How to Withstand the Storms

We are all transplants in this Kingdom, all ball of roots, shook out and replanted insecure, longing for our heart’s true home.



We are adopted children of the most High who wander through the world with amnesia forgetting to come home, forgetting where our bread (acceptance, security, purpose, Life) comes from.  We turn towards whispers of “little l” life with hope-filled faces and turn away from the arms always offered.


We are basically earth scorched thirsty people searching for living water, quenching our thirst in the most unhealthy/unholy of ways.


Everywhere I go, when I’m turning toward another voice in hope of some piece of the puzzle coming together, I hear an echo of Him, “Daughter, Come back to Me. Don’t go too far. Attach. Dwell. Abide.”


It takes three years for plants to reach down in foreign soil and establish. Three springs that follow three cold winters before they begin to thrive.


The gardeners at the Center where I bought my white hydrangeas said to chop off the big snowball blooms for two full years. The roots’ establishing was more critical than beauty, she lectured, tenderly patting the black plastic base. Let them spread all their energy to the tightening, spreading roots and then, she promised, they’ll bloom strong into the years.


It’s the roots we can’t see, the roots spread firm in Him that create the lasting beauty.


Around that same time wandering through a Christian bookstore, I stared at a black and white Ansel-Adams-like photo. She was a queen of a tree, full of leaves, standing alone, a lace of intricate branches. Underneath the photo was Ephesians 3:17 “Rooted and established in love.”  Paul, midway through his letter was praying for the Ephesians. Now, Paul was hardcore. A missionary of missionaries. I imagine him a bit wild-eyed, like I’d have to look away if I tried to look straight at him. And yet much of his writings come straight back here, straight to the importance of being rooted in God’s love.


The full verses of 17 through 19 go like this, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” We need to be rooted in love in order to be filled with God.


Chapter 8 in Romans, the chapter I would gladly take to a deserted island (or maybe just a four star hotel) and feast on for weeks, climaxes in this: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


The man was rooted and established in some serious hummus-filled love. You’d have to be in order to endure the whips, the chains, the prison isolation, the shipwrecks. He’d be dashed and wrecked about the rocks of life without that firm anchor of love. And maybe that’s all we’ve known.


We are so often like adopted children wondering where home really is, insecure, fearful when my dear friends, our Abba is firmly here with us. “I will never leave you or forsake you,” (Mt 28:20)

Every moment we:

stop and look into His eyes,

whisper “Jesus” in joy or wonder,

search the Word for his self-revelation,

fill up the lungs, drink deep breaths of His love,

bring our fears to his lap,

take our sins to the cross,

listen, getting used to the sound of His voice,

worship with arms outstretched,

or double back, saying thank you.

All this roots and establishes us a little deeper.

It is the constant abiding John talks about, the branch coming in close, attaching firm to the Vine.



Christianity is less a lifestyle of trying hard and more a constant doubling back, coming in close.  And the most beautiful service, the most powerful wave-walking trust and firm obedience? It comes naturally out of the coming in close.


The beauty will come. One day it fill unfold into bloom. And my friend, I can already see in you the tight nubs whispering of future glory.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to get rooted and established in God’s love, Lectio Divina.

Rest in His Presence. Receive his Word. Respond.  It’s a doorway to prayer.


I wonder what you will hear from today’s scripture? 


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How to Be Still and Know that He is God

The three R’s, it’s quickly becoming Maddie and my “thing” every morning…perhaps it’s because of her giggles…perhaps it’s because I know how much I need it too.

 mom and maddy at church black and white

Rest, Receive, Respond: these are the 3 R’s taught by Terry Wardle, a professor at Ashland Seminary who teaches formational prayer.


They are a practical way to line up for a blessing from Jesus.


Rest: I pull her down on my lap in the warm kitchen, whisper to her to close her eyes and take a few deep breaths. Just relax. That’s when I see the smile start playing.


Receive: “Maddie, receive Jesus’ love for a few moments. You are His girl and He delights in you.”  I start seeing a giggle coming up to the surface, the same giggles she gets during a movie when the Prince kisses his true love.


Respond: Tell Him you love Him back or thank Him.  Now she’s throwing her head back as if the joy can’t be held in. I can’t help but believe that she’s been in line and felt His hand on her head, his words spoken over her, seen His loving eyes look directly at her.


