Proud Waves

I had the privilege of spending a week in St. Augustine, Florida, this month. We went to visit friends for the daughter’s high school graduation, and naturally we spent some hours on the beach.

This is the first time I’ve been to a beach in warm weather (well, since I was four years old, and I barely remember that). I loved waking early to watch the sun rise like a ball of glowing lava over the quiet ocean. Walking the shore at night with the water pulling the sand from beneath my feet and the stars pin-pricking the sky. Mixing water with dry sand to reach the perfect consistency for castle-building. Meandering up and down the beach to find shells for my sister to turn into jewelry.

But for me, the seaside, be it sandy or rocky, is really about the ocean.

The waves relentlessly rushing, curling, crashing, retreating.

The sight of endless water, here to the horizon.

The feel of cool water washing over my skin, tugging at my feet.

The constant movement, as if the ocean is alive.

The taste of salt when the water splashes my lips.

The sounds. The scents.

It’s so big. So powerful.

The ocean has majesty. It’s a force to be reckoned with.

Dad told me of a line he remembered from a book he read years ago, Endurance.

You can never win against the ocean. The best you can hope for is a draw.

The waves and water are relentless, untamable. Beautiful, yet a little frightening.

All week, I kept thinking of where the LORD points to the ocean He created as evidence of His power. God asks Job,

“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb; …

When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;

When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’

-Job 38: 8, 10-11 NKJV

Truly, with all our dikes and jetties and super-sophisticated technology, the best we can do is sort of hold our own against an undaunted foe that fights effortlessly.

We can never control the ocean.

But God can.

He set the limits. He said, “Your waves may come up to here, and not a step farther without My permission.”

Indeed, the ocean’s waves are proud. And not without reason.

It is good to remember that I serve the God who can bid the proud waves to halt. And even walk upon them if He pleases.

-Miss Darcy

The Moabite Curse

It’s funny that as many times as I’ve read the book of Ruth over the years, it was only recently that I realized it held the answer to another question I had about the Scripture.

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever,

because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

-Deuteronomy 23:3-6 NKJV (emphasis mine)

So, at first glance, that seems pretty harsh. Just because the Moabites at one time opposed the people of the Lord, now none of their descendants can come to God?

But then you have the exception of Ruth. She was a Moabitess who married an Israelite refugee named Mahlon. But Mahlon died, and Ruth chose to return with her mother-in-law to Israel. There she met and married an Israelite named Boaz, and became the great-grandmother of King David.

That makes David one-eighth a son of Moab, and David went into the assembly of the Lord (along with his father and grandfather, I daresay). We have an exception to that no-Moabites-allowed rule.

But God doesn’t just make random exceptions, does He? I mean, what made Ruth such a good person that God could overlook the lineage she passed on to her sons?

(I suppose some could say that the curse couldn’t pass through a Moabite woman, only through a man. But, taking the whole Old Testament into consideration, that reasoning didn’t hold up well enough to satisfy me.) 🙂

So I kept pondering over it, trying to reconcile it in my mind. Until the answer hit me between the eyes, as is often the case.

Ruth rejected her lineage.

When her Israelite mother-in-law tried to convince her to stay in Moab, Ruth would have none of it.

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.

-Ruth 1:16 NKJV

Ruth rejected the gods of her homeland and chose to follow the Hebrews’ God. She refused to identify with the people she’d been born to and instead chose to identify with the people who worshiped God.

Ruth never lost her Moabite DNA. But she chose in her heart to follow God, she gave voice to that resolution, and she changed her life to live as a Hebrew.

Her choice gave her a whole new heritage.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like Jesus’ offer in the New Testament?

We humans are born into Adam’s sin, bent toward corruption from the moment we have the mental power to choose.

Jesus offers us life free from sin and its wages. All we have to do is reject the world and choose Him, with our hearts, with our words, and with our lifestyles.

Ultimately, God is not concerned with what we call bloodlines. He’s concerned with our hearts. Anyone from any heritage on this planet can accept Jesus’ gift and join the family He calls the Church—a vast family that stretches around the globe and across the ages.

It starts with a simple choice.

The more I look, the more I am persuaded that the God of the Old Testament is no different from the God of New Testament. The interface may look different, but His operating system has always been the same.

-Miss Darcy

P.S. In Jeremiah, God spends all of Chapter 48 describing how He will judge and destroy Moab because of their idolatry. But in the final verse, He says, “Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab in the latter days.” Something He also promises to Elam and Ammon. Interesting, is it not?

The Father’s Older Son

I’ve always identified more with the Older Brother than with the Prodigal Son.

