Tweet response

A couple days I tweeted about trust in God and I used the word “converse.”

Val, a good friend who teaches geometry, responded, “Hi friend, I just wanted to comment on your post about the converse statement. Did you mean to say inverse instead? Inverse statements are when you negate both the hypothesis and conclusion. Converses are when you just switch your hypotheses and conclusion but don’t negate. Sorry if I am being nerdy, but love teaching this in geometry.”

Did you understand that?

I messaged back that I need to take her class.

I’ve often marveled at how she LOVES geometry, at how her mind understands concepts that just boggle mine. Judy, one of my international daughters, is in Val’s advanced geometry class. When Judy did her first homework assignment, I took one look and said, “Well, you’re not going to get any help from me in that subject.”

One of the benefits of my job (writing stories for Wheaton Academy’s website and magazine) is that I get to sit in on all kinds of classes and listen to teachers share their passions with students. Just in the last few weeks I’ve watched science students make E. coli bacteria glow (they injected jellyfish genes into it!); history students experience the Depression by standing in a soup line; and theatre students fly—literally!—in this year’s musical, Peter Pan.

As I interview teachers, asking how they came up with their ideas, I’m fascinated by all the different ways they think. The drama teacher dreams in images and themes; the science teacher is fascinated by the interconnectedness of small with big; the history teachers see the cycles of humanity through the ages.

I listen and am amazed at the breadth of knowledge there is just on this planet. There is so much to know—and the more we know, the more we realize we DON’T know—and one human mind can only grasp a very small portion of a very small sliver of it.

And it all comes from our infinite God.

Isn’t that incredible!

Think about the huge amount of knowledge that mankind now knows. Then think about how much is discovered each day—how much will be discovered the next day and the next and the next, each discovery revealing that there is still more to know. Isaiah 55:9, Hebrews 4:13,

Imagine all the “unseen” things that we cannot view with microscopes or telescopes, no matter how high-powered. An entire spiritual realm hovers outside our senses. Ephesians 3:10

Reflect on the ages of recorded human history and the ages before that—when “time” was not measured by the ticking of a clock or the flip of a calendar page but was encompassed in God Himself (as it still is!). Jude 1:25

Have you ever fully known a person—inside and out. For that matter, do you fully know yourself? Think of all the billions of people in this world, each unique in personality. Now remember that there were billions upon billions of people before—each one individual even down to fingerprints. I Chron. 28:9, I Cor. 4:5, I Sam. 16:7

All of this, all of everything, is in God! It came from Him. It has its being in Him. It is sustained by Him.

And He fully understands ALL of it.


Are you feeling a little small now?

I am.

Small in the presence of our BIG God.

That’s a good thing.


Will work for food

Red light. I stop, wait to turn, notice the man standing on the sidewalk beside the right lane.

His sign is crude: Will work. Need money for food, gas, home.

But his gaze is direct. And across two lanes he finds my eyes. He stands tall—not a challenge, just acknowledgment: “Yes, I stand on a street corner, I hold a sign that tells you I need help.”

I consider a U-turn, glance at my dashboard clock, estimate the time it will take me to get home to meet the scheduled repairman.

I turn left.

Drive three blocks.

Slower and slower.

I hear You, Lord.

Turn around.

Pull into the grocery store lot, stop behind his tidy old-model Taurus station wagon.

He meets me halfway.

Taller even than I’d thought.

My left hand holds out the money. He tucks it away, fast. Not grabbing, just… like he doesn’t want it. Like putting it away makes it less real.

My mind is blank. I’ve forgotten to ask for words. God bless you, I think. I offer my right hand.

He shakes it. His eyes slip above my head.

“I’m a mechanic. I can fix cars.” Urgent voice. “Do you have any that need work?”

I shake my head. “I don’t.”

“I can work. I can… You don’t have cars that need…?”

“No, but… God bless you.”

Our eyes meet again—closer now than across two lanes of traffic.

He juts his chin at me, eyes slip up again to the blue sky. “I like your necklace.”

Pressed clay, sitting right at the base of my throat, stamped firm and clear with the words “Set Free.”

Good to receive, not just give. “Thanks.”

Back on the road, the regrets. Why didn’t I say more? Why didn’t I get a name, number? He’s a mechanic. I could have sent word out through e-mail, Facebook: “Mechanic, corner of Main and Geneva: if you’re willing to take a chance, he’d appreciate it. Name, number.”  At under 142 characters, I could even tweet it. What is social media good for if not for this?!

Marketing background kicks in: he needs a better sign, one that advertises his specific skills while still expressing willingness to do odd jobs.


Stop, Jen.

Let it go.

But this day it’s hard.

Because I’ve been set free not only from

But for.

And in the callused handshake and averted eyes, the money tucked quick out of sight, the urgent plea for the dignity of work, I felt a moment of his pain.

Through love

I am

Set free

To care.


I blog my “thoughts” a couple times a week, and I recently started tweeting—since all the agents and publishers say that’s a “must” for any writers who are trying to get a book published. Those same agents/publishers say writers should check their blog and Twitter accounts a couple times a day.

Okay. Can do.

But I’m finding that this creates a tension in my soul, one that reflects the difficult “be in the world but not of the world” paradox in Scripture. I am using Twitter and the internet to, I hope, help others draw closer to Christ, but the stats and the publicity of it often draw my own focus onto ME.

In I Corinthians 7, Paul refers to a “crisis” in his time and gives advice related to that crisis. Some of the advice was specific to crises (such as not marrying), but Paul’s overall point is applicable to all times: to let nothing distract us from living fully devoted to Christ. Right in the middle of the passage, there is an interesting phrase that I am pondering in relation to blogging/Tweeting/social media: “(those of you) who use the things of this world, (live) as if not engrossed in them, for this world in its present form is passing away” (NIV).

I DO use “things of this world,” things that will “soon pass away.” So how do I use them without becoming engrossed in or attached to them?

I am not alone in this struggle (and that alone is encouraging). A few years back I heard a chapel speaker admit that shortly after his first book was published, he became addicted to the book’s selling statistics. He found himself checking these stats dozens of times a day. He shared this with a friend, and the friend partnered with him on a short-term “fast” from his own book media.

It’s very easy—actually, it’s natural—for us to become engrossed in the things we use in this world.

Because even though we have a new nature and the Holy Spirit, we still have that old nature that feels very much at home here.

When I check my blog and find that I have a new follower, there is one part of me that gets excited for all the right reasons.

But underneath that good reaction is a selfish one, the one that believes I become more valuable when more people like my writing.

I’m a mixed bag of pure and impure, and my use of social media often reveals that to me.

And perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW: I am trying to cut down the length of my blog posts, so I split this post into two parts. I’ll post part two tomorrow, Monday. If you have any comments on how this tension plays a part in your own life, I would love to read them.