She’s been blessed, she knows that she’s His Beloved, and she’s beginning to learn that seeking the blessing can really be that simple.


How often I have forgotten.


I’m the mom with the scripture memory cards in the middle of the breakfast table and all the Bible storybooks strewn around the house. I get out the big royal blue one with gold edging with the graham crackers and milk at bedtime. The other morning I reached for the devotional with breakfast and got “the look” from Caedmon.  Enough, it said. I’m stuffed.  It’s not the first time I’ve seen that look lately.


Too much stuffing knowledge and not enough blessing.


The look registered and I pulled out my iphone still loaded with a worship video based on Zephaniah 3:17:

Worship Opener/Zephaniah 3:17 from designerMD on Vimeo.


As he read the words on the small screen out loud, Caedmon’s eyes began to shine. “How does that make you feel, buddy?”  “I don’t know, Mom. I just like it,” he said.


We all hunger for blessing. 


Zephaniah 3:17 is a blessing in black on white:

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.


I had been spending my quiet time with this verse feeling my own chaotic heart slowly grow still with: “The Lord your God is with you…He will quiet you with His love.”


But here are the questions: How often do I cram down the words, gather the bullet points, but don’t spend heart to heart time with the Word Himself?


Or, how often do I talk about the well but don’t lead them to take a drink? I give them maps, paint the pictures, tell stories about water, but still leave them thirsty?


“They” told me to find my purpose, my strength, my need for love, my identity all in Christ but never showed me how.  I struggled toward Him but was held back by the long rubber band always retracting towards my own neediness.  I never knew how to be “filled.” Finally, shame crept in and covered my relationship with God like that thin burnt oily covering on the hood of my kitchen stove.  20 years later and I have finally learned to live full of Love. And when I’m triggered, living out of that crazy, primal place, I’ve learned how to crawl back in to His heart.


How? Rest, Receive, Respond.


Be still and know that He is God.


baby Xavier sleeping


It’s dwelling with The Way, the Truth and the Life, not just learning about Him.

It’s blessing: the inner core of a life wrapped in unconditional love built on a framework of Scriptural knowledge.

It’s the 3 R’s: Rest, Receive, Respond.

It’s the practice of worship and soaking in His love.

It’s allowing yourself to stop seeking, and instead, just be found.

It’s Scripture meditation beyond memorization to conversation.

It’s the constant communication, “pray continually:” our lifting up our ordinary struggle to an always Present, loving Abba.

It’s learning to line up for a blessing.

 Summer Gross

Come journey with me.  Slip your email into the “Connect” square on the front page of A Thirst for God. 

Other times I’ve written about the 3 R’s:

When You Don’t Feel Worthy of God’s Love

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Psalm 23: Learning to Slow and Rest

Andrew’s retreating with a fly rod in hand and I’m cocooned in the love of family and this week we are resting. a lot.  This is a republished post from last year after Easter which I reread often…maybe it will be a gift for you too.


THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. Psalm 23:1

You have the crook, yes, but You have the heart, open and generous, protecting, shielding.  I shall not lack…here, now in this Moment.  This seems to be the key.  You are always enough Here.  I am the one who runs ahead into lack, who runs ahead into fear and smacks my head sharp.  How could I lack with Your powerful Presence, with me, for me?  You are here and that news is like spring water running again.  Fear drives me to lack as a frozen stream, stuck.  Your Presence heals my fear of not enough, my fear of new, my fear of judgment.  The lies that shout, fall silent at Your feet.  You are here.  I shall not lack.

Sheep are dumb.  I heard it over and over in sermons.  Now I understand: “Sheep are simple.”  I AM simple to You.  You know my needs and how to meet them in the here and where to get daily bread.  This awkward, leaping frog jump into the future was never made for me.  I am simple.  I was meant to take small steps forward, while chomping on what was right in front of me.  I need to remain simple, open, slow, close to the Shepherd.

 2He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters

In You I can rest deep, like Andrew and I did that night 15 yrs ago in our two person tent, hearing the water’s current and play around the rocks, zipping out and seeing the waterfall’s faithful spurt.  Someone had placed a stick cross in the rocks and that is still my favorite place we ever lived, even if it was just for a night.

Shepherd, you know my simple needs:  daily, minute by minute You, Bread of Life, fresh, tender Presence.

And Living Water.  Hours at the drinking fountain and You still do not run dry.

