Five Minute Friday: beauty


He’s up before the sun, a snuggly body in footie pajamas beside me on the couch, and somehow I’m singing him a personalized version of “You Are my Sunshine,” ending with the sentiment that he’ll be mine always. And he echoes “always” at the end, and insists that I sing it “‘gin! ‘gin!” So I do. And he leans his head over onto the 40-weeks bump that is his baby brother, and looks up into my face while I sing to him that he is mine, and I don’t know how it could get any sweeter than this.

But soon — really and truly any day now — I’ll be singing over two of them, and how will my heart hold the love then? It won’t, will it? Properly proportioned love is never contained in hearts; it spills out perpetually, in smiles, and service, and gifts, and snuggles, and tears, and songs.

And this joy of mine? Only a shadow, a dim reflection, a taste of the love of God. We have joy in belonging to Him, as my boy takes joy in being mine, but the joy of the God to whom we belong is far greater than ours.

This is the God “who will rejoice over you with gladness; [the God who] will quiet you by his love; [who] will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

The “always” of which I sing to my son is bound by time, by my three-score and ten year allotment, but not so the love of God. When scripture says that His “steadfast love endures forever” (2 Chron. 7:3), it means forever. Beyond what we can count or measure, even theoretically, beyond and before time itself is the love of God.

He sings over us now; one day — soon, by any measure, when set against eternity — we’ll hear His song of exultation. That day will be a good day, indeed.


Linking up with the Five Minute Friday crew to write on today’s prompt: beauty. The button above will take you to the link-up where you can read all about it and see what others have written.

©2018 by Stacy Crouch

Babel: on obedience


Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen. 11:1-4)

Within memory of some of those still alive, God had destroyed the entire earth with a flood, saving only one faithful man and his family, because “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). After an entire calendar year shut up in a boat full of animals while every other living creature on earth was destroyed, Noah and his family emerged onto dry land and received the Lord’s blessing: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1).

Fill. The. Earth.

So Noah’s children had children who had children who had children, who migrated to Shinar and settled there and built a city and a tower, and I’ve always understood their sin to be in the effort to touch heaven with their tower. But why were they stretching to such great heights? Ah. “Lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

God said, “Fill the earth.”

People said, “We don’t want to.”

(Because they were comfortable and with their favorite people had all the needful supplies and were doing good work there?)

You can see it in God’s answer to this problem: “there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:9).

We’re reading Genesis together as a family, and I wasn’t expecting the Lord to deal out conviction through the story of the glory-hungry builders of Babel. (I, after all, have no ego-driven construction dreams.) But He convicted me anyway.

Because that command to Noah to fill the earth? Well, the earth is physically full, yes, but Christ transposed it to the spiritual realm for us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . .” (Matt. 28:19). Fill the earth with Christ-followers.

And my answer, more often than not, is “I don’t want to.”

(Because I’m comfortable and with my favorite people and have all needful supplies and can do good work here?)

And it isn’t necessarily that He’s called me to go anywhere but where I am, but is my heart ready to obey if He does issue that call? And am I here to make disciples, whether here is my comfy house in America or somewhere less comfortable on the other side of the world?

To see myself in the story of Babel was never my ambition. But I’ve seen myself there now. And I pray for grace to leave off my futile tower-building on earth and seek “the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:16).


©2018 by Stacy Crouch



“Remember your mercy, O LORD,
and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old,” David prays.


“Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness” (Psalm 25:6, 7).

His steadfast love towards me exists before I existed.

His mercy long predates my sin.

He is good before the universe began and past its end, to eternity immeasurable.

Before the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the deep, when the earth was formless and void and swathed in darkness, before God said, “Let there be light” and there was light; before Adam and Eve walked perfect in the garden, before they ate of the fruit and branded humanity with sin, God knew the breadth of our betrayal, knew the weight of our warfare against Him, and in that foreknowledge, He planned mercy through the blood of Jesus.

When we ask Him for mercy, when we call upon His steadfast love, we’re not asking Him to change, to give us a new thing. We ask Him to be what He is, what He is before we came to be. Have we any reason to doubt Him?

©2018 by Stacy Crouch






Five Minute Friday: simplify


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Simplify — the word rings with New Year’s resolutions and comes with all the lovely Pinterest images of minimalist, white rooms. I did — sort of — organize a closet last week, and as a toddler mom who expects a new baby in six weeks or so, simplification sounds good. But I didn’t make any resolutions about it.

