By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Sunday school concludes;
    asked to close in prayer.
    The word mercy encompasses my mind.
    “Lord, thank you for mercy
    It’s this fifth word … gives me trouble.
    Voice catches, cracks;
    like ice buckling;
    a fissure, lesion slicing across a needy soul.
    Overwhelmed, overcome ....
     By God’s mercy.
    Tears emerging,
    heads lifting, wondering…
    Strained Amen.
    Quietly awkward.
    Individuals occupied with the irrelevant.
    Feel alone.
    Can’t breathe; excuse myself.
    Head to the dark empty sanctuary.
    Play piano …
    Individual quietly enters,
    pulls me close.
    Tender embrace.
    Tears shared.
    No words.
    Anita loving me,
    Entering into my darkness,
    touching me.
    Sunday’s message unfolding,
    The benediction: the fifth word called mercy.
    For Thy mercy is great above the heavens; and Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds."
    Psalm 108:4

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Would you love me if you knew me,
    In this heart of wicked bent?
    Would you know me if you saw me,
    In my mind ... and where I went?

    Would you tolerate or keep me,
    At a distance far away?
    Would you know me, recognize me,
    Still receive me … anyway?

    Many thoughts I often wonder,
    Many times I would profess;
    There is little that is lovely,
    In this heart of sinfulness.

    Simply nothing, simply needy,
    Simply coming to embrace;
    Simple mercy, simple pardon,
    Simply sweet, amazing grace.
    “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
    But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”
    Psalm 130:3-4


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt


    Challenging, inspiring, knowledgeable.
    Mentor, friend, literal walking commentary.
    Commonality of love for God and Scripture drew us together: two invisible magnets.
    30 years my senior, many years back, played a pivotal role in my spiritual life.
    Hours spent together; dissecting, pouring over Scripture;
    Questioning, wondering, studying, pondering …
    Profoundly and soundly influenced.
    Loved him.
    A spiritual camaraderie unparalleled to other relationships.
    Necessary fact: Jonathan is blind.
    Also … fiercely independent, strong, unswervingly Baptist, a little proud,
    dogmatic in doctrine, extremist.
    Notable achievements:
    Seminary degree, marriage, three children, preacher, evangelist. 
    His handicap; a triumphant virtue.
    An exhilarating extraordinary individual who….
    Inspires, challenges, calls out, stretches me as nothing and no one else.
    Live out your life and not an excuse.
    Jonathan – Honored, admired companion in my life.
    Set apart from others.
    Jonathan’s 67th birthday approaches.
    Begin my search for the perfect birthday gift.
    Find it!
    Well-read, well-written book,
    a personal favorite:
    Respected author: Jerry Bridges.
    Invest hours; read aloud on tape.
    My voice, my time; the perfect gift.
    Happy Birthday, Jonathan!
    The gift;
    extended and received.
    Mutual delight exchanged.
    Special day celebrated.
    The morning after;
    phone call.
    Unfamiliar, concerning voice; 
    Almost unrecognizable … Jonathan … ?
    The perfect gift;
    Not so perfect anymore.
    Book is heresy,
    thoughts unbiblical,
    author evil.
    My faith is questioned.
    Kick in the gut.
    My superior, Jonathan, disqualifying … me.
    Caught off guard:
    Hurt, sad, defensive, mortified.
    Won’t let up.
    I choke up; lump in my throat, cry.
    Pause … quiet.
    He’s come on to strong; knows it.
    Fumbles with words….
    looking for closure.
    Finally speak,
    “Maybe tomorrow,” I say quietly.
    “Let’s not talk until tomorrow.”
    Every tomorrow thereafter:
    The same.
    Can’t let the “book” thing go.
    Heresy, doctrinal issues, theology.
    And ….
    The perfect gift divides hearts.
    Two independent minded individuals now;
    two separate ways.
    Jonathan says the book must go.
    I say the book will not.
    Jonathan deems this an impassable chasm; a great doctrinal divide which paves the way to a relational divide.
    Never the same.
    Friend Jonathan:
    Admirable, challenging, inspiring.
    Facts remain unchanged.
    So does my love for him.
    Priceless, needed spiritual influence.
    Eternally grateful.
    A perfect gift initiated the perfect storm;
    And God’s hand was perfectly part of it.
    In hindsight … a severe dependence on him was being unwisely developed.
    Sometimes this happens.
    Distress experienced initially, internally, temporarily, 
    in that relational "break,"
    paved the way to development of deeper faith,
    defense of the scripture,
    diligence to attend to spiritual matters
    with a healthier reliance upon the Lord and His unchanging word.
    In the end ....
    Jonathan was not the recipient of the perfect gift.
    I was.
    “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
    Proverbs 27:17