You never run dry.






3He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

You refresh and restore my life.  When do you do this?  Now.  In the delicious, rain drenched kids-still-asleep early.

I am restored to joy by being present.  Here.  Now.  Because You are Here, Now.

Sheep are simple, easily led. I am not.

I am a wild colt, jolting, running crooked, spooked eyes wild at the unseen.

I feel You stand and hand out, low voice, full authority speak “Be Still” at my wave-whipped storms.

Be still and Know and then walk slow, purposeful,


until you need to Be Still again.


4Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

We don’t get out of here alive, Dad says.  Death will come.

Death will someday be peace.  But fears, sudden tsunamis from the deep, make for a living death, whipped by lies taught by the unhealed.  I become a shade, afraid to walk on sharp grass, unable to identify the lines in my hands, let alone my Shepherd’s.

Knees tremor. Internal earthquake.

The crook helps.

I feel the gentle pressure of the wood tapping me from the precipice and I slide closer to the wall of the mountain, feel it solid against my palm.  “I am here, Summer.  Do you see that foot hold?

Step there.

Step and then another Step.

Deep Breath. It’s ok.

Take your time.

We’ve got all the time in the world.”

I hear my husband Andrew’s patient voice as we hiked dangerous passes around Linville Gorge before the children were born.

And how much more my Father in heaven?  The knees congeal again and I focus here, now:  Take in the view,

Feel the ground solid beneath my feet,

Run hands over the plants rooted in crevices.

He’s got this.  Deep Breath.

My God: He’s got this.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

This one makes joy rise.  You cooking, stirring, adding your chiffonade herbs, spreading out a table cloth, folding napkins: the King of Hospitality.

And I love You for it.

The company, not so much.

But the enemy did not see Joy coming.

Crouching, ready to strike, shocked at a Present banquet with the Shepherd Himself.  Joy Present in the moment pushes fear to the edges.  Love shows him the door.

I can eat, drink, be satisfied, fully Present.  Drinking the vintage of the greatest Company.  I am loved and delighted in, oil anointing, not out of lack but spilling over.  We’ve got plenty, my Dear.  Let’s feast: raise a glass to our love.  Don’t worry, there’s more where this came from… for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

6Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

After feasting on Love made by the hands of Goodness Himself, Mercy’s coverage on my fears, I know how to Be.  I am to be a Dwelling open for Him, Being still and Knowing, and then walking slowly only when still and knowing.

I am to invite Him to my here, now.

You are Here, Bread, Living Water, wine of joy and You have and are and will give me gifts in the here.  Full ripe fruit moments I have just begun to taste.

I saw You eating a ripe peach slowly in my last prayer time solid in Your Presence.  You shocked me with Your enjoyment of the temporal.  I had forgotten that You redeem and resurrect earth, that turning water to wine was your first miracle…

resurrecting Present joy is mine.

Summer Gross



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When our Love Gets Suffocated

I hear a call in the quiet of the early morning:  “Deepen,” He whispers. God is using the specific vocabulary of a Madeleine L’Engle lover.


I was shaken Saturday.  Triggered, that is.  They were dressed straight off the cover of a JCrew catalog and I shrunk back, sure they could see straight into my uncool.  The message of the arrows came back loud. (Have you read Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge?  Classic and beautiful.  So worth your time.)


“Here comes rejection,” swirled unbidden from somewhere deep.


Lies that are sewn deep, demand excavation.


I felt uprooted, pulled up and honestly?  I felt separated from God.  The anxiety earthquake was so strong that I couldn’t scurry for cover, couldn’t hide under the banner of love (Song of Songs 2:4).  I was 12 and had braces and permed frizzy hair. I might even have forgotten to put on deoderant (every junior higher’s worse nightmare…or maybe just mine.)


I was sick, but didn’t really know it at the time.  A chest cold.  Asthma.  The voices come back loudest when I’m sick.


But, honestly, there’s been a lot of hard work done already.  I found myself going faster to Jesus, bypassing the intense shame that used to descend like a thick cloud.  But, bummer, (yes, I say words like “bummer” and “shoot”) I thought I had healed from that and wow, will this anxiety surge every time I walk up to these fashion goddesses?



“Deepen” I hear again.