Don’t stone me yet. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’ve never thought the Older Brother perfect. I know he said he’d done everything the Father ever asked, but I’ve never quite believed that. He had to slip up sometimes. Besides, he clearly had some severe “heart issues.”

I know theologians say the Older Brother represents the Pharisees, and heaven knows I don’t want to be a Pharisee.

And I have one decided difference from the Older Brother: I have always been glad whenever anyone comes to the Father.

But I used to wonder if it were wrong for me to relate more to the Older Brother, and then I heard an elderly lady teach Sunday School. She said, “I believe we can all find ourselves somewhere in this story.” And she made an interesting point. The Bible never specifies whether the Older Brother came to his senses. Because the story may have a different ending for every “older brother.”

(For anyone who might have stumbled across this post and wonders who on earth I’m talking about, see Luke 15:11-32.)

I think both brothers had the same problem.

Neither of them really knew their father.

I mean, they sort of knew he was kind and gentle. After all, it shows a lot of nerve for the Younger Son to go to his father and say, “Give me my portion of the inheritance.” In effect saying, “I’d just as soon you were dead because the only thing I care about is your money, not you.”

And the Father didn’t rebuke him! He just counted up his assets, gave the Younger Son his portion in cash, and let the young man pack up and take off.

Huh? What kind of father does that?

The Younger Son didn’t realize what kind of father he had until he’d spent all his money and found himself wishing he could eat pigs’ food because he was so hungry.

Then it occurred to him that he would do better to go back and ask his father to take him as a hired servant.

Now you might expect the Younger Son to give up the idea at once because wouldn’t his father be more likely to spit in his face than even take him as a servant? But apparently the Younger Son knew his father enough to decide the venture was worthwhile.

And we all know how it ends. With the most beautiful picture of love you could ask for. The Father sees his wayward son in the distance and runs to meet him. In a culture where respect for parents was paramount, this Father disregards what others would call dignity and runs to welcome the insolent brat who left home years ago.

Doesn’t everyone want that kind of love?

See, I was raised on the Bible by good, loving parents. And I’m not ashamed or unhappy about that. I’m thankful that I decided to follow Jesus at an early age. It’s saved me a lot of scars that I know I’d have otherwise.

I’ve never done the things associated with “Prodigal Son” behavior.

And I know sin is sin. It’s like leprosy. Doesn’t matter if you have one open sore or twenty. The disease is gonna kill you sooner or later if you don’t get treatment.

I got my “treatment” early, before the disease of sin had left visible scars. I came to the Father’s house, and it’s a good place to call home. The Father is kind and gentle, and I love Him. I’m well provided for, and I have worthwhile work to do.

But Jesus said, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.” (Luke 12:48) Surely I have been given much. Surely it is my duty to work hard for the Father’s kingdom.

And when the “prodigals” come home, I rejoice and am glad with them because the Father’s love and mercy are so wondrous. How can I not delight in seeing it on display?

Yet deep inside me, a tiny little part of me wonders if that kind of love is for me too. I mean, I know my Father loves me, but my conversion wasn’t like that. My past isn’t like that. Grace hauled me out of a miry pit of a child’s pride and selfishness, not a pit of drugs and fornication. (Granted, we know the former is really one with the latter, but still.)

So I try to be a good “older brother,” but sometimes I still feel like I’m on the outskirts, not the center of the Father’s love.

But the Father loved the Older Brother too.

When the Older Brother was being pig-headed, standing outside the house and refusing to join the celebration for his younger brother’s homecoming, the Father didn’t leave him standing there alone. He didn’t even send a servant to say, “Get in here and act like a son of mine should.”

No, he went out to his oldest son.

Just as he ran to his foolish younger son, he stepped away from his place as host of the celebration and went to talk to his foolish older son.

And in the midst of the older son’s complaints about how good he’s been and how the wicked younger son doesn’t deserve to have the fatted calf killed for him, I have always been fascinated by one line. The Older Son complains, “You never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” (Luke 15:29)

I always think, “Did you ever ask?”

This is the Father who gave the Younger Son his inheritance prematurely. Did the Older Brother really think the Father would say no if he asked for a young goat?

Looks like the Older Brother was just as big a fool as the Younger.

But what did the Father say in return to his oldest son’s objections?

“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

All that he has. The Father didn’t say, “It will be yours.” He said, “It is yours.”

The Father’s estate belonged to the Older Brother. But instead of taking on the quiet, glad confidence of a good landowner, it seems like he’d been working with a sullen attitude all these years. When all the Father had was his.

