Saturday, November 14, 2009


"So surely as the stars are fashioned by His hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"'That fearful sound of "fire" and "fire,"/Let no man know is my Desire.'" Her richly spoken words are numbing reality.   How well I remember first hearing those poetic phrases penned by Anne Bradstreet, initially learning  them in a college classroom.  I sat amazed as a non-traditional student who was in ignorance at the depth, honesty, intensity, and persuasion of a Puritan poet, whose out of abundance language brought life to page and truth to the journey of Christian living.

America's first woman poet poured many lyrical prayers and meditations of surrender and sacrifice.  In 1666, she lost all her material possessions to a devastating fire.  In 2000, one year after graduating from college, I had the privilege of reading and teaching her poetic verses of those losses to tenth graders.  I felt passionate about Anne's experience.  I wanted my students to share my passion and relate to her pain, to travel three centuries back with me to Anne's new world and connect with the soul-searching saga of one woman and her God.  To hear this woman's heartbeat and understand her godly affection and her influence in 17th century Amercia and our 21st century American life. 
In hearing her voice and heart, Anne Bradstreet became my heroine because of her faith in God and scriptural priorities.  Anne's courageous conclusion of "Upon the Burning of Our House" leaves me speechless each time I read it.  Breathless praise stills my soul when I walk with her on her voyage of private pain and sentiment to her letting-go of futility and grasping of holy, raw truth. Anne's godly take on life and loss bears hard in my soul, and it witnesses the fact of God's grace.  It is a grace for all us; yes, sweet friends, it is just as real now, in 2009, as it was in 1666. 
God is immutable.  He doesn't change.  His promises, his passions, his pleas for us are the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Thus, Anne's words remain.  Their urgency and appeal still move us.  They are timeless.  They speak truth.  They know love.  They give hope. 

"The world no longer let me Love, My hope and Treasure lyes Above." 
I have read those last lines so many times, yet I never imagined they would have their own particular part in my life.   

Last Sunday afternoon, November 8, I kept Olivia and Ella, two of my grandchildren. Both my son, Steven, and his wife had to work, and I savored the opportunity to have a little grandma time with the two little sweethearts, whom we call Baby Doll and Ella-Bella. Their mom arrived about 5:00 pm to take them home. Raychelle, my daughter-in-law, and I and the babies were in my den. Mommy and I were getting babies ready to go when suddenly we heard a terribly loud sound, like a gun or explosion.
We immediately and quickly moved toward the back door, opened it, and inhaled a noxious fume that had already saturated our screened porch and carport, where Raychelle had parked her car. Her engine had exploded, and flames were already licking their way toward our roof. We dared not approach our porch, which was engulfed with dense smoke. Rather, we grabbed the babies and the phone and quickly ran toward the opposite end of the house and out our front door.

Countless calls, copious words of comfort, two crying babies, and five fire trucks later, the drama ended. And its ending began a new adventure of awestruck, broken gratefulness to God for sparing the lives of Raychelle, Olivia, and Ella. The imaginations and discussions with family and friends have centered around God's mercy and grace. Two minutes later, Raychelle, Olivia, and Ella would have been in the car on their way home. My spirit is shaken with thoughts of those possibilities, but my spirit soars with gratitude for God's lovingkindness that spared our grief, and please believe me, words are really, really inadequate, but their inadequacy has not stopped my effortless giving of thanks.
Just as the explosive BOOM travelled beyond our home to surrounding neighbors, bringing sudden jolt and concern to all of us, I have been symbolically exploded from normal, day-to-day living into a sudden, compulsory journey of soul-moving praise and soul-searching surrender!

We have had some losses. I count them now as nothing.  They are replacable. Just things made out of elements of this unholy earth that God will one day fold like a garment.

What is a carport, a porch, stuff in an attic, insulation, smoke-damaged sofas and chairs and curtains and linens, and water-damaged wood? What are sooty-smelling clothes, quilts, books, lampshades, and carpet? Really, what are they?

What is it to be a little discomforted and inconvenienced?  What is to stand with your family and feel the shock of now and the wonder of tomorrow?  What is it to seek temporary stay?  What is a real home?
And what does it mean to be real and give everything we own to Jesus?  To put into perspective worldy elements that are at one momen material gifts from God and the next moment worthless gifts to Him?  What is annoying about picking up a lace garment so delicately formed, and tediously woven, one of many that was freshly laundered with particular care, but now reeks with toxic fumes and an oily pine scent meant to mask nasty smoke?  
By God's grace alone, his unmerited favor, his worthy, divine intervention for our unworthy, weak, fleshy abilities, everything, all of it, means rejoicing for what is new.  The passing, departing, of one frame of reference to a new point of vision.  A welcomed opportunity for a more certain path of this Christian life that can be obscurely bright - i.e., dim of understanding, yet oh so light with promise.  A possibility of looking behind at less and looking forward to grasp more.  A newer appreciation of God's mercy and grace, which I must have in volumes every moment of every day of my pilgrim life. 
From the perspective of limited loss (things could be much, much, worse), it feels pretty good to be inadequate, and though I'm living in the neighborhood of faith versus reason, my spirit is striving to soar with the uncomplicated truth that not understanding my entire life is absolutely OK.  What freedom there is in that one Biblical truth!

Do I need prayer?  Sure, I do.  Always!  But, please rejoice with me, too, for out of darkness comes light!    What Satan means for our discouragement and demise, God means for our good in Christ.  Hallelujah!  Friends, that is shouting ground! 
Sunday night after Steven, Raychelle, and babies were safe at home and Jeff and I were safe in a hotel, I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed.  For a few moments, the significance of everything rushed in like a flood.  The tears flowed as I thought of God's salvation and our unworthiness of his gift.  To be honest, my immediate reaction to the trauma had been quiet. I was speechless and just did not want to talk.  But the awareness of God's hand could not quench my praise and the knowledge of our near true losses were overwhelming to realize.
Thank God for his deliverance and salvation!  Thank God for his divine intervention!  Thank God for his provision and power!  And thank God for you, and I pray that as you ponder these words, he will move in and through your life with his mighty anointing and the reality of his love and lordship!  So many of you have been through and are going through hardships.  As I write, I am moved by your courage and victory as you face illness, family difficulites, lost loved ones, financial discouragements, depression, fear, death, and on and on. 
Please hear my heart.  God loves you.  And, he is at work to prove what is good and holy and acceptable in your relationship with him.  Jesus reigns!!!  Not just in heaven.  No, Christ reigns in your heart and life!  Within you is his kingdom!

And he hears your heart today.  He Who formed your heart knows the depths of it.  He Who formed your life knows the purpose of it.  The Lord, our omniscient Creator, knows your way.  And if that way is too narrow, or steep, or rocky, or unstable, or dark, or whatever, our God will deliver you and set your free! Beloved, may God bless you and reveal to you now and forever his everlasting love for you.   

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV).

Below are images of God's divine intervention from last Sunday.


  1. I stand with you on the shouting ground. Wow.
    We are so wobbly as we exist here on the soon to be "folded" planet Earth.

  2. Oh my goodness Andrea, I am so glad that you are alright and everyone is safe, this was truly the Lord sending angels down to get you all out safely. How tramatic this must have been, I know we don't need earthly posessions, but the trama of it all seems like a lot. God bless you for standing in the faith of Jesus Christ.

    Blessings to you and your family this holiday,

  3. Wow, I am so glad you and your family are ok.
    So thankful no one was in the car.
    Thank you again for your always pointing to Christ Jesus. I can feel your love for him through this blog once again.
    Peace to you and your family.

  4. Oh Andrea!

    What a terrible thing....what an awesome thing to have happened! Rejoicing with you that everyone is ok. Will be keeping you all in prayer as you get repairs done to your home.

  5. Talk about an object lesson in Divine Protection. How good is our God to have spared life & limb given the total destruction of that car!

    I love the Spurgeon quote, too. A few years ago, I made my way through nearly all of his documented teachings & sermons. It left me humbled and amazed, wanting even more of what God has for my life.

    Blessings & hugs,

  6. Psa 91:13 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

    Psa 91:12 They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

  7. So thankful all are safe...when I read about this tragedy on FB, I knew it would just be a matter of time before He would give you words to share that would bless others and give Him glory..."For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice after their sorrow."

  8. Dearest Andrea, I'm abit speechless. Tears welled up in my eyes while reading this post. Praise God your family is well and alive.

    The sorrow that would have come from losing these precious souls to an auto explosion would be horrific.

    May God continue to comfort you all as the repairs take place.

    This is a cause to pause.

    I was thinking about your husband's procedure and prayed. Still will pray as the days pass.

    You have much to be thankful for and this Thanksgiving holiday will mean so very much more than before.

    Dear Friend, You will be in my prayers.

  9. Andrea:
    I join with all of these who thank God for His care for you and your family on that day! Just looking at the car makes me shudder.... BUT GOD!!!
    So thankful for the words you shared, so many hearts will be touched by them, mine included!
    Thank you.

  10. No words... just an incredible prayer of thanks for God's safe-keeping of our lives.

    peace to your soul this week, sweet friend.


  11. So thankful you and your family are safe. Gives new meaning to "the shot heard round the world." I love Bradstreet. Makes me wonder what other female poets in her time period were shouting through unread poetry about the amazing wonders of God. I pray for your peace and sanity through the renovations. Just keep the pictures you showed above posted on your bathroom mirror--that'll give you perspective fast!

  12. Dearest Andrea~
    May the Lord uphold you~ dearest friend!
    What a shock to see those pictures.
    This post was amazing and could of only
    been written by someone whose eyes
    were fixed on Jesus!!

    Love~ Jen

  13. I got chills reading your blog at what might have been. I am thankful you and your loved one's are safe. The Lord was truly with you and your daughter..and it is good to share this. Hugs Dee

  14. Praise God for his protection of you and your loved ones. He is a loving good God and I join with you in thanking Him for His wonderful grace. You have captured HIs kindness and love in your words to us today. Bless you, Andrea, and may you be able to return to your home soon.

  15. Oh, Andrea........I join my heart with yours in praise and thanksgiving for His Divine intervention, protection, mercy and grace!

    Your words have deeply moved me to pursue Him and the treasures of His Heart with greater passion. No earthly treasure could ever compare to Him and His Love!

    Thank you for sharing!

    Sweet Blessings!

  16. Andrea, this is my first visit to your blog. And what a visit, I have tears, of joy for your family, of thankfulness for a God who loves us so much, and of praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for starting my day rejoicing.
    xo Lidy

  17. Oh Andrea!!! When I look at the pictures of the car, and the thought that your precious babies and daughter-in-law could have....God and His angels are watching over all of you, what a beautiful Hand of Protection is your covering!

    And that quote by Charles Spurgeon...I already copied and pasted it...

    Thanking God that your family is safe, and He provides the means to quickly restore the damage, in Jesus name!

  18. Andrea,

    I am ever so thankful that you and your family are safe! The pictures of the car are very frightening and I cannot imagine the shock of all that you have been through. Praise God for all of your safety! I just want you to know how thankful I am that you are all safe and that once again you have led all of us in God's love through your words and example.



  19. When things like this happen, it makes us take the time to stop and think about His abundant blessings. You are right, things can be replaced, but our loved ones can't be. PTL that He kept all of you safe from harm.

  20. Oh, Andrea! I'm so glad that God protected your daughter-in-law and your granddaughters.

    He is good. So good.

    His glory is a shield around us.

    I've experienced that kind of divine protection too.

    He has a plan and a purpose.

    And nothing. No one can thwart what He has ordained.

    I'll be praying for you during this time as you get your house back together.

    Sweet dreams.

  21. Andrea,

    I am so thankful for God's protection in this instance. So thankful that the only damage was to things, and not any harm to your loved ones. Those photos are a divine reminder that He is watching over us.



  22. How very traumatic and unpleasant but what a testimony Andrea. So glad you are all safe.

  23. I have never read any of Anne Bradstreet's works, but you made me want to look up some of what she's written. I would have loved to sit in your class as you tried to teach your students about Anne and her words of wisdom and grace.

    You are probably a modern version of Anne, with your own set of life experiences. I guess, we all are Annes, in our own small way.

    Truly what you wrote here is true. But I do feel for you, for I do sense that you must have taken great care in putting all the lovely details of your home together. You are a modern VIctorian woman, I must say...

    But praise God for the lessons that are costly to us, and helping us evaluate our earthly lives in light of eternity!

    There is so much more that I would like to say in response to what I have just read...but this comment box is probably not the best place for anyone's thoughts to be shared lengthily.

    Just want you to know I am keeping you close, in my heart and prayers.


  24. Oh my goodness, how grateful I am for everyone's safety!!! I'm praising God for His protection.

    My prayers are with you and your family as you process further this near tragedy.

    I have an award for you over on my blog...

    Many blessings, sweet lady!

  25. Dearest Andrea,

    The Lord is Victorious! All of you are safe within His love and protection!

    Yes, I agree with you, it could have been much worse. But He was in control of everything!

    I believe with all my heart that everything that happens to us - both trials and joys - are especifically for His Glory!

    How can this event bring Glory to Him? very shared it with the World and are now sharing your Love for Him that kept you and your family safe. You have taken the focus away from the tragedy and placed it on HIM! Jesus Christ and His Love for your family!

    What was lost? Material things that could be replaced - but His love and Your Faith In His love and protection is now stronger and more vivid than ever!

    I am in awe of His Power and Grace! I am humbled by your love and faith for Our Saviour!

    Oh my dear sister ~ He just keep shinning brighter and brighter through your words and your life!

    May the Lord continue to use you as an example and may you continue to be His vessel!

    To Jesus Christ Be the Glory!!!! Amen!

    May the Lord continue to bless you and your dear family,


  26. Praise God! Praise God!

    I've been missing my time with you~

    Love, Rebecca

  27. I thank the Lord Andrea that you are all safe!God is so good. I have learned that he is in control of our lives. Those times when I am frustrated because I am late for an appointment or just couldn't get out of the house "on time" for work or a trip to the store, I often am reminded of the accident in which I could have been involved if I had left according to "MY" timing. He is so Good! No matter what we go through, it never changes the FACT that He is Good ALL the time. Blessing to you and your daughter and those precious little ones.

  28. I am at awe at God's mercy and grace.... what an amazing post.... what a tremendous testimony.... what an awesome God!

    Giving thanks to our heavenly Father for His tender mercies. Your words are rich, deep and from a heart that love's the Saviour.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. May God use it for His purposes and His glory.


  29. Joining you in being thankful! So glad no one was hurt. I just read your post today 12/18... yesterday we had a fire just across the road from us. An open field and dilapidated house burned, right up to the roadway. We live right beside a land fill that is FULL of trees, collected all over OKC from an ice storm a few years ago. If all that brush had caught...our house would have been history. Praise God for mercy.

  30. Andrea,

    Just finally was catching up on your blog tonight after the holidays and found this post. Please know that I am going to continue to pray and praise God for his mercy to your family. Thanks for showing your faith in our Father and His goodness. I'm so thankful you are all safe.

    Our family had an automobile fire while we were driving on a vacation once. We were able to get off the highway and get all four small children out before the whole thing went up in flames. God does watch over us all the time, even when we don't know it (our family were not believers then). God bless you and may He continue to keep you in His loving arms.



Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,