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    For things I would have wanted not,
    Yet things I would not change;
    For much that’s come into my life,
    And much that’s rearranged.

    For lessons learned and trials sent,
    For heartache and for pain;
    For mountains hard to navigate,
    For new and straight terrain.

    For holy hands that hold my own,
    And One who knows my way;
    For transformation taking place,
    And mercy every day.

    For pure and undefiled love,
    And nothing left to chance;
    For sifting every detail of my life,
    Through holy hands.

    For things I would have wanted not,
    Yet things I would not change;
    I’m thankful, simply thankful,
    For the “much” that’s rearranged.
    “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed,
     because His compassions fail not.
    They are new every morning;
    Great is Thy faithfulness.”
    Lamentations 3:22-23


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    Friends engaged in conversation.
    Referencing a place called Harney Peak.
    Ears perk up.
    Education: Harney Peak is the highest point east of the Rockies in the United States.
    Situated, strangely, in South Dakota.
    Doable, affordable, achievable.
    Good words in my vocabulary.
    I’m going to climb Harney Peak.
    Desire attaches itself to my mind with an unspeakable anticipation.
    Birthday request:
    Goes without saying … doesn’t it?
    We ascend Harney Peak together, my husband and I, on July 19th.
    Feet move to my desire and its fulfillment.
    Journey begins …
    We climb, explore, exclaim, and experience a new adventure together.
    My words:
    Spectacular, breath-taking, exhilarating, energizing, invigorating.
    Husband’s words:
    Hard work, steep, exhausting, scenic, beautiful.
    Two sets of words; 
    One journey.
    Sort of amazes me.
    Life, the journey, the steps … the individual interpretations.
    Final steps to ascension are “working” steps accompanying laborious breathing.
    And then ....we're there.
    Amazing to step on the plateau of desire and experience its gratifying effects:
    Satisfying, Intense, Immense, Fulfilling.
    The words of a Proverbs pass through me,
    "Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul ...."  Prov.13:19a
    Try to capture in memory what a photo cannot provide.
    Record “peak” moments at the top, rehearse them with the pen:
    - Sense of my smallness overlooking God’s vastness.
    - Feel of wind across a sweaty brow.
    - Smell of nature, earth, rock and tree all mingled together.
    -The immense beautiful landscape afforded to my eye.
    And ....the whole journey upward.
     The climb itself; the steps required to fulfill desire.
    Awestruck ... by the wonder of it all.
    I’m filled with this amazing wonder and the inability to articulate the moment properly.
    Small, inadequate words form:
    God is good.
    Three little words so … elementary, basic, and simple.
    The whisper,
    Nothing else needed; three words are enough.
    Appreciation and adoration mingled together… overflowing in praise.
    God’s benevolent hand on Harney Peak.
    God is good.
    A thankful heart.
    “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty:
    He will save,
    He will rejoice over thee with joy,
    He will rest in his love,
    He will joy over thee with singing.”
    Zephaniah 3:17

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    My heart is led by an able hand,
    How He works with me, I don’t understand.
    I don’t claim to know,
    How the sea divides;
    But it does for me,
    And my God provides.

    Surely I will hope in unfailing love,
    For I do perceive from His hand above;
    That He knows my way,
    And appoints the sea;
    And it will divide,
    For He’s promised me.

