Sunday, April 16, 2017


Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!' Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.
Was that important? Absolutely!
Is it really significant? Yes!
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.
The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished. Now, if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.
The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table,
because........... The folded napkin meant,
'I'm coming back!'

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Living Water

It seems to me that whenever I think I've got a handle on things, I'm reminded of my own brokenness. My need for forgiveness. My need to learn how to seek reconciliation from others.

I've had some incredible Institute and Seminary teachers in my lifetime. There was one named Brother Richardson who, in every single class, without fail, would say "if I could get a tattoo, it would be 2 Nephi 11:4:"

Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people
the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses
been given; and all things which have been given of God from the
beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.

I'm pretty sure that Brother Richardson hasn't ever and isn't ever going to get the tattoo. But the core message is that it is absolutely essential that we remember - all the time - and that a tattoo would potentially help him remember - that everything around us, all of creation, the ebb and flow of our lives, testifies of Christ, typifies Him and His expansive power, and reminds us of who we are to become. The world around me, the sunrise and the sunset, the dependence I have on the air I breathe and the water that comes out of my tap - serves to remind me of who I am to become.

I'm a constantly thirsty, dying, 99% parched Algerian trying to make my way across the Sahara until I remember that God is offering water and the cup is within my reach. The words of Christ and living prophets are the cool glass of water that save my suffering soul. 

God answers my thirst again and again. There are multiple springs of living water. One such spring is the pulpit in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. A fountain of water that becomes a stream flowing through the rooftop garden even emerges directly above that pulpit because the words spoken there are so literally a fountain of living water.

I am broken. So broken. But my only hope is to keep drinking of the living water and to stop hiding inside the brokenness.

The Lord warned Israel, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water"(Jeremiah 2:13).

If I forget Jesus Christ, then all I'm doing is carrying around broken pottery that the water has already leaked out of, pretending that I'm not thirsty.

Instead, I want to find true relief in His invitation:

"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." (John 7:37)

This week, I'm going to think of Brother Richardson, and I'm going to turn in my broken pottery for the Fountain that heals all wounds.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


It's been a dark few weeks. I've been sick - with a flu, then a cold, then another flu, and another cold. My throat has been sore for a few weeks. My chronic headaches remain and they're unrelated, but add that to illness, an incredibly sore throat, kids that are sick, miserable weather, and a broken tailbone, and it's just too much.

In trying to sift through the stress to find a cause to the headaches, I've had to revisit the dark places of the last two years, the dark that's been squeezing my heart. 

I was so sick when I was pregnant. I was able to escape having a picc line thanks to taking Zofran every day, a chemo drug, but before I had that I was throwing up 30 times a day and I lost ten pounds in one week the week the vomiting started. Even now I'm embarrassed to say what my house looked and smelled like when I was pregnant with Charlotte because I was so insanely sick. I've spent two years crying my eyes out - first for a pregnancy that tried to kill me, then for a stillborn baby, then another horrendous pregnancy - and the realization that I have ONE FRIEND. I had no husband then, just some angry dude that lived here in the evening and on weekends. He should have come home at lunch to care for Rachel and Andrew - if not me, then them. He didn't. I had no husband. No parents. No siblings. No church. No neighbors. 

I had Zofran. I had Netflix. And I had pretending. I pretended. I made myself look better than I was. My oldest was no help and it was best when he wasn't even at home. He spent the entire summer that I was pregnant on the computer.

I was only able to shower once every six weeks when I finally willed my broken body into the water. My kids were only bathed once a month. Andrew never had clothing on, he was naked except for a dirty diaper all day with snot streaming down his face and he had full run of the house. By God's grace he's come out of it seemingly unscathed and content to play on his own. 

The lowest point of all happened at the end of April 2015, a huge fight between Trevor and me culminated with me curled up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor sobbing, pleading with Trevor to help me, begging for him to see that I was too sick to do anything more than what I was already doing. He left with Grant, telling me that he wished he had never asked me to marry him. Through my tears I took Rachel and Andrew and stayed in a hotel that night, where if I didn't have the presence of mind to not leave them motherless I would have taken mine and my unborn baby's lives. That baby, my little Charley, passed away about a week later, although I wouldn't know until more than a month after that. 

It started exactly two years ago. The fallout continues. Things are a million times better with Trevor. My house is cluttered but it's a normal sort of messy now, the kind you expect with four young children. But there's the emotional picking up the pieces bits - PTSD talk is common on the HG forums. The total abandonment I felt was real. There's always a million things I think I maybe could have done differently but at the time I didn't feel like there was anyone I could ask for help. Even the words couldn't form in my mind.

The biggest fallout now seems to be catching up on missed dental work for the kids and me. I've caught up on getting them clothes that fit (I think) but they've all got cavities. 

I've reached the point where I can look back and acknowledge the dark, scream out the injustices that I never asked for. Maybe even face them long and hard enough that the headaches will stop.

But if you see me crying at the dentist, or I say my barely four year old has a hundred cavities, now you'll know why.