

In The Year of Living Biblically, he is focusing on Ephesians 4.29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” when he writes this: 

The weird thing is, I think my G-rated language is making me a less angry person. Because here’s the way it works: I’ll get to the subway platform just as the downtown train is pulling away, and I’ll start to say the F-word. I’ll remember to censor myself. So I’ll turn it into “fudge” at the last second. When I hear myself say “fudge” out loud, it sounds so folksy, so Jimmy Stewart-ish and amusingly dorky, that I can’t help but smile. My anger recedes. Once again, behavior shapes emotions.

In My Life as an Experiment, he says this: 

Historically, the handshake was seen as a democratic gesture…But nowadays, I think the bow has more benefits. Though it may seem pretentious, it’s actually deeply humbling. Just lowering yourself before someone – the universal symbol of modesty – makes you feel more respectful. Behavior shapes your thoughts. 

Is it odd that I’m finding wisdom in a comedian?


Yet God did create us with physical bodies, and our physical condition, whether health or posture, does seem to affect our emotions. 



If a comedian isn’t authoritative enough, how about Aristotle?


Aristotle also believed that your actions shape your heart: 

Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way…you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. 

He also said: 

We are what we repeatedly do. 

 So perhaps, after all, it is not hypocritical to do right things when our hearts are rebelling. 


Perhaps, instead, this is how we train our hearts to desire right things.



Perhaps, too, paying attention to our physical bodies, such as our posture while praying, can help us to keep our hearts focused.


And since finding wisdom in a comedian and in an ancient philosopher should never be enough for us, God also gives us instructions for our physical bodies in order to help our hearts become truly His: 

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~ Deuteronomy 6.6-9 

Which commandments had God just given them? 


Ah. The most important of all.



Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~ Deuteronomy 6.5

Image credits: A.J. Jacobs from The Year of Living Biblically; cropped from The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio