Civility Project #1: Pay Attention


Working at a school for kids who have special needs, I spend a lot of my time with children who tend to be pitied for their challenges. Admittedly, they learn slowly, they struggle with the most basic concepts and tasks, and they are sometimes completely lost when it comes to socially acceptable behavior. And yet, among them are some of the most loving and truly compassionate souls that I have ever had the privilege of interacting with.

A few months ago, and about a week into my new job, the school held a Valentine’s Day dance for the students. As a one-on-one aide, I went with my student- who was also brand new to the school- and nervously tried to keep track of him as he happily ran around and between the crowd of people. Without any warning, his smile faltered and he ran to the corner of the gym where he flopped on a folded up blue mat with his face in his hands. Almost before I had time to react, he was surrounded by four other kids, all crouching next to him, murmuring “You’re okay,” and “Are you sad? Why are you sad?” and patting him on the back. And they stayed with him until, a minute or two later, he jumped back up and started running around again.

It was humbling and charming to watch these kids who, for all their challenges, were so beautifully sensitive to the emotions of others. I had been paying close attention to this boy because it was my job, but these kids were at the dance to be entertained. There was music blasting and everyone was dancing and playing games, and even in the midst of all the chaos and fun, they were aware, within seconds, that someone was upset. And even though they didn’t know this boy at all, they didn’t think twice about doing anything they could to make him feel better.

Paying attention to the people around me does not come easily to me. I tend to focus on one thing, and unfortunately the one thing is usually how I am feeling or what I want at the moment- a preoccupation which is both rude and unsatisfying.

It takes a deliberate decision for me to choose not to think about myself. It means switching from my natural focus on how someone can help me, validate me, flatter me, inform me, or entertain me, to thinking about how can I help them, encourage them, or respect them. 

So this is where some civility training comes in. First I have to remind myself why I should pay attention, because it’s far too easy to slip back into my own world surrounded by my own concerns if I don’t really believe that people are worth paying attention to.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

When we notice those around us we are acknowledging their worth. We are not giving them their worth- they are already infinitely important as one created and loved by our Creator- but we are reminding both ourselves and them that they are significant. That they have a soul, a story, and a personality that is unique in the universe. As P.M. Forni says in Choosing Civility, with something as simple as a smile and a “Good Morning,” we say to that person, “You exist, and that matters to me.”

Acknowledging someone’s existence may seem like a pretty small action, but just think for a moment about how you feel when someone pointedly ignores you. You feel less significant, don’t you? You feel almost less human when someone looks past you as if you didn’t exist. You haven’t changed, you haven’t really lost value, but it feels as if you have.

So the first part of paying attention is just seeing the people around you as people. Say hello to the cashier, people watch, smile at strangers, say good morning to coworkers.  Notice when people do things that are kind, or clever, or beautiful, or wise. Notice the way people act when they have something they want to talk about, or when they have something they don’t want to talk about. But most of all, just practice noticing. Practice forgetting what you want and just being present for the people you are with. Don’t always default to hiding behind your phone. It may feel awkward at times, but you don’t know who might need a reminder that their existence in this world means something.

Manners and Commonplace Grace

I love etiquette books.  I’m always on the lookout for them when I go to used book sales. The older and more exhaustive they are, the more I like them. I love the way they spell out, in fascinatingly specific detail, how to act in every imaginable situation. I know the correct thing to wear on a yacht outing (it varies depending on the size of the vessel and the season), why you should never end a letter with the phrase “hastily yours,” and the way to arrange a table for an informal afternoon tea.

It can seem very quaint to talk about etiquette today. It’s like the antique tea set that you can look at but never, ever use.

But I would like to make the case that etiquette is something that is very much needed today. As more of our interactions with other people are moving online, it’s easier than ever to cause offense or misunderstand each other.  We are in uncharted territory where we can casually wound people without ever having to see the look on their faces. Or we can cause people to feel excluded or inferior or rejected or just plain dull without having a clue that we are doing it. Having good manners– whether face to face or online– means anticipating how our actions (or lack of action) will affect other people.