Last night we finished a long, oft-interrupted family trek through the gospel of John. And as I think of “simplify” and of minimalist blogs and of my untidy closets, I think, too, of the last of Christ’s words that John recorded: Peter asks Jesus, But what about John? and Jesus responds, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

It’s that simple sometimes, isn’t it? We want to complicate life with the questions about all the other people, want to know the whys and wherefores that aren’t even part of our story. But Christ’s call isn’t about all those things. Christ’s call? “You follow me!”

It’s a simple call, yet weighted with the knowledge of where and how He might lead — as, for Peter, to a literal cross. Yet if we follow, we know He goes ahead, calling us nowhere He has not first walked. He endured the cross for the joy set before Him, and, leading us, He sets before us that same joy.

Let’s follow.


Linking up with the Five Minute Friday crew for this week’s prompt, simplify. Click the button above to visit the FMF site and read more about it.

©2018 by Stacy Crouch


Five Minute Friday: different


3:03 in the afternoon, and at last the sun has managed to penetrate our gray cloud ceiling and come slanting in the window to cast my shadow against the red couch. I’ve been waiting for it all day.

It’s amazing how much warmer 40 degrees Fahrenheit feels when the sun is shining, and how little motivation I feel to be outside when it isn’t shining.

It’s there either way. I saw it on my morning walk — a bright spot behind the clouds — and I knew that if only it could break through, the morning would have been different.

When the Psalmist prays that God will “cause his face to shine upon us,” this is the image we need, isn’t it? Not that a day passes without his face illumining our world, but sometimes, though we know he’s there, all is gray in our world under the clouds.

We want to see and feel, not just intellectually know, that he is with us. And he came to us, a baby named Emmanuel, to make that point evident.

It’s the light of that truth which lends glory to gray days this Christmas season.


Linking up with the Five Minute Friday crew on the last Five Minute Friday of 2017 — different. The button above takes you to the FMF page.

©2017 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday (on Monday): only


The Christmas tree in the corner, surprise snow on Friday, a schedule quickly filling with festivities of all varieties . . . . somehow, weaving in and out through all the carols of glory this past week, I’ve had a crucifixion hymn singing.

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, see him dying on the tree.
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected; yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
‘Tis the long expected prophet, David’s Son yet David’s Lord.
By His Son God now has spoken, ’tis the 
true and faithful Word.

I sing it, laying my toddler down for his nap, and gathering gifts on the table for wrapping.

This is the thing which makes the Christmas story one of such breathtaking splendor: not only that God clothed Himself in a frail human body and cried with the helpless cries of a human baby, but that He did it for the purpose of hanging on the tree for us.

Ye who think of sin but lightly, nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.

Mark the sacrifice appointed, see who bears the awful load!
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s anointed, Son of man, and Son of God.*

The dark backdrop for the glory of the Christmas night is the darkness of our sin. Only keeping this in view can we rightly grasp the wild joy of our Christmas celebrations:

Behold in the manger the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.


Today I link with the Five Minute Friday community to write (loosely) on last week’s prompt, only. The button above will take you to the Five Minute Friday site and more posts about only.

*hymn by Thomas Kelly

©2017 by Stacy Crouch


Five Minute Friday: silence


6 am. The baby sleeps. So there’s just the sound of the noise machine through the monitor, the ticking clock, a squeak of a bird somewhere outside.

I used to live in these long spaces of quiet — before marriage, before babies — just me and my thoughts, and I thought lots of thoughts and had time to write them down. The noise level has gone up considerably; the writing output significantly decreased. Yet I’m convinced that this season is a good season; I would not go back.

And there are different kinds of silence. There’s the silence of there not being any physical noise, and there’s a different silence of a heart at rest, even in the midst of noises.

The silence of an orange peeled on the front steps on a 50 degree morning while an eager toddler makes anticipatory sounds at my side. The silence of leaves raked into piles and the toddler’s laughter riding a tarp full of leaves into the back yard. The silence of loving the little boy whose voice comes through the monitor as soon as I type that he’s asleep.

It means silencing the complaining voices, the tired voices, the wistful-for-long-quiet-hours voices that so easily grow in my mind, and leaving the voice that says, “Thank You.”

And sometimes that thankfulness is a whisper through tears, and sometimes it’s a rollicking song and dance of joy. But both go up to the Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift comes down, and by these small things I remember this large thing: He is good.


Linking up with the Five Minute Friday crew today, on today’s prompt, silence. The button above will take you to the link-up.

©2017 by Stacy Crouch