So that means all my Father has is mine too.

All the riches of His love and grace and peace, courage and hope and strength, all of His blessings; they are mine. If I’ll just accept them and use them. If I’ll just go to the Father and say, “May I have some?” Do I really think He’s gonna refuse me?

Look at what else the Father said: “Son, you are always with me.”

Day in and day out. The Older Brother could have had the most special relationship that a son ever had with a father. Yet he didn’t because he didn’t appreciate his father. Oh, he was a dutiful son, always trying to obey, whether for the right reasons or not.

Yet he didn’t truly know his father, didn’t have the loving relationship that was his for the asking.

That loving relationship with my Father that I crave, it’s mine for the asking.

Sure, it’s good that I complete my work in His kingdom. It’s good that I obey His commandments. But I’m also invited to “come away by myself” with Him. To truly know Him and love Him, and receive the love He so richly lavishes on His children. Because I’m His child too, just like the “prodigals.” He loves each of us.

And, just for the record, the Older Brother was probably a lot closer to perfect than I am. One thing about coming to Christ so young is that I’ve discovered new temptations after my conversion. I’ve struggled with the fact that I’ve succumbed to my “worst” sins after I chose to follow Jesus.

But the Father still loves me.

That isn’t going to change.

So, for all the “good Christian church kids” who might somehow feel that our testimonies aren’t as good, or even that God loves His other children more than us, that’s nonsense. It really is. Our Father has everlasting lovingkindness to lavish on us. And He invites us to experience it.

Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t matter when or how we came to follow Christ. We make distinctions between ourselves that God never does. All that matters to Him is that we come. He really loves us. The Father loves all His children.

Even you.

Even me.

-Miss Darcy

There Remains Much Land

Sometimes I crave a really good story, but I can’t find a book I want to settle down with. It’s dreadfully provoking.

When that happened a few weeks ago, I picked up the Bible and started reading Joshua, just for the story. I wanted adventure. Spies, battles, miracles, noble hero—adventure doesn’t get much better than that, yes?

And I ran across a verse I’m sure you’ve heard preached on or written about sometime or other:

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.

-Joshua 13:1 NKJV

The Lord goes on to name the places the children of Israel still need to take possession of. Having just read about all the cities and kings Joshua had conquered, I thought, “Wow. So much done. Yet so much left to do.”

If you go on to read Judges, you discover just how much land Israel left unconquered after Joshua died—and all the trouble that caused them.

I think we still do that kind of thing.

Joshua gave the Israelites a great start during his lifetime. He hit the big cities, the important fortresses. He took out the most powerful kings. But still much land remained.

When we give our lives to Jesus (“get saved” in Christianese), we almost instantly surrender the important fortresses. We depart from some of our most glaring sins. We attend church faithfully. We pause to pray three times a day. We get a Bible, start reading it, learn the order of the books. We wear Christian T-shirts, listen to Christian music.

You know. We hit the highlights. Big things change, little things change. And that’s wonderful! That’s the power of God to transform a person immediately.

But then it’s easy to stagnate.

I mean, we’re saved. We’re different. We’re getting on top of this livin’-for-Jesus thing.

Yet there remains much land yet to be possessed.

Does Jesus have all our love? Is there nothing competing with Him for our affections and energy?

Do we yet comprehend the width and length and depth and height—do we know the love of Christ?

Do we walk in step with God’s Spirit every day?

Does God’s peace rule in our hearts?

Has Jesus so thoroughly overtaken us that He is not merely our faith of choice, but also our source of identity?

Do we rely on the Lord instead of on ourselves during tribulation?

Do we gladly obey God’s commandments because we know only our Creator and Redeemer has the wisdom and the right to control us?

Does thankfulness to God permeate our lives?

Do we love others like He loves them?

Does His Word shape everything about the way we view life?

Is He really, truly, wholly the One we worship?

That’s what I want. But I am so far from being there yet. I know there remains very much land in my heart to be fully surrendered to Christ. To be fully possessed by Him.

The war to win full surrender of our hearts is the fight of a lifetime. I don’t want to be satisfied with being a good Christian. I want Jesus to truly be my everything.

So let us fight on, warriors. Let us set ourselves against the Lord’s enemy and our own selfish desires. Let us be faithful.

Not that our own strength is sufficient. But God’s grace will make good what we lack.

-Miss Darcy

Christmas Peace

In my church’s Christmas concert this year, we sang, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

‘Tis a common theme of songs and stories and Scripture quotations at Christmas. After all, the angels sang to the shepherds: “…on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (see Luke 2:14)

Yet Jesus said something very interesting, almost startling, to His disciples.

