Drawing My Own Mushroom

by DanWolgemuth on September 17, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on September 15, 2017.

Kellen is a seven-year-old. He’s the bright and inquisitive grandson of my twin sister.

Last week Kellen, his parents and his two siblings stayed at our home for several days. During the course of his visit, Mary tapped her “grandma resources” and introduced Kellen to our Hidden Picture book collection. These are essentially workbooks that hide pictures within a picture. At the bottom of each page there is a catalog of what hidden pictures exist in the drawing.

We’ve discovered that these inexpensive books provide hours of entertainment for children. Kellen was no exception. He dove into the assignment at hand and thoughtfully surveyed the primary picture in order to discover the hidden images cloaked in obscurity.

While in conversation with Kellen the next day, Mary inquired about his success in sleuthing out the hidden pictures. Kellen happily reported that he had discovered all of the hidden images, but then matter of factly he announced that he only completed the task by drawing in the mushroom and the goose. He simply couldn’t find them otherwise, so he took control. He constructed his own solution.

Kellen’s admission fueled laughter for a number of us. Yet, as the laughter waned, I couldn’t help but draw a less humorous comparison in my own life.

Often life provides difficult and perplexing questions. Hurricanes, illness, suffering, injustice…

Navigating to a soul satisfying answer to questions like these can be difficult, time consuming and faith engaging.

Frankly, sometimes it seems easier to just draw my own answer. I can draw a mushroom here and a goose there, just to alleviate the tension of an undiscovered solution. I’ve got it. I can manage it. It fits for me… but is it true? Is it right and righteous?

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 AMP)

 Without rebuke. With patience. Generously.

Are you looking diligently for truth in the middle of the clutter and chaos? Faithfulness is enough. Grace upon grace. Always and only anchored in the irrevocable promises of God’s love, His care, His power, His mercy, His justice… the picture comes into focus.

No shortcuts. No personal penmanship. No mushrooms or geese.

Confidence in God.

He’s with you. He knows you. He loves you. Hidden pictures exposed. Waiting. Trusting. Jesus. 

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A Kiss for a Prodigal

by DanWolgemuth on September 3, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on August 24, 2018.

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20, ESV)

In 2009, the Academy Award for the Best Motion Picture of the Year went to Slumdog Millionaire. The story is a creatively-woven movie that chronicles the life of three young children left as orphans in the slums of Mumbai, India. The picture is rough and raw… but compelling.

The essence of the storyline is the relentless pursuit of Jamal Malik to find his childhood friend, a juvenile crush… Latika. The painful childhood separation of the two left an unabated passion for Jamal to pursue, rescue and reunite with the love of his life.

Latika has been abused, and controlled, and enslaved through her journey to adulthood. At one point, Latika escapes, only to be recaptured. She’s thrown in the back seat of a car and as the vehicle pulls away from the curb an agonizing Jamal watches as a knife slices across her left cheek as a consequence of her action.

But hope is not completely lost. As the result of a sacrificial act by Jamal’s brother, Latika is liberated, and at long last, on a railway platform, Jamal and Latika are reunited.

They embrace… oblivious to the world and clamor around them. And in a powerful act of grace and love, Jamal leans forward… but not for a lingering romantic kiss. Instead, Jamal’s lips meet the lengthy and prominent scar that marked Latika’s left cheek.

A lifetime of waiting and wanting… culminates in a kiss to a scar.

Scars. A visible reminder of pain and brokenness. Smothered, but not with makeup or coverup… but with love. Not ignored, but not shame producing either.

Our scars. My scars. Evidence of a fallen world and a sinful heart. My scars… some self-induced, some a product of others.

But God. Through Jesus.

A prodigal… looking for home. Now swamped by the outrageous love of The Father. Embraced, then kissed.

No plastic surgery. No blinders on… no, God kisses our scars.

Amazingly, it is by His wounds, His crushed body, His sacrifice that my wounds can be redeemed. By His scars I am healed.

Grace kisses what sin produces. In His embrace, I am not shamed or rebuked… I am loved. While I was still a long way off, while I was still a self-consumed sinner… I was pursued. Relentlessly.

Is there a scar you are hiding? Has shame convinced you that you could never be loved?

His wounds heal my wounds. And then the kiss, not in ignorance, but in outrageous love. Not a condoning kiss but a redemptive kiss. Not sin concealed, but grace revealed. Out of the ashes, beauty.

On a railroad platform in Mumbai, a scar was no match for love.

Someday it will be our turn to kiss His scars… the scars that brought us hope. The sacrifice of His pursuing love.

His kiss… a kiss of mercy. My kiss… a kiss of worship.

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Only a pebble…

August 27, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on September 11, 2020. My workday had concluded, and I made the short commute from the office in our home to the front porch. Mary was sitting […]

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“We Don’t Say That”… But should we?”

August 20, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on April 19, 2013. Hate was a word that simply wasn’t acceptable in the home in which I grew up. I don’t know if this was an […]

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“Well, do you know how to wrestle?”

August 13, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on January 27, 2017. Rowan, our three-year-old grandson, posed the question to Mary as she invited input on plans for the afternoon at our house. I have […]

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Soft Clay

July 23, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on May 5, 2017. Words are the soft clay that get formed into either useful or destructive purposes. I know this. I hear this. I am this. […]

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Key Lime Pie

July 16, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on February 18, 2011. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no […]

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Dear July

July 9, 2021

*Dan is away for a summer sabbatical – a time of rest, rejuvenation and reverence.  Please enjoy one of our favorite Friday Fragments.  This Fragment was initially published on June 29, 2018. Welcome back, dear friend. I’m looking forward to being with you soon. There’s always been something very special about you, but this year, […]

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Selah…

July 2, 2021

              O LORD, how many are my foes!                              Many are rising against me;               many are saying of my soul,                              “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah (Psalm 3:1–2) Selah… Over seventy times in the book of Psalms the word is used. Selah. While the […]

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History and a Lifelong Lesson

June 18, 2021

It was early in the morning of April 17, 1978 when Mary and I walked into our apartment on 1815 ½ Street, in Fort Wayne, IN. Actually, it was more like the middle of the night. Much to our surprise, soon after we walked up the very steep steps to our second-floor abode, the phone […]

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