It may seem out of place to talk about etiquette on a blog that professes to be about the messiness of grace. Isn’t etiquette all about keeping rules? Isn’t it a bit repressive to worry about being polite all the time? Isn’t that the opposite of being real and honest and expressing yourself?

Well, no. Good manners are often reduced to a list of do’s and don’t, but at the heart they are about training ourselves to act in ways that cause the least harm to the people around us. Being polite and considerate, rather than encouraging falseness should encourage people to be more honest. If someone consistently shows you that they are considering your feelings above their own, wouldn’t you trust them with anything? Good manners are the way we show grace to each other because manners say to the people we are interacting with that they deserve our best behavior without earning it– merely because they are people created in the image of their Creator.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Now I freely admit that some people are naturally more sensitive to the feelings and needs of others, but the idea of etiquette is that all of us can teach ourselves to think about others when we act. Simply by being alive right now you have a tremendous ability to affect other people’s lives– and a responsibility to use that ability carefully and wisely.

It’s no mistake that the word to describe a person who shows grace–gracious– is often used interchangeably with the idea of being well-mannered. Manners are grace on the smallest, most commonplace scale. And that is the place where grace is perhaps the most needed.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be going through a sort of mini series exploring ways that we can all be showing more grace to each other in real, practical (although not necessarily easy) ways. I hope you will join me on my own journey to be a more truly gracious person in the way I listen, imagine, and leave my mark on the people I come in contact with.

peace with everyone3

Word art by my lovely (and talented) sister Sarah. 

Fully Human

 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:14)

I sometimes have to stop and think about what it really means that the Word became flesh- that He was a man, made up of cells and tissue with a heart that pumped blood through His thoroughly human body.

“..he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17) 

And if He was indeed human, that means He got tired and hungry. It means He could feel the constant pressure of His life in the public eye. He wept. He got angry. He felt disappointment when his closest friends misunderstood Him and failed Him. 

And if He was human, then He was tempted.

 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15) 

If He indeed faced the same temptations that we do, I have to believe that means that He was tempted to give up, to be selfish, to walk away from His role as Savior. And yet He did not sin.

Given all the opportunities in the world to choose to please Himself- He never did.

If ever I become proud of my own efforts (which I too often do), I only need a glimpse of Jesus to put me in my place.

No matter how holy we may think ourselves, Christ was more holy. No matter how many right decisions we make, Christ’s choices were better. No matter how pure our motives, Christ’s motives were higher and purer. No matter how much we do for others, how much we give, how much we strive: He was always and perfectly and completely selfless.

And yet, no matter how many times we fail, He loves us. No matter how ugly our thoughts, He knows them and He loves us. No matter how disgustingly self focused we are, He loves us.

And so we look at the life of Christ, not to feel more badly about ourselves, but to put ourselves in perspective.

This is the great contradiction of a life of unearned favor and grace. We are incapable of earning God’s love, and yet, seeing it, we can’t help but want to be more deserving of it. 


Not for the Healthy

Saturday afternoon found me sitting at my kitchen table, drinking too much tea, and trying to figure out how to make the story of Abraham G-rated for a third grade Sunday school class.

You can’t get too far in the Bible without coming across some shockingly human behavior. Some just embarrassing, some catastrophic. Eve took the fruit. Cain murdered his brother. Abraham, even after God spoke to him and promised him all the desires of his heart, still tried to make God’s promise come true in his own time, in his own power (and we get the heartbreaking story of Hagar).

The list goes on. The history of Christianity is filled with humans disobeying, disappointing, and rebelling against their Creator.

And yet, for some reason, we can be so shocked when people in the church disappoint us, when they make bad decisions, when they stumble. Or if they have a past that they are not proud of. That they are still dealing with even now.

But the church isn’t a place where people come only after they have their whole life cleaned up and together. If it were, there would be a lot of empty buildings on Sunday mornings. We are all broken. We’re messed up and selfish and willfully ignorant of the things of God. Those who find themselves drawn to a church shouldn’t be those who have the most to show off, but those who are the most aware of their need for God’s grace.