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.

“For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two and two against three.

-Luke 12:51-52 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Matthew 10:34 says, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

At first glance, it doesn’t seem to fit with the Jesus who died to save lives and is not willing that any should perish. But seem is the operative word here.

Jesus didn’t come to set the world at war. Division is an unavoidable side effect of His mission.

He came to redeem people. To free them from sin, Satan, and death. If everyone accepted that redemption, then peace would reign on earth.

But someone has far too much to lose if everyone chooses redemption. Satan would completely lose his power over humans. Oh, sure, he’d still be able to tempt them. But they would be equipped to resist his lures. They’d be armed to withstand him as never before. They would no longer be his slaves.

And he will stop at nothing to prevent his captives from slipping away.

So Satan convinces people that Jesus is the problem. That all who follow Jesus are a threat. To freedom, to pleasure, to life. Anything to get souls frightened and furious at the very thing which could save them.

Clever distraction tactic, is it not?

Unfortunately, this distraction tactic tends to ensnare Jesus’ followers, too. We see all these people attacking us, and we think we have to attack back. (Best defense and all that.) We fall into bickering and bitterness, cruel words and worse. But we miss the real enemy. We think it’s the people charging against us. It’s really the devil who has deceived these people.

It’s such a brilliant plan. It keeps the slaves safely bound, and keeps the redeemed ones wasting their energy on the wrong enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

-Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

That’s why God commands us:

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

-Romans 12:18 NKJV

Christians are not supposed to be quarrelsome, contentious, argumentative, rude, disrespectful, unkind, or violent. We may be hated and despised because we follow Jesus, but we shouldn’t retaliate. In fact, we don’t need to retaliate; it doesn’t do any good. Our job is to live peaceably as much as possible.

But guess what? Sometimes it’s not possible. We may do everything in our power to have amicable relationships with others. We may bend over backwards until our heads touch our heels (figuratively), and still be unable to appease those in our lives who just cannot stand us.

That’s okay. That’s when we step back and pray because the enemy is not the person in front of us. The enemy is the “spiritual hosts of wickedness.” Until Satan’s defeat, begun on the cross, reaches its culmination, there will always be conflict on earth.

See, Jesus didn’t come to give peace. He came to be peace.

The angels’ message was true in the most literal sense possible. Peace had come to earth—because Jesus Himself is the Prince of Peace and He had come to physically dwell on earth. Peace was truly on the earth for the first time.

Now those who believe in Him have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within them. We have peace. Mind-blowing peace, if we choose to embrace it. (see Philippians 4:6-7)

So as we sing this Christmas of peace on earth beginning with us, it is a worthy goal. We should strive to let the peace of God dwell in us and spill over into our relationships with every person who crosses our paths.

And when people dislike you, despise you, or hate you for no apparent reason, take heart. Division is just part of life in this world.

One day, Jesus will come to this earth again. And at His second coming, He will finally establish peace on this earth.

-Miss Darcy

It’s That Time of Year

It’s that time of year…

  • …when stores play the lousiest Christmas songs known to man, interspersed with a few good ones.
  • …when I put on a black velvet dress and sing in my church’s Christmas concert.
  • …when a trip to the library turns into Christmas shopping because one sister was home (and we’ve got to take opportunities when we get them).
  • …when I actually pay attention to the promotional emails from various online stores where I shop occasionally.
  • …when a sister caught borrowing clothes from my closet is likely to get screeched at because she might accidentally uncover a gift I haven’t wrapped yet.
  • …when the list of cookies we want to bake is longer than the list of people we have to give them to.
  • …when we pull out all the Christmas lights and see which ones still work (and which ones the “elves” tangled the worst).
  • …when inflatable Christmas decorations lie like dead things in people’s yards during the day.
  • …when I oooh and aaah over the seasonal-scented Christmas candles (or, conversely, almost die from the overpowering scent if it disagrees with me).
  • …when I hunt at six different stores over the course of a month looking for a special, seasonal ice cream flavor.
  • …when we save all the shipping boxes for wrapping gifts.
  • …when scraps of wrapping paper are apt to be found in the oddest places.
  • …when the first person downstairs in the mornings gets the privilege of plugging in the indoor Christmas lights.
  • …when I research Christmas carols so I can sing all the verses.
  • …when Mom strictly forbids me to check emails for her.
  • …when I play Christmas music as if no other kind of music exists.
  • …when I put on a red dress to go see The Nutcracker ballet.
  • …when I eat way too many sweets and promise myself I’ll “be good” after New Year’s.
  • …when I read a Christmas story or two.
  • …when Dad has to make multiple trips to the store to pick up some last minute item we need for baking.
  • …when I sing of white Christmases knowing full well my southern location probably won’t see proper snow until January.
  • …when I ponder the first two chapters of Luke and Matthew again.
  • …when every day closes with lighting the Advent candles, reading a Christmas devotion, and singing a Christmas carol around the piano.
  • …when we drive around to look at light displays and shake our heads at the houses in our neighborhood who didn’t even hang a wreath.
  • …when we rejoice in the birth of a Baby in Bethlehem—because one day He would die on a cross for us.

