Notes from Jan

Let There Be Light

July 18, 2023

That was another one of God’s great ideas: Light! The sun to shine during the day and the moon at night with stars sprinkled about to help us connect the dots back to the One who thought it all up. If we choose to do so. Sir Isaac Newton wrote,” Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”

Probably because we’re working on lighting plans for Christ Church, as part of renovation work, I’m extra aware of the importance of lighting and what it reveals. I find it comforting and challenging that Jesus refers to himself as The Light. And reminds us we’re to be lights.

But how? In the Phillips translation of Philippians 2:15 it says, ” Do all you have to do without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be God’s children, blameless, sincere and wholesome, living in a warped and diseased world, and shining THERE like lights in a dark place.” Where? There, as in here, where we live.

And near me stand the Thacher Island Twin Lights, established in 1771. Monuments to another time, when lighthouses kept many a ship from an unwanted meeting with a rocky shoal.The New England coast’s dotted with lighthouses.

But back to us being lights in dark places. I love Anne Lamott’s quote about how we’re to go about this important work. “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

Which takes me to Mrs. Miller’s Sunday School class where I first sang, ‘This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.” And I held up one small finger to represent my little light. That was 79 years ago and the finger’s now crooked from arthritis. But, I pray, there’s still some light left. Maybe just enough to help someone find their way Home.

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  • Reply Dale July 18, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks Jan. The need for light in our darkening world is, well, clear, but what is not clear is our willingness to shine. And, it is not arrogant if the light we want to reflect is the love of Christ and not our belief in our own righteousness. A great illustration for me was the moon has no light of its own – it only reflects the light of the sun (son). You are light dear sister so shine. Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 18, 2023 at 9:12 pm

      Great, as always, to hear from you Dale. But especially after all you’ve been through. You and Marty have been light to many folks over the years but probably, extra bright, now. Thanks for the reminder about the moon reflecting the sun, as we are to reflect the Son. I’m sure you are “brightening the corner where you are.”

  • Reply Robin Smith July 19, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Your post give me a Jesus boost everyday.
    I met you years ago at a women’s retreat held in Gettysburg PA by Grace Fellowship. I’ve been a fan ever since.
    I so hope your posts will find their way into a book. I still enjoy Welcome Home.
    May peace & love be yours – always.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 19, 2023 at 10:58 am

      Well, dear Robin, you flew into my world on a morning I needed this surprise. Thank you so much for connecting after all those years ago in Pennsylvania. In recent days I’ve taken to asking God to bless, heal, restore and empower the churches, women’s groups, retreats and folks I was privileged to be part of over the years. By faith, I still believe that God’s still producing from the seeds sown in you and in me . Why? Because Jesus knew and knows just what we need to keep trusting and obeying as we keep heading towards Home. Only God knows how much your encouragement meant this day to me. Thank you, dear Robin. May God show up in a particular way you most need this day. Keep your eyes, heart and hands open. And I’ll keep your book idea in mind and heart.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood July 20, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    How I love what you said and quoted that we don’t have to run all over, but stand in our place and shine. You continue to shine so brightly. Sending you a hug and a smile from South Carolina. Toni

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 21, 2023 at 11:46 am

      Thanks, dear Toni. I’m planning to head to North Carolina soon to get my “Carolina fix”…Time with my family, some Carolina BBQ and fresh shrimp. Keep on shining where you’re planted.

  • Reply Alyssa July 20, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    absolutely beautiful reminder, Jan

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 21, 2023 at 11:48 am

      Love hearing from Gordon “kids”. How’s the heat in Utah these days? Thanks for shining when I was going for knee therapy, dear Alyssa.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe July 21, 2023 at 11:20 am

    Jan, thanks for sharing the quote from Sir Isaac – could not agree with him more. Your words bring light to my soul. Years ago when we lived in New England, I read a book about female lighthouse keepers (a rare breed). It was called “Women Who Kept the Lights” – enough inspiration there to create an entire retreat series, which I did. But lighthouses are in short supply here in the mountains of WNC. You are my favorite NE “Lighthouse Keeper”, Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 21, 2023 at 11:53 am

      Well, the mountains of North Carolina, at one time, were famous for moonshine. But we won’t go there. You do live in one of my favorite places, sparking Maggie. So much beauty in “them thar hills.” And wherever you and Mike are the Son does shine. Meanwhile, I’ll trust God to help me encourage lights in New England to keep on poking holes in the darkness.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood July 21, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    My husband was born in Marble, NC and we lived in Murphy, NC for 37 years. In the prohibition days the local sheriff was shot by moonshiners at one of the bridges there. Interesting times indeed. The Mountains of WNC are beautiful!
    Thanks for connecting us Jan. Toni

  • Reply Barbara Van Brunt July 21, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    I can relate to your memory of your Sunday School class and singing “This Little Light of Mine!”
    I always loved that chorus. It seems like it is more important than ever that we keep the light of Christ
    shining in our dark and confused world, and you do that very well, Jan!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 21, 2023 at 9:40 pm

      How fun to hear from you, dear Barbara, in Ohio. You and Fred have been lights in the Salvation Army for many years. Thank you for
      your years of shining wherever you were assigned to be the hands and heart of Jesus.

  • Reply Wendy July 23, 2023 at 11:40 am

    Such an encouraging post, once again dear Jan! I also love Anne Lamott’s quote you shared. Sometimes I do feel I don’t do enough to spread Jesus light – but I do know He uses me where I believe He has placed me – and places me! So I will continue to do my best, with His help, to shine brightly for Him! You are an incredible example of that – so thankful for you in my life. You have more light in that little pinky than most do in their entire being!! <3

  • Reply Jan Carlberg July 23, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    And I’m so grateful you and Steve have been part of my life, as well as your “kids”. Thank you for shining when you were at Gordon and wherever God’s placed you since then. As for my little pinky, it looks like one of those candles that sat out in the sun too long. A bit bent over but still useful in an emergency, hopefully.

    • Reply Wendy July 23, 2023 at 3:35 pm


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