Tonight my son, the bedtime-feet-dragger, was seated on the bathroom carpet behind me, loading his toothbrush more cheerfully than usual. Standing at the sink I could make out some kind of low chanting he was repeating.

Bracing for an all-too-typical bedtime refrain of complaint, I asked him what he was saying – and out came amazing-answer-to-a-query number One: “I’m singing,” he said. “We won’t be shaken… We won’t be shaken…”

What was that? You were just absent-mindedly singing a song of faith and strength to yourself? Maybe all our chats about the Truth and Source of inner courage were working?

“Oh, that’s neat, sweetie,” I said lightly, giving a mental high-five to the Lord above. “I like hearing you sing that.”

Suddenly the thought came to me that he might be encouraged to know that those words came from the bible, that the songs on his “Sleep” playlist were inspired by – were actually of – the Word itself.

Following him down the hall to his room, I quickly searched “won’t be shaken” into my bible app and up popped no fewer than five verses that would do wonderfully for my “object lesson.” (Amazing-answer-to-a-query number Two.)

What a kick he got out of seeing the words right there in their scriptures of origin(!), which until then he’d only known as lyrics by a pop band, scrolling up a phone screen as the song played out.

What a joy I received, to have listened, and to have asked.


(Verse note: Psalm 62:6)


Hydra vs the Strong Tower


Boat launch

Wednesday, 11:11 PM, between chores

My entering-third-grade boy is going through a stage (hopefully?) of intense fear come bedtime. He has instituted a growing stack of superstitious rituals in the earnest hope that they will overcome his anxiety about going to bed –  actually about pretty much anything involved with getting ready for bed or for starting the day  –  alone.

He brushes teeth and dons or doffs PJs in the family room, and plaintively calls for someone (typically me) to stand next to the door when using the bathroom. When it’s time to head upstairs he flicks on every light in advance of his path, and in his room has rigged up an old cell phone to play his favorite playlist of “spirit music” on repeat through the night.

The focal point of his tuck-in routine is the prayer we say –  or rather, which I usually say while he assumes the apparently optimal blessing-receiving position, neatly clasping hands near his chin and closing his eyes until the Amen.

On this particular night we needed two rounds of tuck-in, the first ending essentially in hysteria after I refused to turn the ceiling lights back on (that’s all six canisters of them) as I left the room (with the night light on and door open, let the record show).

I’m afraid to say I did not keep my cool when he followed me, howling, down the stairs. I in fact lost it – lost my temper, lost my mind, however you care to put it – and it was ugly.  Many utterly exasperated, had-it-up-to-here-and-beyond words were hurled by me.

“YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR BRAIN YOU ARE OKAY!” I shouted. Multiple times. Which led to an even more exasperated conversation about how exactly one does that – but which did produce a sound argument for standing on the Truth of all the ways in which he and his life are blessed beyond measure by a Father in heaven who loves him beyond measure.

He seemed to get it, at least a little. The house volume had returned to night-time quiet. I helped him get into bed again, but this time without all the embellishments. He asked in a small voice dialed precisely to my heartstrings for “just a prayer?” which I agreed to but insisted he start this time.

With a small voice he pressed through some faltering to ask God to help him not be scared, and (with some line prompts) to say thank you God for being his almighty protector, stronger than any darkness or dark thought* that could give him worry. “For You are our fortress… our strong tower…”

All of which – all all all of which – I need to remember in my own day (after day, lately) filled with fears and anxieties.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the
Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”



* Hydras and chupacabras, for example, described in graphic detail at day camp all summer, curse those fourth graders!


(Verse note: Psalm 91)



Wednesday, 10:22 PM: Hacking through thatches.

The Bog has been getting the best of me. I’ve been circling above my blog site for weeks, mentally searching the empty, blank space of the Next Post for a glimpse of a fish in the white water: the clear, Inspired Insight that would propel me to plunge in and pour out a compelling paragraph or three.

Waiting for some invisible referee to blow a whistle and announce that I am actually qualified to do this.

Hoping that enough prayers and petitions with thanksgiving would move the holy Muse to overcome my sadness about the state of my gnarly hope, my unsteady Walk, such as it is.

Wondering if Needing To Forgive [important organization in my life] must be the source of the Bog block … Or is it simply lack of enough sleep lately to sustain a guinea pig?

This morning’s Word was compelling though, I have to admit. There it was, staring me right in the face even as I had been composing in my mind my daily confession of impotence as a writer (in the face of the Bog):

And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

I can’t even recall how I got there, except that the Book was already open to Romans and I just… started reading.

And that was a whole 18 hours ago, basically a lifetime in my hectic world of work and children and the 57th day of hot, dusty sunny summer burning the edges of my sight and exhausting me from squinting.

I’m glad I sat down and started typing anyway.


(Verse note: Romans 10:14)