By Lisa Huddleston


Doggy BagI love mid-week dinners, because we usually have some leftovers in the refrigerator, and I do not have to cook. It’s great! And such is the case tonight. When Chuck gets home from another long day of work, he will have his choice—as long as his choice is either chili or lasagna. Yes, I’m a big fan of leftovers!


And leftovers is exactly what struck me in this past Sunday’s sermon from Ruth 2. This is the chapter in which Ruth goes out to glean in Boaz’s field, and he serves her dinner. The air is thick with tension and mounting romance—as well as a special doggy bag to take home.


At mealtime Boaz told her, “Come over here and have some bread and dip it in the vinegar sauce.” So she sat beside the harvesters, and he offered her roasted grain. She ate and was satisfied and had some left overs. (v. 14)


I don’t know about you, but we Huddlestons always get a doggy bag when we have leftovers at a restaurant. Unfortunately, I usually accidentally leave it on the table or in my car and rarely get to enjoy them. But Ruth managed to make it home with her leftovers, and “she brought out what she had left over from her meal and gave it to [Naomi.]” (v. 18)


And all that thinking about leftovers reminded me of the many, many ways I have been blessed with more than I need. We have a house that used to shelter a family of five and now there could be only two of us to rattle around in it. Chuck has managed to work hard and consistently for many years to provide us with many material goods—lots of which has made its way to the basement over the years. And on and on. We are most certainly well-blessed.


And, I suppose, it would be okay for us to just sit on what we have—after all, God has given these things to us—but it definitely would not be the best way to live. I mean, we’ve all seen episodes of “Hoarders” on TV. It can get pretty gross if we keep everything we get.


No, I think Ruth really sets us a good example by what she does with her leftovers. She takes them and gives them to someone who has not. In this case, it’s her sure-to-be-hungry mother-in-law. And isn’t that what we all should do with our abundance?


Have a too-big house? Open it up to someone who needs a place to live. Have unused furniture in your basement? Give it to a young family who’s just starting out. Get a bonus for Christmas? Look around and see with whom God wants you to share it. Ruth knew those leftovers were not for her, and we can know the same thing if we’ll take the time to ask God where He wants it to go.


Yes, I love leftovers … I think I’ll choose lasagna tonight. No, maybe the chili. No, definitely lasagna. Or maybe I just have some of both.


Either way, I’m thankful for God’s provision—for and through ALL OF US!


By Lisa Huddleston

ears-to-hear-11As I approached the door to the sanctuary this Sunday morning, I saw two of my friends smiling and chatting away. One was a long-time pal and the other a fairly new acquaintance, but as soon as their eyes hit mine I could tell that my new friend wanted to talk to me–and I knew what about.

You see, the last time Chuck and I attended our home group, I spontaneously announced to everyone there that I had serious depression and had even struggled with the idea of hurting myself at times. What the heck??!

Well, the group was very sweet, and I could see their concern, but their reactions were awkward for me because I felt a little misunderstood–my fault of course. The leader suggested by asking a question that my depression could be a spiritual difficulty. Since I know that prayer helps in any situation and that was kind of what I was requesting (although I meant prayer in their own homes as they thought of it), I agreed to have the group pray for me right then. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by genuinely, loving believers placing their hands on my back and shoulders and voicing requests for my peace. It truly was well-intentioned and kind (and possibly/probably even very effective), but I am at best a socially-awkward introvert and felt a little freaked out by this reaction and the amount of attention I endured. (To anyone from this group–I LOVE YOU DEARLY! Please, no offense.)

Therefore I knew what was on my friend’s mind; however, I was pleasantly surprised when she began an inquiry of depth and openness that I truly appreciated. I want to write this post to say thank you to her for taking the time to ask some uncomfortable questions in order to understand what I and other depressives are going through.

First, she asked me if depression is a spiritual problem. I answered as honestly as I could that depression is a term used to describe many emotional and physical situations–and that while I believed it could sometimes have spiritual causes–I did not however believe that to be my current situation. My healthcare providers, my personal and family histories, and my symptoms all point toward my experiencing major clinical depression. I did share with her that depression definitely dampens my ability to worship, to pray, and to hold on to faith (thus affecting me spiritually), but that I have been reminded in many ways that it is not my faith that saves me but God’s. My prayer is that when I cannot hold on to Him that He will faithfully hang on to me. And so far, He has. My experience is that my depression is not caused by a “spiritual issue or battle” any more than any other disease is (or is not.)

My friend also asked if depression was the same as feeling sad. Again what a thoughtful question! And my answer is no. When I am sad there is a reason for me to feel that way. I’m too fat for my favorite jeans. One of my cats is missing. Or maybe I have learned of a dear friend’s passing. But depression is much more generalized than sadness. When battling depression, I feel exhausted and disinterested in most things. Sleep is my best friend, and very little can be done to make me less irritable or discouraged about my perception of the hopeless condition of myself or any other life on this planet. My brain feels like either mush or a bouncing pin ball, and I frequently wish I could either simply shut down or completely disappear. Depression is very different from the emotion we call sad.

This thoughtful friend asked me a few more questions–all equally good–offered her help, promised her prayers, and then it was time for us to take our seats. I just want to say thank you to her for taking the time to ask me how I really felt and to listen to my responses. I intend to follow her great example in the future when I have a friend facing a difficulty I know very little about.

Oh, Father, give me ears to hear.



