Category: Life Lessons Learned

When Healing Doesn’t Come…

The year I turned 40, things changed. One sickness chased another. I’ve been diagnosed with several chronic diseases. Most of them are what I call “invisible diseases.” It’s hard to explain Ménière’s disease or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Interestingly enough, on days I feel the worst I get the most compliments on how good I look. Read more

A New Year – A Year of Sabbath

It all began in April of 2014. It was Easter Sunday to be exact. I still made it to church that morning, but by the afternoon I was so weak and exhausted I needed a nap. A few hours later I woke up with a 40°C fever. The following days would mark the most pivoting point in the last 8 years. I had a lesson to learn, and God was about to teach it. He needed my full attention, and He finally got it.

RunningCreative Commons License Andrew E. Larsen via Compfight

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Wouldn’t that ruin Christmas?

Postcard for the family to Christmas Felix Schürmeyer | Fotografie | PicturePS98 via Compfight

This post was first published on Dec 19, 2010. I’m re-publishing it after some editing.


It’s not even a week to Christmas. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas A LOT. I used to think that from the whole year, Christmas was one holiday that had to be perfect. I mean, there’s all this glitz and glamour, an array of colours attached to Christmas, nice smells from pine trees to apple cider and Gluehwein to delicious baking, and my favourite songs ever are Christmas songs.

Growing up we did not celebrate the Advent season as we do now. Christmas was a very short affair. There were no Advent calendars to help us with the countdown to Dec 24, and for the first 14 years of my life Christmas was an illegal holiday celebrated “underground” in the former Soviet Union. Read more

to my mother on her 80th birthday

My favorite photo from my childhood.

Liebe Mutti – dearest Mom,

you truly are one of a kind. As I’ve been thinking about this milestone in your life there have been a number of things that make you unique.

You are a single child. That was uncommon for your generation. It also made it uncommon for us children not to have any uncles and aunts on your side of the family. Speaking of uncle and aunts, since dad only had two brothers, but had a relationship with only one of them, we grew up knowing one uncle! Having six cousins was rare in our circles.

You had your first child at 30. You wished for a big family. Six and a half years later you had your big family with five children. You shared many times how hard it was raising the five of us, but we grew up as best friends.

You were an accountant. Thanks to your dad and his accounting skills and the courses you were able to take, you had a successful career. You went back to work after your first, and second, and third child. If I remember correctly, maternity leave was six weeks long, and you would take the bus or tram to come home during lunch to nurse your babies. I remember you coming home with files under your arm that needed your attention after the kids were in bed. Computers or cell phones or remote access were light years away (it seemed), yet you were into multi-tasking and 24/7 availability even then.

You got your driver’s license. The independent woman that you are, you couldn’t wait for that piece of paper so you could go and drive and do things your way. You worked hard and overcame many obstacles to get that license. Not many women in our church had their driver’s license. Stories of your driving are legendary!

You took your first English language classes in your late 50s. 20+ years later you still work at learning more words, more sentences. Even if you can’t pronounce a word, you will always know how to spell it! Listening to you communicate with your grandchildren-in-law is precious. You also encouraged dad to learn the language. I’ll never forget the day he said Grace at the lunch table in English.

If you had a late start to language classes, you did not want to be left behind when it came to computers or cell phones. You got your own first computer some 10-15 years ago. You learned to navigate email, favorite news sites, handle online and international banking. Now you watch or listen to sermons online, and in Russian of all languages! When grandchildren started to leave for extended mission assignments in Europe, you asked to have your very own Facebook account so you could stay in touch and keep up with what was happening in their lives.

All these things made you unique for your generation. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to be different all these years, but you managed to pull it off and defy countless odds.

You are a very resilient woman that will overcome! I didn’t always understand you or support you. And there were years we didn’t always see eye to eye. But there are a few lessons that will stay with me forever:

– Prayer changes everything! You believed in it so strongly, you wouldn’t allow us to leave the house if we hadn’t prayed. When pressed for time I wanted to leave to catch the train, you insisted I go back to my room, kneel down at my bed and pray. Today I wish I hadn’t been annoyed at you so many times. Today I see the value of it.