As Timothy Keller writes,

“I will grant you that, on the whole, churchgoers may be weaker psychologically and morally than non-churchgoers. That should be no more surprising than the fact that people who are sitting in a doctor’s office are on the whole sicker than those who are not there.”

The disease of sin manifests itself differently in each of us. It may look like vanity, or lust, or greed, or anger, or violence, or legalism. It may be quietly eating away at us inside. It may be a dull, aching pain. It may be crippling us. But it’s all the same disease.

When Jesus was asked why he spent his time with “tax collectors and sinners” He replied,

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

It is not seeing that we are sick that we should be afraid of; it is the delusion that we are well that hurts us the most. It is in thinking that we are healthy– that we, ourselves, have vanquished this disease for good– that the worst of our symptoms flare into full blown hatred, pride, and judgmentalism.

But there is good news. There is always good news. This sickness of humanity is why Christ came. He came as the surgeon who could finally cure what generations had been merely suppressing. There is no problem too hard for Him. No relationship too broken. No sin that is beyond the reach of His grace and His sacrifice.

In light of that, perhaps the worst thing that we can do when we see someone who is sick, sick with all the heart ache and bitterness of a life trapped in sin, is to judge them. Judge their sickness, blame them for not pushing through and making themselves well. Instead, we should come alongside them and say, “I’m sick too. But I have a wonderful Doctor.”


Pressing On

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

If there is one thing that I’ve learned about grace is that it requires a great deal of forgetfulness. We can never show true grace if we are constantly bringing to mind the sins of others. So we learn to let go, to surrender. To love when we have no logical reason to.

And yet, when I let myself down, when I fail to do what I know I should- or do what I know I shouldn’t- I find it so hard to forget. I relive and relive, always thinking of how I should have acted differently. Worded that better. Withheld this judgment. I should have cared more. I should have cared less.

I’m thankful for that tendency. It’s because of my almost painful self-consciousness that I’ve learned to be more careful with the way I speak and how I treat people. But I know full well that it’s the kind of thinking that can easily spiral into self-loathing.

Forgetting what lies behind..

Sometimes the hardest thing that we can do is forget. We drag our past mistakes with us, far past the place where we can learn from them anymore. Because forgetting feels like weakness. Because we are just so used to the weight. Because we just don’t know how to open up our hands and let go.

But what good is it to be forgiven if we don’t move forward?

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 ESV)

I press on toward the goal..

I’ve often made the mistake of thinking that we are freed from the burden of the past so that we can enjoy the present. But it’s about far more than that. It’s about pressing on. It’s about moving in the direction of something far greater than anything this world has to offer.

We forget what is behind us because what is in front of us is so incredible that nothing else matters. Not the mistakes I made. Not my weaknesses. Not what everyone else is thinking about me.

Because what is ahead of us is Christ Himself. And He is all that matters, in this life or the one to come. Image

Conversations with Kids

This is a compilation of some of the best quotes from the past year. 


I told a second grader that I was dressed as Taylor Swift for halloween and she said:

“Oh, I thought you were a vampire. Because you have vampire teeth.”

Me: “Um, no, these are my normal teeth..”



I made the mistake of winning a game of tic-tac-toe against a first grader.

Me: Look at that, I won!

1st grader: Okay, let’s play again, but this time we’ll each do 3 turns at a time.

Me: Let me guess; you’ll go first.



Me: That’s a really nice shirt, buddy. I like it.

1st grader: You mean it’s a nice outfit. These are new pants.



1st grader: Everyone was worried because the baby ate an ant.

Me: Was he okay?

1st grader: No! The ant wasn’t okay! He ATE him.

Me: I meant the baby.

1st grader: Oh, yeah, he was fine.



2nd grader: My aunt had a baby that was born with a mustache. They took pictures of him and you could see the mustache in all of them.



Me: Do you need help with your backpack?

1st Grader: Yes! Do it for me!

