The Lives of Dry Bones (An Announcement)

“… unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

John 12:24


It is the dream-come-true moment that lodges itself in our memories.

The day the baby was born. Or the day you wore the cap and gown. Or the day you moved in.

It isn’t that you’ve forgotten. It is only that time does heal and dreams-come-true are complicated. They ask so much of you. When you are changing diapers in the night or ripping out weeds for a new garden you do not have much energy to spare for looking back.

Which may be why I have written so much about dreams-come-true and so little of letting them die.

Because no dream lives that has not yet died.




Some call this surrender. They describe it as letting go. Giving back to God. Release.

I prefer to call it planting.

First there is the dream. It seems to have come at once from somewhere deep within and somewhere so far beyond yourself that the only explanation is divine. God has whispered, and your eyes are now open.

That is the seed.

Then comes the next day. Which turns out to be not all that different from the day before. The dream appeared to be so real, so startling and immediate, but life seems not to have noticed. Life is much the same as ever.

We each have our own way of living these days. Some of us wrestle and rage. We cry and we grip and we will not let go until, utterly spent, we drop the seed and we bury it.

Others of us begin to doubt almost immediately. I can live without this, we say. Maybe it was never meant to be, we tell ourselves.

This is how dreams die. How they are buried in dark dirt.

This is how we live with dry bones.


Waking up is difficult. Resurrection, even of the figurative sort, can be painful.

T.S. Eliot warned us:

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

It is painful to dream again. To risk a broken heart. To walk through a valley of dry bones and say I believe.

But, oh friends, I am convinced. It is the only way to live.


I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. … Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.

On Monday, an envelope stuffed with papers arrived in my mailbox. I knew it was coming, but I still caught my breath when I saw it there.

It sat on the kitchen table while we gathered groceries and medications and swimsuits. School begins on Monday, but we were squeezing in one small family vacation before calling summer quits.

Late at night, with our bags packed and our kids in their beds, I read the papers. I signed the papers. There was no time to visit the post office, so I packed the papers with everything else the next morning.

We drove north toward Ithaca, New York. The Finger Lakes, they call them. It’s a storybook landscape of mountains and water and red Dutch-style barns. The kind of landscape I found only in books when I was a child growing up in Texas.

Just the right landscape for a dream-come-true.

Now that I’ve left those papers at a post office in Ithaca I can tell you this:

Dry bones do live and this autumn and winter I’ll be writing a book.

I’ll be writing a book for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. … Then you will know that I am the Lord.

And I pray, Let it be to me according to your word.

Let it be, let it be, let it be.





When Our “No” Meets God’s “Yes”

When we moved from Chicago to Florida, we gave away all of our baby things. There was no reason to bring a bassinet, a baby swing, or a boppy pillow halfway across the country. Our family was complete.

Some friends asked me how I knew. I’m not sure what I said, but I know, looking back, that our decision felt like the most reasonable one. It felt right. It felt wise. I think it was wise, given our circumstances and what we thought we knew about our future.

The decision to try to grow your family is very emotional, and I can remember congratulating myself that I was able to say “no” to the idea so rationally. So reasonably. Of course, I’d always had a hard time getting pregnant and the first trimester of being pregnant was even harder. That may have had something to do with the ease with which I said “no more.”

Here’s something I’ve learned since moving to Florida: God’s gifts are not always rational or reasonable. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that God is wildly unreasonable. And we – well, we are too easily content to stay within our comfort zones, to respect our limits, to steer clear of obstacles and hardship, while all along God desires to give us more.

I’m not necessarily talking about more babies. Or more money in the bank account. God’s more, at least in the beginning, may actually look like less. The money is shrinking. The troubles are multiplying. The mountains are growing.

Yet, there in our midst, is God, and he is longing to give us more, always more. If he is holding back it is for a season and for a purpose, but all through history his cry is the same: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10).

I heard those words from God way back in August. I can remember the goosebumps on my arms and the question in my head: “What is God about to do?” I was slightly excited and terribly afraid.

I don’t think I’ve yet glimpsed the full answer to my question. What is God about to do? What is he preparing to give? I know that there is always more. More than I’ve seen. More than I can imagine.

But I have seen one thing … and it is very good.

A small blur of a heart beating furiously on the ultrasound screen.

And I have felt the slightest flutters of new life being knit together.

We have forgotten our “no” and embraced God’s “yes,” and it feels like nothing less exhilarating than a feet-first jump into a rushing river.

baby toes

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

Psalm 46:4


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