Aye, ’tis truly the most wonderful time of the year.

What little things, either lovely or annoying, shout “Christmas” to you?

-Miss Darcy

Born for You | Character Interview

Y’all, I am so thrilled to feature my sister’s novella today! It’s available in the same novella collection as mine, The Heart of Christmas.

I’m not sure that I don’t like hers better than mine.

So please let me present Born for You by Leah Fornier.

born-for-you-cover

Ryder has never set foot in a church. But when his best friend, Kenna, begs him to direct a church Christmas play, he can’t refuse. As he and Kenna work through a series of mishaps, Ryder finds himself drawn to the One born for him. And also to Kenna.

(Isn’t the cover lovely?) I laughed so much in this story. But there were also scenes that broke my heart. It’s a very sweet romance. So I might be biased, but I think my sister’s a pretty good writer. 🙂

And I have an interview today with a secondary character from the story—Audra, Kenna’s younger sister.


Audra, thank you so much for visiting with us! I loved meeting you in Born for You, so I’m delighted you’ve agreed to answer a few questions for us today.

1) You and your older sister Kenna seem to have a close relationship, but I know all sisters have some friction (I have two sisters myself). Have you always been close? What would be your main source of friction these days?

Audra: Kenna and I have always been close. We kind of had to be since it was only the two of us growing up. But she’s my big sister. Despite her best intentions she’s still bossy. She’s still trying to manage my life. And my lack of ambition frustrates her to no end. I really like to just float through life, and to super-active, super-responsible Kenna, that is unthinkable. She means well, but occasionally we still lock horns over it.

2) In your estimation, what is Kenna’s greatest weakness? What is her greatest strength?

Audra: In some ways Kenna’s greatest weakness is also her greatest strength. She’s a fixer. She wants to fix everything – me, Ryder, the medical field, the world. You name it, she’s thought long and hard about what’s wrong with it and how to fix it. So it can be very stressful for her when things spiral out of her control. She’s learned a lot about trusting in God’s strength and not her own in the past several years. On the flip side, when things fall apart she can usually pull them back together. She’s always ready to help someone and volunteer her time for something no one else wants to do. She is the most helpful person I have ever known, and I know I can rely on her to always be there for me.

3) When Kenna first convinced Ryder to help her with the play, what did you think about the plan?

Audra: Actually, I was the one who suggested she get Ryder to do it for her, so naturally I thought it was a great idea. I reminded her how great he was in drama (although she didn’t really need reminding) and that his minor in college had been directing. I may or may not have had other, more personal, reasons for encouraging her to ask him.

4) If you could have one thing in the world, anything, what would you choose?

Audra: I want a man who loves me as much as Ryder loves Kenna.

5) Is there anything else you would like to share with readers of this story?

Audra: Yes. I just want to say that if you have a sibling (or siblings) as close to you as I am to Kenna, cherish them. They are one of God’s greatest gifts. I don’t know what I would do without Kenna, and I’m going to miss her now that she is married. But Ryder’s a great guy, so I’m okay with sharing. In fact, I’ve always thought those two were perfect for each other, and I did my best to help them get together. And I’ve gained a wonderful brother from the whole thing. All in all it worked out great, and I know Kenna and Ryder will have a beautiful life together.


About the Author

Leah Fornier has loved storytelling since childhood when she would recite her long, complicated, embellished dreams for her sisters. She began writing in high school with short stories that constantly tried to outgrow their word limit. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, you might find her baking, sewing, playing the piano, or researching historical fashions. She lives in middle Tennessee with her parents and two noisy sisters.

The Heart of Christmas is available at Amazon.

If you like Christmas stories and don’t mind romance, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Why, our dad even read it and liked it. 🙂

And talking of Christmas stories, have you noticed that the Christmas season is upon us? I am so thrilled to be able to listen to Christmas music without certain parties complaining. I’m also enjoying some special Christmas ice cream flavors. 🙂 I hope your Christmas season is off to a very merry start!

-Miss Darcy