– You read to us from a devotional every morning. Sometimes you had to read the same devotional 3, 4 or 5 times, just because of how early/late we would come to the breakfast table. But we would not get away with it. You insisted we listened to your reading while having breakfast.

– Your love for singing and music! You passed it on to all five of us. We might have developed our own taste in music, but the foundations for it were laid by you!

Liebe Mutti, the lists could go on and on. After all, 80 years is a long time, and your life is a colorful one!

Thank you, mother dearest!

i celebrate you today for who you are, for who you have become! I thank God for you! I love you!

Hab dich ganz doll lieb, liebe Mutti! Wünsche Dir einen gesegneten Geburtstag und alles, alles Gute! Möge der Herr Dir Kraft geben für jeden Tag und Dich reich segnen im kommenden Lebensjahr!

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My parents.


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She’s always a good sport at trying something new!


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Her first great-grandson.

A Rough Start to Motherhood


I wrote this post on May 9, a few days before Mother’s Day, but never hit the “publish” button.

I never liked Mother’s Day, and I never understood why. Until today. For the first time it became crystal clear to me why I don’t like Mother’s Day. Today I’m wondering why it took me so long (26 years and four months to be exact) to realize this profound sadness I associate with Mother’s Day.

Let me back it up a bit. My oldest daughter is expecting. We pray that in a few weeks we will hold a precious little boy in our arms. In a household of only women that is something to celebrate. My boss in Germany jokingly called us “Das Weibernest” because of only females living under our roof.

The more we talk and look forward to this little guy’s arrival the more I have been thinking about my firstborn, my son. Today, it hit me: My son made me a mother. I was a mother way before I held my oldest daughter in my arms.

It was a dark night in January, 26 years ago. Read more

Are you trying to do it all on your own?


Last month I wrote about my grocery shopping experience. This is only the tip of the iceberg when doing life on your own.

I like to be self-sufficient, plan it all out, and then concentrate on getting it done! The problem with that is I can’t control everyone and everything in my life. There will always be something that doesn’t go according to plan.

Sometimes a child gets sick, Read more

What Happens When “the Hurt and the Healer” Collide?

DematerializationCreative Commons License Hartwig HKD via Compfight

The news of the sudden death of one of our church members dominated the discussions yesterday. It overshadowed the worship service and the congregational meeting that followed.

Social media has been a great venue, especially for friends, to exchange memories and pay tribute to this 38 year old young man. The sadness is overwhelming. And I am only someone looking in from the outside…

In the midst of life we are forced to pause and think about death, about the end of our own lives.

King David paused and faced these questions as well.

He prayed in Psalm 39:

“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.

You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you

Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am your guest – a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me.”

Psalm 39:4-7, 12


King David is putting things in perspective. He is making it clear where his priorities lie. We, too, have to come to the point where we acknowledge:

“My only hope is in you.”

Whatever I’m facing here, it’s temporary. I am God’s “guest -a traveler passing through.” Though the pain might be overwhelming, and questions are right there, front and center, we can know, we will see this young man again. His testimony of faith is expressed in many comments.

As I was reading a tribute a friend had written, I came across this song by Mercy Me. I think it is a beautiful picture of what happens when “The Hurt and the Healer” collide. Please click on the link and listen to the song.

The Hurt and the Healer

This is my Monday’s Prayer today for all who are grieving the loss of this special young man:

“Jesus, come and break our fears,

wake our hearts and take our tears,

find Your glory even here when the hurt and the Healer collide.”*

Father God, may your presence,

your love and your peace comfort all who mourn.

Give us all hope, a hope that overpowers the pain.

“I pray that God, the source of hope,

will fill you completely with joy and peace, because you trust in Him.”**

I pray for this confident hope to flow from those who believe in You, God.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen


* From the lyrics “The Hurt and the Healer” by Mercy Me

** Romans 15:13