Me: Yes…

1st Grader: Ma’am!

Me: I was going for “please,” but that works too.



3rd Grader (referring to a black and white picture of a log cabin): This picture looks like it’s from, like, 1987.

Me: Um, I’d say it’s a bit older than that.

3rd Grader: So, 1986?



3rd Grader: I got a cat named Lefteye.

Me: Lefteye?

3rd Grader: Yeah, it’s a girl cat. It’s blind in its right eye, but it can still see with the left one.

Me: So you called it Left Eye. Makes sense.



Kindergartener: Miss Larter, do you have any kids?

Me: No, I don’t have any kids.

Kindergartener: Did you just have a baby?

Me: Uh, no I didn’t.

Kindergartener: I wish I could come over to your house and see your new baby. But I can’t because you don’t have one.



Me: This is the word “too.”

Kindergartener: That’s not to. To is spelled t-o.

Me: This is just a different way to spell it. To can be spelled t-o, t-o-o, or even t-w-o.

Kindergartener: That sounds crazy.

Me: I know, it is a bit crazy.



1st grader: Miss Larter, have you ever seen Shark Boy and Llama Girl?

Me: Llama Girl? I think maybe you mean “Lava Girl?”

1st grader: Oh, yeah, Lava Girl. I always say Llama Girl.

Me: Your version sounds much cooler.



Me: The next vocab word is “emerald.” Have you ever seen The Wizard of Oz?

3rd grader: Yeah, I’ve seen it.

Me: What color is the Emerald City?

3rd grader: Black. No, brown.

3rd grader #2: Wasn’t it yellow?

3rd grader #3: I think it was brown.

Me: Okay, it was green. Remember? All the green buildings? Because emerald means green.

3rd grader: Oh, yeah! It was green! What was the word again?



Me: I’m haven’t decided who to dress up as for “dress up as a historical woman” day tomorrow. Who do you think I should be?

2nd grader: Rihanna.

Me: I’m not sure if she’s exactly historical.

2nd grader: Well, I’m being Beyonce.



Me: So what do you think the moral of Tikki Tikki Tembo is?

1st grader: Don’t play around and be stupid on top of a well!

Me: …Yep. That’s it.



Kindergartener: What’s this big state up here?

Me: That’s actually a country called Canada. Do you know anyone who’s from Canada?

Kindergartener: Oh, yeah, my aunt is from Canada. And she can almost talk like us.

Me: Good for her.



Kindergartener: Miss Larter, your hair is so curly today. Is that your real hair?

Me: Uh, yep, it’s real.

Kindergartener: Because it looks like a weave.

Me: Nope, it’s just my regular hair.

Kindergartener: Oh. So is that why it’s attached to your head?



Me: “..and Snow White was the fairest one of all.” Do you know what that means?

Kindergartener: Yeah. It means she was cuter than the queen.



2nd Grader on hearing country music: Miss Larter, is this music from the farm?



Kindergartener: What’s your name?

Me: I’m Miss Beth.

Kindergartener: You look like the girl that played the letter game with me yesterday.

Me: That was me!

Kindergartener: But you don’t have glasses.

Me: Hold on, I’ll put my glasses back on. Now do you recognize me?

Kindergartener: You are that girl!



Me: So the boy in the story went fishing and caught a bass. Do you know what a bass is?

1st grader: Yeah, people get in it.

Me: What?

1st grader: People get on it.

Me: ….do you mean a bus?

1st grader: Oh, yeah.



Me: In the story it said they had to stay away from the cow’s hoofs. What do you think the cow’s hoofs are?

1st grader: Its eggs!

Me: Do cows lay eggs?

1st grader: Yes. They lay eggs and that’s how you get the milk.

Me: Oh boy.



Me: This word is “hollow.” Do you guys know that word?

1st grader: I do! It’s like when you are walking and you see someone and you say “hollow!”



Me: So you have seven crayons here. If I take 5 of them, how many do you have left?

1st grader: Stop taking all my crayons!