Have you read A Wrinkle in Time?  I love it.  I read it again this last summer with my kids on a rainy day.  It’s still good as an adult.  Now, have you read A Wind in the Door?  It’s seriously one of my  I- need- this-with-me- on- a-deserted- island  books.  Brilliant theology.  It makes me want to worship.


The youngest sibling, Charles Wallace, is sick and getting sicker fast and the doctors can’t tell them why.  Death feels immanent.  Obviously a plot straight out of a fantasy novel, a few characters are shrunk inside his body to survey the damage, to see if they can discover a path toward healing.  While inside they meet the culprits: farandolae, a microscopic species inside his cells, who don’t want to deepen, don’t want to grow roots, and so are spinning out of control, dying, slowly killing their host.  I know, a little dramatic (though possibly a great social commentary on our culture.)  But, it’s fiction, there needs to be drama.


“Deepen,” I hear.


God, I cry out, it’s not that I don’t want to grow roots, don’t want to deepen, it’s just that there is so much darn stuff to do!  My life is stuffed with people and children and ministry.  There are dust bunnies under the futon and my sink is clogged with dirty dishes.  Most of the activity and of course the people…I love dearly.


The truth comes down firm. Pay attention to first things.


I’m not paying attention to the One Thing that Jesus chided Martha about.  Her sister was resting at Jesus’ feet, in listening mode.  Martha was spinning around so fast she wasn’t even aware of the magnetic force of God breaking open true Life in just the other room.  One thing is needed, Martha.  Just one. (Luke 10 38-42).


I hear it too.  Stop spinning, Summer.  “Deepen.”  Sit here at my feet.  Listen.  Abide.  Be fully present.  Pull some of that stuff out hogging God’s oxygen and get rooted in love.


Practice my Presence.


I have clarity in this early morning calm.  Healing will come out of this will-work, this conscious knowing of God’s presence here in this moment.  I feel Brother Lawrence daring me to practice God’s presence from his post doing dishes there in that medieval monastery in France.

From his second conversation:

“That in order to form a habit of conversing with GOD continually, and referring all we

do to Him; we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we

should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.”


Here is the “aha moment”: if I am deepened in His Presence, truly dwelling there, resting from that center, I can invite others smack dab into the center of our ongoing communion.  When I am safe, deepened, roots down, stable spread into unconditional love then I can humbly, gently open my arms to another…


without disturbing the root system.




I turn to Bible Gateway and find this gem, this billboard, as my kids’ babysitter Kim would say:

Jeremiah 17:8 ESV

(S)He is like a tree planted by water,  that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”


God, plant me, deepen me, spread my roots so firmly into You that I am free to love all of your precious ones, even fashion goddesses.


Summer Gross

All tree photography found at this beautiful etsy shop: Amy Tyler Photography



Friend, what work is the Lord doing in your life?  Do tell.  Please share in the comment section and then, if you have a blog, add a link to your site so we can say thanks to God too. 


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My 2013 One Word

To Listen:

To live empty, open, hands up receiving

To surge in breaths of God truth,

To abide in God one wing covering another.

To breathe out focused:

the Presence of God is HERE, always Here…

Always speaking, and me?

Learning, stumbling to listen.


The wind is loud when you live close to the beach.  This morning it sounds hollow, gathered from 100 miles away from the top of the mitten and tunneling towards South Haven across the waves.


Before dawn this morning I open the door of the little yellow cottage and the storm door slams.  I shut my eyes and say a quick prayer the children stay asleep for Andrew.  At McDonalds I go through the drive through, pick up my breakfast sandwich and the wind tunnels into the minivan, taking my breath away.  At the office, I open the car door and it slams open, hard on the hinges.


The earth is loud, but most of the time, God is not.  I am leaning in, learning to practice stillness, to actively ear- to- the- sky listen.


I have spent much of the last six months of my life loud, around a loud young family, doing loud things.  I’m the annoying mom at the soccer field who crosses the line, jumping up when Caed gets the ball and moves it Messi-like toward the goal (yup, I’m that proud.  Not apologetic.) I look around, hold my hand up, apologize I’ve crossed the line yet again, laugh at myself and sit back down into my blue folding chair.


I’m the dance-party in the kitchen mom, turning up TobyMac and twirling children over the wood floor.  I’m often the first to speak and the longest to preach.


I live… loud.  And yes, I know there is a time for everything, but have you seen their small eyes when I stop talking, lean down, look into their eyes and just listen?


