A Fragile Life


As we near home
I’m overcome with sadness
Thinking about how fragile life is
Memories of loved ones
Long since gone
Flood my mind
Time with them will never pass this way again
A chance to say I love you is gone
As soon as death shuts that door
Sickness and pain
Touch each life
Death is a certainty for us all
May I not take you for granted
Each day, tell you I love you
Hold you as if it may be the last time
Susan Wachtel
February 12, 2012
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As Christ So Loved the Church


Last week I listened to several programs from Focus on the Family in which Fred Stoeker talked about his struggle with pornography and how he was able to overcome the addiction by God’s grace.

Not only was he able to overcome the addiction…but God who is able to do abundantly, exceedingly, more than we ask or imagine…changed the course of his family. While Fred’s father was addicted to pornography and passed that sin along to his son…Fred was able to draw a line in the sand and say no further. His son Jason is a man who is committed to purity and stands along with his dad in living and promoting purity.

It was an amazing story. I felt many emotions while listening to the program. I felt deeply grieved and saddened. No more so than to hear about pornography’s hold on Christian males and young people (both men and women). It’s significant and the ramifications are huge for the body of Christ. It renders the men and women that God has called to serve Him ineffective because they are caught in sin.

Any of us who has been caught in sin’s web know how effectively Satan uses it to trap, condemn and bind us. When we are trapped in our own sin…we don’t want to confront people in their sin…because we know that we are hypocrites. We are unwilling to take a stand for the truth because we are deeply embedded in our own sin. We don’t want to serve because we feel unworthy. There is always the nagging doubt…what if someone finds out?

Fred then made a comment about how God instructs husbands to be the leaders of their home and to love their wife as Christ so loves the church.

That thought…of a husband loving his wife as Christ so loved the church…took hold of me. What would that look like…if a husband really loved his wife that way?

What would it look like if Christians loved people as Christ loved the church? How would it affect our actions and how we treat people? What would our words be like?

Obviously, I feel inadequate and lacking when I measure myself against that standard of love. But then I thought…would I want how I love people to be the measure by which Christ loved me?

If Jesus Christ had the measure of love that I have…would He have gone to the cross? Would He have loved me…who denied Him and sinned against Him for far too many years? Would He have forgiven me of my sin?

In my sinful imperfect self…my love is very far from loving others as Christ so loved the church. Yet…as I submit myself to Jesus Christ and the Father’s will for me…if I yield more and more, day by day to the Holy Spirit…if I seek to know God through the study of His word and through prayer…I can grow in sanctification.

As I love God and yield and submit myself…He will help me to grow and learn how to do what’s impossible to do without Him. This side of heaven…I’ll never achieve that perfect love. But that shouldn’t stop me from doing what God has commanded me to do. To have that perfect love…to love as Christ Jesus loved…requires that I deny myself daily.

But oh… to think how marvelous heaven will be…when all the saints around us are able to love with a more perfect love. Love untainted by sin and selfishness.

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Leftover Love


Theirs was a leftover kind of love
Surely it didn’t start out that way
But before they knew it
All they had left at the end of the day
Was bits and pieces
Scraps from their day

The morning comes early
Goodness knows there is never enough sleep
One rises more easily
The other has a slow wake-up call
An extra cup of coffee
Helps them to keep running on empty

Soon they are off and running
Going their separate ways
There may be a text message
To say I love you
A phone call in the middle of the day
Just to check in

Their jobs are most demanding
Of time, energy and attention
Their very best is given each day
To a company of relative strangers
Of course there is shopping and errands
Necessary to run their household so efficiently

When they arrive home
There is much work that still needs to be done
Lawns to be mowed
Bills that must be paid
Cleaning and laundry
And a meal to prepare

They sit down at the table
Hold hands and say a grace
Both are so tired from their day
Conversation may not ensue
Sometimes they wonder
What’s it all for

Activities abound
Responsibilities call
Bible study, worship and prayer
Serving the body of Christ
It’s all good and yet…
With each demand…there’s a little less to give one another

A sense of accomplishment is never felt
For there are walls left unpainted
Boxes still unpacked
A garden that needs tending
Poems left unwritten
Books yet to be read

At the end of the day
Both fall into bed
With nothing left to give
Exhaustion lures one to sleep
The other reads to quiet the mind
Until a welcome sleep finally comes

In the middle of the night
They awaken ever so briefly
Look over at the one
To whom they pledged their life and love
And wonder…how can our marriage survive
On leftover love

Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 14, 2009

While I know our situation is not unique…we are finding it a challenge with the demands and necessities of life to find the time to spend together as husband and wife.