3rd grader: Miss Larter, how old are you?

Me: Well, how about this. I’ll tell you what year I was born and see if you can figure it out. I was born in 1990.

3rd grader: 1990? No. If you were born in the nineteen somethings you would be dead right now. You were NOT born in 1990.



This is a picture that a kindergartener drew. It’s me and God. 

What I Needed to Learn

I’ve been back in the US for a week now. A lot of people have been asking me what the best part about going to Zambia was. That one’s easy: The kids. Their joy, their unselfconscious enjoyment of life, their humor, and their genuine thankfulness  made them instantly endearing. The way they so trustingly opened their lives to me, a complete stranger, made it impossible for me not to love them.

A few people have asked me what I’ve learned by traveling half-way across the world to a developing country that most people know next to nothing about. That, in truth, I knew nothing about a year ago.

That question is harder to answer.

I’ve learned to be more content. Being with kids who could fit all their worldly belongings into a suitcase puts things into perspective. Not being able to go shopping for three months also helped.

I’ve learned that I am capable of much more than I allow myself to believe.

I’ve learned that in so many ways, I’m absurdly wealthy.

I’ve learned that I really can trust God to care for even the inconsequential details. And for the big things too. From “I really would like some non-Lipton tea” to “please don’t let me get abducted in this bus station”- God heard and He answered.

But most of all, what I learned was that I don’t know very much. I’ve never been one to admit my ignorance if I can help it. I like having answers. I like spouting facts and being right. The amount of times I have had to say “I don’t know” in the past few months has been humbling to say the least. I still blush to think of the number of times I was asked a question in Lunda, only to smile and shake my head. When I was unable to even exchange pleasantries with the local people because of my complete incompetence in their language, it didn’t mean so much that I have a bachelors degree in communication.

“Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20)

Traveling so far beyond my comfort zone made me feel very small and very young. And when all my wisdom, all my experiences, all the books I’ve read failed me, I ran to the One I should have gone to first. I suppose that was what I needed to learn.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)

And Me!

There’s an orphanage down the road that I love to visit when I get the chance. The kids speak very little English, and I speak even less Lunda, but we laugh and smile and sing and somehow it doesn’t matter so much.

They are some of the most joyful kids I have ever met, but they are still very much kids. One of their favorite English phrases is “And me!” If they see someone else getting something that they want- attention, a turn at a game, a tomato from the garden- suddenly there’s a crowd of little Zambians chanting “And me! And me!”

For most of them, that is almost the full extent of their English. They may not even exactly know what they are saying, they just know that if they say it to the white people who come to visit, they usually get what they want.

I think that is a little bit how I interact with God. Sometimes I imagine that I have this intellectual, rational faith that helps me make sense of this One who created me. I take great pains to use precise language and try to find just the right words to get my point across.

But in reality I’m just a kid who sees something beautiful and wants it. I read the fantastic promises scattered throughout the Bible and all I can do is say, “And Me, God! Make that true for me!” Or I see someone who is just so full to overflowing with joy and peace that all I can do is clamber to my Heavenly Father and plead, “And me, Lord! I want that kind of life!”

And God, Who is rich in mercy, Who loves me with an everlasting love, listens to my attempts at expressing myself and He understands. He understands the desires I haven’t even discovered yet. He doesn’t wait for me to use just the right words, doesn’t expect me to explain myself, because He already knows. He just wants me to ask. And when I do, He hears me and He gives me more than I can imagine and certainly more than I deserve.

“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” -John 16:24Image

Life Abundant

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2

I used to spend a lot of time praying that God would show me His will for my life. I wanted to know so that I wouldn’t make a mistake and spend my life doing something that wasn’t God’s will. But the prayer was usually accompanied by a half-thought in the back of my mind that wondered if I really wanted to know. What if God’s will for me was something I wouldn’t like? What if it was too hard for me? What if He sent me to Africa or something like that?