Monday, I ignored the pressing chores, shut the computer and sat still at the table as the after school apples and peanut butter was quickly consumed. “Mom, I’m their captain,” I heard, as I leaned in.  What followed was a description of an elaborate 1st graders game, runners and a jail and guarders and boys and girls on separate sides.  “But, the secret is the papers,” she smiled smugly, nodding slowly.  “The papers tell everyone if they are a runner, a guarder or a co-leader and then every Tuesday they are allowed to switch.  The boys don’t have papers, but I keep them in my desk.”


When you sit still enough and press in to listen, you hear secrets.


Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)


I want to live listening…to that Love always surging toward me, that truth opening my heart to live Godward.


I struggle and juggle time in a world of children and laundry and ministry.  My Bibles pile up, sitting waiting with fresh Word and I daily pray for thirst, and lately, I smack my lips, parched.  Every time I carve out time, I open that page, I gulp more LIFE and my mind is washed fresh.  I  hit the renew button, repent toward truth.


Lately I’ve begun loving this ESV daily lectionary in the early morning and then later?  I lay clunky brown leather Bibles open around the house, the ones which were held over my head as I said “Yes” to its authority over me at ordination.  They lay open on the bathroom sink, flat beside the white double kitchen sink where I bathed babies, open on the black coffee table, and I turn thin pages and sip throughout the day, searching for more LIFE.  Then, a few times a week like this, I wake up early, escape to the office, guzzle like I’ve been crossing the desert.

Why do I hunger to lean forward, to listen?  I want more God, more gulps of clean, fresh true God.  I want to become one of those listeners entrusted with the secret things of God.  I want to mine LIFE for myself and others, us wanderers through the dark of this fallen planet.

Yesterday, parched, I headed for a church full on the other side of 50 miles of white, snowy M43, and sat down in a prayer room with women full of wisdom.  At the end of our time, oil was placed on my forehead by a listening spiritual director and this was prayed over me, she who barely knows me…the same prayer prayed by many for the umpteenth time this last six months.  It is all I hear as I tentatively walk in the realms of the writers and preachers, the fresh wisdom gatherers and of course, the listeners:


Isaiah 45:3
I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.


In listening, we may open our hands tentatively, search truth, but then, surprise!  He full-arm reaches toward us giving out more ripe, succulent, dripping fruit off that Tree of Life.


He reaches to give more of Himself and I find the more I drink from His hands, the more thirsty I get.


Tonight the wind has died down, the internal static calmed, the rumblings of children upstairs has stopped and I sit into the stillness with my hot chamomile tea, open my heart and remember all the words, the treasures mined in the midst of the daily noise.


This is my one word this 2013: Listen

Friends, what words are filling your intention for this next year?

Summer Gross

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An Evening Prayer

through pinterest from

I AM is home.  And I am complete.  The day falls away like a paper lab suit I peel off.

This is my English cottage in the woods, our cottage, really…what I imagine my heaven will look like.  The sun is starting to go down, the golden hour and a round front door ushers Him in.  I run to the door to greet Him.

I’ve been waiting all day to look into your eyes.  I take His face in my hands.   Jesus, you look so good to me.  He twirls me around as if I was light as a little girl.

You know how much I love you, Summer Joy?

I eat supper with I AM in front of the fire on the round pedastal table between two wingback chairs and while cutting my chicken, I hit my glass, spilling my milk.  He laughs.  I love that nothing surprises Him, nothing torques Him.  I clean it up while we share jokes.  The crackling fire warms our hands, but His crinkled eyes do the same for my heart.  I AM is home.

He’s home and I take a deep breath.  No more seeking.  No more pretending there is living water anywhere else but in His Presence.

You are the I AM and you are my home.

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Freedom from Approval Addiction


Yesterday’s small group we call “Journey” looked at the rocks we carry around with us, the rocks of sin, felt their weight between our hands, fingered their surface, and stopped imagining they did not keep us from breathing pure, every breath gravely.  The Kingdom of Heaven came near, a blanket of the holy, Kabod it was called in the Old Testament causing the priests and Levites to be knocked to the ground when God filled the temple.  We were knocked down aware of sin strong and then we placed the rocks before the cross on the glass coffee table, clink.  After repentance joy flooded making us want to have a dance party right in Marie Diebold’s living room.