    So I rest my hope in His able hand,
    Even though I know, I don’t understand;
    I don’t claim to know,
    How the sea divides;
    But it will for me …
    For my God provides.
    “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea;
    And the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night;
    and made the sea dry land,
    and the waters were divided.”
    Exodus 14:21

  • A 10 BY 14 CUBICLE

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    My life intersected with Miss Sylvia some years ago.
    Her home measured 10 by 14; a little cubicle in the local Nursing home.
    She was in her 80’s when I met her; raised as a single child during the difficult, defining years of the depression; never married, no children.
    Sylvia understood the word alone in a more clear-cut manner than anyone I’d ever met.
    I loved her.
    I’m in a local Walgreen's to pick up a prescription; 
    browsing while I wait for it to be filled.
    I want to shop but my checkbook says no.
    My number is called, pick up my prescription, and ready to head out the door and “Sylvia” lodges herself in my mind.
    “Make a purchase for Sylvia.”
    This little voice.
    I hear the words and think …. Maybe another day.
    No money, no time, no Sylvia.
    Need to get home, get work done and supper on the table.
    But this unrelenting voice gets louder.
    “Make a purchase for Sylvia.”
    I’m irritable but under conviction; head to the lotion and fragrance aisle.
    Goal: Silence the conviction. Get home.
    Grab some lotion and perceive, somehow, it’s not the right gift.
    “Get her a teddy bear.”
    The prompting again.
    Experienced this nudge before. It’s real. 
    It’s the Holy Spirit.
     I make an attempt to quiet Him.
    Head to the children’s aisle and … Bingo!
    The teddy bear has Sylvia’s name on it. It's perfect.
    Purchase it with no funds in my checkbook but I know it’s right.
    Drive home. Thinking about supper.
    Meal is eaten; kids are late for youth group.
    “Bring the teddy bear to Sylvia.”
    The voice, again, that will not be shaken.
    I’m tired of thinking about Sylvia and the “gift” thing.
    Just want it to be done. Obligations to tend to.
    I relent, grab a gift bag, and stick the teddy bear inside.
    Drop the kids off; head into town to the Nursing home.
    My attitude is bad.
    Irritable, tired, if it wasn’t for this desire to “still” this unrelenting voice I’d be at home getting work done.
    Sylvia is sitting on the edge of her bed.
    Wearing a too big, soft pink sweater on her tiny fragile frame.
    She looks so … dejected.
    She’s staring at the floor, peering through crooked and smudged lenses.
    Give her a hug.
    She’s so happy to see me.
    Face lights up; she spots the gift bag.
    “Brought you something, Sylvia, hope you like it.”
    Not prepared for her response.
    Opens the bag, clutches the teddy bear like a mother would an infant, rocks back and forth, and cries.
    And then the words,
    “Who told you? Who told you?”
    I’m confused.
    “Who told me what?” I ask.
    Sylvia speaks, “Today is my birthday; somebody remembered me; always forgotten.”
    Emotions wash over me like a wave.
    Can’t comprehend this thing; question whether Sylvia is confused.
    Go to the front desk. 
    Dates are verified.
    Sylvia’s 85th birthday.
    Sit on the bed beside her but she’s all wrapped up in the teddy bear.
    We read scripture together, pray together.
    She's fixated with the gift.
    My presence isn't needed.
    Time to go.
    Sit outside in the car and cry.
    Cry over my selfishness, business, and … irritability at God’s voice.
    I’m ashamed of myself.
    Ask God to forgive me ….  help me be a better listener; better responder.
    Overwhelmed by God’s grace to me.
    Overwhelmed that He chose to use a hard heart to love a beautiful one.
    Overwhelmed by second chances … and a teddy bear.
    The teddy bear became a permanent attachment to Sylvia from that day forward. 
    Brought him everywhere; even hid him during bath-time.
    At her funeral several months later the coffin was open, teddy bear inside.
    I cried.
    Still do.
    A 10 by 14 cubicle, an elderly friend, a teddy bear and …
    the voice of God.
    If God has put something on your heart … do it.
    Don’t wait, don’t question, don’t reason it out.
    Be blessed.
    “Withhold not Thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord; 
    let Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth
    continually preserve me.”
    Psalm 40:11

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    I’m destined for a different place,
    Perceived by just a few;
    The implication sets my eyes,
    Upon a hidden view.