What I failed to grasp was that God is not a malicious taskmaster who is just waiting for me to ask for my next assignment so that he can ask me to do something that I hate and am not good at, but rather He is the one who created me with all my strengths and weaknesses. He knows what I am capable of even when I still have doubts. He knows what makes me come alive, what makes me angry, what fills me with wonder. Wouldn’t the God who thought up my passions want me to use them?

I think that there is a sliver of doubt somewhere in all of us that tells us that giving God complete control in our lives would mean giving up something that we like. That somehow it will be less than the ideas that we have for ourselves. But that is a lie.  His will is certainly to challenge and change me, but he never aims to wipe out my personality or give me a boring life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10

His will is that I will live, truly live. Live a life free from guilt. A life not weighed down by the consequences of selfishness and vanity. A life when I will be more fully myself- as I was meant to be.

But that takes a change in me. It’s my will that has to change to fit into the good, pleasing, and perfect will that God has for me.

And that’s hard. It’s easy to be vain and self-focused. It’s easy to seek comfort and nice things. We have been doing that since the first time we cried and found that we could get what we wanted if we kept it up long enough.

It’s hard to surrender, to let go, to let yourself be uncomfortable. But it’s in the discomfort, the moments when we are the most vulnerable and helpless- the moments that the wisdom of the world tells us to avoid- that God works His transformation in us.

The more He transforms us, the more we find that we want to do what God wants for us. The more we learn to care for others over ourselves the more we find joy in looking outside ourselves instead of always looking for ways to better our own existence.

It’s a process. There are still so many days when all that I can think about is how to make myself feel good. I still indulge my own vanity more often than I like to admit. But the satisfaction it brings feels more and more empty. Because I’ve tasted joy and it was better.

So I’m learning to stop praying to know the details of God’s will for me. I know that it is good and perfect, and that should be enough. I’m learning instead to pray that God would make my will more like His. That I will not be satisfied with the good things that the world says will make me happy, but will always seek the best. Image

The Sunrise

A few weeks ago, I decided I should get up in time to see the sunrise at least once while I’m here. So one morning, just before the first light, I stumbled out of bed, put a wrap skirt on over my pajamas, walked a little off campus to the airstrip, and waited. It was a rosy dusk when I arrived. And then, so gradually I almost missed it, the sun started to light up the clouds. First it just touched the edge of one cloud, then it spread, as if the clouds had been dipped in luminescent paint. Soon the whole sky glowed in anticipation of the sun breaking through the horizon. When the sun finally rose over the tree line, enormous and orange, I was filled with an inexplicable joy as well as an overwhelming sense of my own smallness.

Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world, the sun is bursting over the horizon. It’s marvelous, this constantly unfolding drama of a new day.

And yet most days we sleep through it. We get busy. Or if we happen to catch it, we take a quick picture for instagram and carry on with our lives.

We know there will always be another one tomorrow.

So often I’m guilty of doing the same thing with the Gospel. It’s beautiful. It’s so incomprehensible and cosmic that theologians will never unravel it, and yet so simple and human that children understand it.

But it’s so constant. It’s so much a part of my life that sometimes I don’t really think about it. And I let myself get too busy to give more than a passing glance to this Good News that right now, all the world over, is bursting into people’s lives and changing them forever. How can I ever forget to stop and simply wonder at such a great salvation?

But when I do, I can’t help but marvel at the thought of the God who stretched out the Universe setting aside his power and grandeur for a stable and a helpless human body. That this baby would grow to become a man who died on a cross, humiliated by his own creations. That he would rise again to show the world that He was who He claimed to be. And perhaps even more incredibly, that this God, who is perfect in justice, unerring in wisdom, and utterly holy in every way would be filled with a boundless and devoted love for an insignificant speck in the universe like me. An insignificant speck who has been drenched in sin and self-centeredness since birth. But that is what the Gospel is! The demonstration of love from the God of the universe for a race doomed to death by their own willful rebellion.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

My prayer for us is that we won’t ever get used to that. That we will never cease to be completely amazed and humbled by just how little we are and just how infinite God’s love for us is.

“[I pray] that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith

—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the

breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)