“This is Where the Healing Begins,” sang Tenth Avenue North and we were washed clean. Gracious God!  Rocks no longer ours to carry.  We were cut free.

Repent.  Lay it down and come follow Me.

The Kabod glory covered me and sin was found and I gasped realizing that every time I search for approval, for value in someone else’s eyes, it is an unfaithfulness.  I, like Hosea’s wife, Gomer, go searching for life outside of God.  Habit was formed early and it was the apple that I bit and the core around which my fingers wrap tight.

I watch the eyes of others for hints of boredom or understanding, for bits of my soul to be shined in their care.  I forget God.  I forget God is the giver of all good things, of favor and approval.

Hunchback bent, I have lived deformed, malformed, leaning toward those as unhealed as me expecting them to turn, a lighthouse signaling glory.  False hope glimmers and is gone as each pass in front.

Bent, twisted, warped I hobble. For twenty five years, I have swallowed hard, gulped the weight of expectations.  I have twisted my body, trying to fit the shape another desired.  I forget to stand straight and receive living water from the One.  Forget to receive identity from the One.  I forget the challenge I was made to be. Forget to stand up, listening to One and One only, the Holy Voice always speaking, inviting, affirming, challenging.

Leaking life.  Leaking joy.  Separated.

God, I beg: Heal my waywardness.  Like Jeremiah says, I am unfaithful, a donkey sniffing the wind, looking for fallen earth, hand-shaped earth to show me my true mirror.

The One eternally holding Living water says to this thirsty one:“My people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”  (Jeremiah 2:13) Cannot hold water…those I’m asking to stamp “Gift” on my forehead.

I beg, pray for the simple love of one to another, not using the other to meet my needs but loving, listening, open.  Loving simple with hospitality, allowing the Father, present in the Holy Spirit to meet all present needs, theirs and mine.

I took a Sabbath on Thursday to open this wound and ask the Holy Spirit to take His surgeon’s knife and cut out the unhealed from sin from muscle wound tight around it.

This weekend I regressed, began drinking from a well of approval as if I were dying of thirst, searching for evidence that it may run dry.  Four days of searching and I was tired and ready for the Spirit’s operating table.

After opening the wound under the bright light of the Holy Spirit, He spoke clear: Summer, you are not unmoored.

I remember God though I sometimes forget, that You know who whom I am.

Summer, you are not adrift on an inky Winslow Homer sea hoping for someone to guide your dinghy back to shore.  You are rooted and established in Me.  You are attached securely whether your feelings corroborate or not.  You are not unmoored.  You are anchored deep with a thousand roots into Me.

My thoughts jump to an Amazing Race episode where one spouse afraid of heights is walking a tightrope between skyscrapers in some unknown Asian city, the fear being more of a threat than the actual event where belts and carabineers held her tight.  The other spouse points to his eyes with two fingers then to his wife’s and then back again.

Lock on loved one.  Lock on to my eyes and do not let go.  Be anchored here.

I am done fishing for my own life, defining myself, being defined by others.

I hear that, “Follow Me” and think of the thousand times I follow the brass Celtic processional cross down the aisle back out into the world and how I lock my eyes hard onto it.

I do not know where You are leading but I know I have to stay close, to stay moored, to lock onto Your eyes as I balance one foot in front of the other.


for healing of entrenched sins,

for joy counting gifts,

for a God who does not get tired leading me to water,

for a group of women doing this Journey with me.

Summer Gross

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I’m pulling out a chair dear weary, thirsty friend.  Come sit down and enjoy the view over the hills.  Doesn’t it make you want to sit, put up your feet, pull out your glass for cold water, maybe a sip of warming wine?  God has put more than enough of what you need on His table and is always inviting, “Come, dear one, sit down, whatever you need, it’s on the table.”

My (Summer’s) mother-in-law graciously loves people through food, chocolate cake to be exact, piled with dark fudgy chocolate icing 1/2 inch thick.  Like an Italian mama, she invites her loved ones to another big rich square.

This, my friend, is our way of loving you, big piles of words, prayerfully crafted because we hope that just maybe you will want to sit down for a bit of refreshment…getting more than joy, way, way way more than religion, we hope we can point you directly to Jesus who spreads a table before you.  And we know that once a week on Sunday is just not enough.

We will pass around more Word, invite each other to the Source, the headwaters, Jesus Himself.  He never runs dry.  Never.

Are you Thirsty?


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