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A Chunk of Change.

A Chunk of Change.

Luz Brown was a Mexican immigrant who came to the US at 19 after an arranged marriage to her father’s widowed friend (?!?!). They were able to homestead right on the US-Mexico border in 1930. Luz found a job at small sweet shop – Wisteria Candy Cottage – located an hour east of San Diego. Known for 17 different kinds of divinity, 13 flavors of truffles, homemade and hand-dipped chocolate crèmes, clusters and turtles. The candy cottage became her life’s work, literally. By the ‘50’s she became the owner, working 7 days-a-week and often sleeping in the back room. While remote, the shop was on the highway where generations of people visited traveling between San Diego and Arizona.

Fast-forward a lifetime. In her 80’s with declining health, her daughter explained it’s time to move out. But, Luz insisted she had to go collect a “few things”. She began rummaging through all her secret hiding places - the Bible, coffee can, back of drawers, potted plants, even in the mattress. When all was collected, she had $80,000 lying on her bed! “Okay, we can go now”, she said as a matter of fact.

Luz Brown was my wife, Laurel’s grandmother (The shop is still going & in the family). Grandma Brown lived through the depression and banking industry collapse. Married to a husband 30 years older, she was a widow longer than she was a wife. Together, they had 5 kids. She never took a vacation or a day off. Adventure was nonsense. Desire was a luxury not to afford. She learned to survive because she learned to provide. Her work ethic was her salvation.

I think it’s easy to live our whole lives with a ‘scarcity mindset’. That is, we believe the idea that we’re one step away from poverty. In some cases, it might be true. But, resourced or not, we often default to, ‘In ME I Trust’. I think hard work is incredibly noble. Yet the ‘shadow side’ of this strength is a self-sufficiency that keeps us from ever seeing or trusting God’s faithfulness, abundance, care, and provision.

Faith is learning to trust in God. That begins with surrender, which can also feel like failure. And yet – in the kingdom of God – it’s the only way we can experience Life to it’s fullest.



There was an odd game we used to play as kids called, “Mercy”. You might be familiar with this pain-inflicting game. Facing another person, you grab each other’s hands and begin applying pressure by “wrenching” on their hands or trying to bend them back. The goal is to inflict enough pain that the other person finally and reluctantly yells, “MERCY!!” At this point, you have a winner and, literally, a sore loser. Even without this game, it seems hard for most of us to ask for mercy. I wonder what is mercy and why do we struggle to ask for it…       

Mercy is a confession that rightfully says, “I need help.”  We cry out for it when we’re overwhelmed and in over our heads.  We cry for it when the pain is too great to bear alone.  We cry for mercy on behalf of another when it’s too much to bear.

We all value mercy. It’s just asking for it might feel like we lost. Or, it means admitting we can’t do it on our own. Other times, it reveals shortcomings that we have to own. All solid excuses for avoiding a request for mercy but, honestly, no good reason.

Here’s what makes asking so significant: Mercy reveals the Hope we have.

It's the Hope of Something Better. When it comes to salvation, mercy isn’t a loss nor does it mean we quit. It means we surrender to God’s compassion, forgiveness, and guidance. What’s more, the more we surrender to God’s mercy the more we become part of God’s healing and redemption on earth. That feels like hope for one and hope for all.