    There’s not a thing to give unrest,
    And not a thing to fear;
    I simply move from day to day,
    And find it drawing near.
    “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord,
    thoughts of peace, and not of evil,
    to give you an expected end.”
    Jeremiah 29:11


    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    My father worked for MN DOT (Department of Transportation.)
    Road inspector; always looked important, official.
    Drove a bright orange state pick-up, hard hat in one hand, rolled up blueprints in another.
    Blueprints regularly spread out across the kitchen table; lines like spider webs everywhere.
    Strange, unfamiliar vocabulary.
    First exposure to the amazing word .... bituminous.
    Didn’t even care what it meant; heard it once and never forgot it.
    Rolled through my childish mind and off my tongue with extraordinary wonder.
    Told my friends my Dad "did bituminous work."
    Sounded too important to even question. Heads nodding. 
    Very important job.
    We all understood.
    Wasn’t until years later I learned that bituminous is simply a blacktop sealant;
    a hot-tar measuring 4-6 inches thick to cover the gravel underlayment.
    Doesn’t really matter.
    I’m out walking the other day and the word grace gets stuck in my head.
    Rolls through my mind and around on my tongue with extraordinary wonder.
    Feels vaguely familiar.
    All of a sudden I’m six again and recall the word bituminous.
    Doing the same thing with a different word.
    And God is speaking to me.
    Bituminous and Grace ... notable similarities.
    Grace is a big ministry word like bituminous is a big construction word.
    Used in certain environments with regularity;
    not understood by a large population.
    Words again:
    Grace isn’t a concept to be defined; it’s a gift to be received.
    You can’t achieve grace, Darrelyn. It’s a gift.
    No work involved.
    Just soul extended and “need” understood. 
    I try to let the words sink in and ….
    I start to cry.
    Grace is easier to extend to others,
    than to apply to self.
    But right now in my life, God knows, I have this extraordinary need for grace.
    He has to work to redefine it for me; attach it to me.
    I’m not an easy case; keep resisting.
    One truth after another …
    but one sticks out:
    “So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,
    but of God that showeth mercy.”
    Romans 9:16
    Can’t argue with God; He’s always right.
    An internal struggle like a high fever …. and finally I break.
    Soul’s in a sweat.
    And the Pastor’s wife is begging for …. grace.
    Always thought begging was so unbecoming.
    Not today….
    I beg,
    God unleashes…..
    and grace touches me;
    washes me,
    cleanses me.
    Water on a parched soul.
    Rain in a desert.
    The love of Jesus saturating a bottomless dry pit of need and desperation.
    Sinking into a 
    naked, bare, unworthy soul
    and covering me,
    refreshing me,
    filling me.
    The word leaves my tongue; enters into my heart.
    Today I experienced the extraordinary wonder … called grace.
    “And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; 
    for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
    Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
    2 Corinthians 12:9

    By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

    I say farewell to yesterday,
    For yesterday is gone;
    I let her go deliberately,
    And choose to travel on.

    I understand, perhaps, in part,
    What many never see;
    That yesterday’s a passageway,
    To where I need to be.

    For I’ve been preordained a path,
    That’s mine alone to trod;
    My lot has been apportioned by …
    The very hand of God.

    The boundaries are drawn for me,
    And all has been secured;
    When trials seem to overwhelm,
    Of this I am assured:

    That all is single-handedly,
    Determined for my good;
    If God has chosen “it” for me;
    I’ll praise Him as I should.

    Eternally advancing,
    In an orchestrated grace;
    Sufficient for arriving,
    At a predetermined place.

    I welcome in this passageway,
    That’s been ordained for me;
    For God, alone, knows what I need,
    For where I am to be.
    “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go;
    I will guide thee with Mine eye."
    Psalm 32:8

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