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A Love Story Never Told


Theirs was a love story never to be told
A tale of deliverance
An outrageous work of God

Even some of God’s saints
Might turn away if the truth were known
Reviling their sinful past

Most would never believe it
Some would say it couldn’t be done
They could never imagine what God would do

Redeeming two very broken souls
Taking bits and pieces and knitting them together into one flesh
Accomplishing what man said is impossible

Some do not believe in miracles today
Certain they are a thing of the past
But these two could tell a different story

Proclaiming the wonders of God’s redemption
Testifying of His marvelous grace
Their lives bearing witness to God’s outrageous love

Susan Bunts Wachtel
July 21, 2009

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The Path Not Chosen


On a path
She did not choose
Yet it will willed by God


Slowly
Eventually all
Would be taken from her


Even there
Blessings were found
In the midst of Alzheimer’s


Once unable
To openly express love
She unashamedly offers hugs and affection


Susan Bunts Wachtel
April 2009

While unpacking the remaining boxes from our move I discovered a writing tablet that I used to carry with me on my visits to see my mom. I discovered this poem that I had written just before her death. The exact date is unknown…but it was in late April 2008 shortly before her death.

My mother Gayle Lorenat feared Alzheimer’s because her sister had died from it. She saw its effects and the devastation first hand. I hated it because it took a smart, bright, proper woman…and robbed her of dignity. Yet at the end of her life…after six years of Alzheimer’s I had to admit…there were a few blessings from God in the midst. One of those blessings was that my mother who had never been one to be affectionate or say I love you was finally able to freely express love.


The picture above was taken of my mother, Gayle Lorenat shortly after we moved her into Brighton Gardens. She was more with it at that time and tried to give the appearance of normal. She had to wear a bracelet that would set off an alarm because she liked to “escape”. I called it her “LoJack” bracelet. She would walk away and have no idea how to get back. She was unable to communicate coherently.

Is It Love?



They say its love

When I look into your eyes

And see stars


They say its love

When I kiss your lips

And hear fireworks all around us


They say its love

When we are making love

All night long


But I ask

Wouldn’t any fool stick around

When it’s easy, magical and fun


What about the times

When I look into your eyes

And see your beautiful blue eyes looking back


What about the times

When all our busy schedules afford

Is a quick kiss as we head out the door


What about the times

After an exhausting day…we come home spent

And we are most grateful to fall into each others arms


Is it love

That says “I love you”

When everyday is like a fairy tale


Or is it true love

When I come home weary from fighting the battle

And find…the one will stand with me


Or is it true love

When I’m swimming against the tide…about to drown

And out reaches a hand…to hold me up


Or is it true love

That says…I’m committed

And would marry you all over again…no matter what


Susan Bunts Wachtel

November 1, 2008


To Chris…the one I love. Thank you for sticking around…fighting the good fight…holding me up in prayer before the throne room of God. Thanks for being willing to pursue a mature love that sticks with it in good times and bad…who doesn’t get weak-kneed and afraid…when the challenges don’t stop and the tough times outweigh the good.

Scars & Wounds

Scars deeply embedded
Wounds left over from childhood
Seemingly dead and buried
Make themselves known
Affecting relationships even today

What I hear
Is much different than what was said
Unable to differentiate
What was intended
Verses what was felt

At any hint
Of irritation, anger or disappointment
I find my defenses mount up
Emotions shut down
Now I don’t have to feel or risk being hurt

Trying and stay ahead
Anticipate each move
Feeling justified
In my inability to trust
Will I ever feel loved?

Will I turn to Him
The One who binds my wounds
The Healer of my soul
Only He can set this prisoner free
Will I allow Him to show me how to trust again

Will I let the One
Who taught the angels to sing
To fill my heart and mouth
With songs of praise
How long until I sing the song of freedom

By Susan Bunts
July 23, 2008