By Lisa Huddleston









Over and under

And pulling it through

Weaving the wool

To make fabric new


Red wool and blue wool

And purple and gray

The over and under

Help me through the day








Like yoga sometimes

It’s more undo than do

So over and under

I’m pulling me through








Teasing out knots that

Ravel my brain

Picking apart to

Lessen the strain


Over and under

And pulling back though

Undoing the old knots

But still making new


By Lisa Huddleston


Days of births,

Years of service,remembering

Weddings and deaths,

We are all about such things.

So we mark them with stars on calendars

To remember and not forget.



What year did you build this house?

When did your daddy pass away?

Was it fall when she first learned the truth about her man?


Anniversaries—a ticking off of

Weeks and months and years.

Marking the hard work,

Rewarding the perseverance,

Remembering the pain as well as the joy,

Or simply acknowledging a lazy

Dislike of change.


Did you try to reach this milestone?

Was it more than breathing in and breathing out?

Did you believe the promise that time would heal all wounds?


Time, of course, does help; but stubborn scars remain.

White hash marks etched in small groups of five,

Silver lines cut in the thin skin of time,

Fading and fading but never quite completely

As long as we continue to mark the day

And call it, “Anniversary.”


By Lisa Huddleston

Pastor Jim read the 26th chapter of Acts for yesterday’s sermon and focused on three primary points:

  1. God calls us to testify on behalf of the Gospel
  2. Christian faith is both true and rational
  3. Christian faith reorders our priorities by putting God first, then others next, and finally ourselves last.

They were good points, and as always I took notes and pondestart-with-whyred my own thoughts throughout the message. Yes, I am prone to ponder—Lord, I feel it. I have lots of questions and sometimes wish I could raise my hand and ask, “Why?” Instead I satisfy myself by writing why or a big old question mark in the margin of my Bible.

Yesterday there were a couple of whys that caught my attention, and although I know I could pull out concordances and word studies, I think I’m just going to ponder freely.

First, when he is telling his conversion story why does Paul add the information that he heard “a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language?” (vs.14). Does the language help to clarify that it really was Jesus who was speaking to him—in the Aramaic dialect as other translations note—rather than Greek or any other language? Is this detail included in order to point to Jesus? Maybe so.

And consider verse 16: “But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you.” What did Jesus mean in that last phrase? How would he appear to Paul in future “things?” Jesus continues that he will, “Rescue [Paul] from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (vs.17-18). If I were Paul, I would have been asking, “What things, Lord? Why will I need to be rescued? How will I know you when you appear to me?”

I’m sure I would (and do) try God’s patience many times a day. But prone to ponderers are also prone to askers!

One statement that I jotted in my notebook Sunday stands out to me. “The question ‘Why?’ leads us to the question ‘Who?’” If I’m going to have a chance in—well you know where—of receiving true answers to my questions, I’m going to have to bring them to the only one who can possibly know the truth: the Author and promised Finisher of my faith. Please, keep working on me, Lord, and help me to be satisfied with the Who even when my Whys sometimes get in the way.



By Lisa Huddleston

Suicide is not the solution. Seek help!

Suicide is not the solution. Seek help!

On Monday evening I received a text message from a good friend telling me that my dentist had killed himself. His body had been found in his car parked behind a large car dealership near a line of woods. Curiously, my mother (who lives with us), Chuck, and I had been talking about this man during our dinner that very night. I had received a postcard reminder of my upcoming appointment for a cleaning, and we were extolling his virtues as a kind and caring man. And then this news.

It was shocking to us and also to the rest of our small town! Rumors began to fly almost immediately blaming such things as finances, affairs, business troubles, and so on. I still have no idea why he took his life, but I can say I have spent the week pondering the terrible affect suicide has upon those it leaves behind, and everyone I have spoken with in my hometown has brought it up everyday since. What will his employees do? Will the business close? Will his family still receive insurance money? Where will we go if we have a dental emergency? Is suicide an unforgivable sin? These are just a few of the many questions I have heard asked. Many of the gossipy questions being asked were none of our business, others were just practical (and selfish?) on our part, and still others showed genuine concern. In my defense, it took me years to find this particular dentist, and I trusted him—no small feat. I hate the idea of going anywhere else. I confess that was my second thought after I heard the news—after the shock and gasp of sorrow. Selfish, yes. I’m only human.

But I wonder what happened? How could this smiling, congenial, and very kind man we knew end up taking his own life? Mom had seen him two weeks earlier. Chuck had chatted about our children and his less than a week before. All seemed fine and ordinary and mundane. But it’s clear that was not the truth.

I have to confess I’ve thought a lot about suicide—what else would you expect from a depressive person?—so I can understand the urge. But to actually do it? It makes my soul ache. If he could have seen what a hole he would leave, you know, have a “Wonderful Life” moment, would he still have done it? If we who only knew him professionally feel so affected by his death how much more so are those who loved him as a friend or family member? It hurts my heart to imagine their pain.

But I hope we all will imagine that pain. Suicide is increasing. I know of three people who have attempted it this year alone, and I really don’t get out much. So think! You fill a hole in the world that only you fit. Only you can sing off-key in just that odd and quirky way. Only you water the porch plants or teach that ESL class or sleep on the left side of that special person or have the same blue eyes as your daughter. Only you are you. And if you don’t care about you then, please, care about those students or friends or loved ones who will never be the same without you in their lives.

It may sound odd, but I will miss my dentist, and I will never forget how he left us. I pray I will also never forget the value of every life including my own. You do you, and I’ll do me. And let’s all keep on doing or being us for as long as life allows. And, please, SEEK HELP IF YOU NEED IT! People really do care.


P.S. I do not believe this kind, Christian man will be eternally condemned for his lapse of judgment. Jesus died for all our sins. Thank you, Lord!