The Invitations of Christmas, Come, Return

Re-calibrating my heart to God’s invitations.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins be like scarlet,
they shall be white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

Long before I knew anything about the Old Testament prophets like Hosea and Isaiah quoted here, and long before I was aware of an invitation coming my way, God was initiating toward me.

I’d always believed in God. Church and youth group were part of my upbringing. I’m so thankful for these traditions started in my family. My high school guidance counselor recommended Hope College because of its association with the church our family attended at the time.

But during my years at Hope, my heart was opened to another reality. Church was supposed to be more than a Sunday morning activity, more than a Christian tradition. It was not something I did just because I was Protestant.

“I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know GOD, not go to more prayer meetings.” Hosea 6:6, The Message

The ah-ha came during the fall of my sophomore year at Hope. That night our college-aged youth group hosted a singing group from another campus. Their message in song and story connected with me. They spoke of a personal relationship with God. Being a Christian was more than their religion, it was a relationship with God, it was their identity. They shared about the gift of Jesus who was born a human baby to pay the penalty for my misdeeds, to be the sacrifice for me. Jesus was a gift from God offered to me, a gift to be received.

The ah-ha demanded a response and so with my good friend, Shirley and a gal from the other campus, I prayed. I thanked Jesus for taking the penalty for my sin. And I told him I wanted to receive him, that gift of relationship, of friendship.

“‘Come, Sit down. Let’s argue this out.’ This is GOD’s Message: ‘If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.'” Isaiah 1:18, The Message

Two significant things happened that night:

1. I returned to my dorm a different person. Not only did I believe in God, I had now received the gift of becoming part of his family.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12, italics mine.

This verse has been a favorite since then. It’s recorded in my prayer journal and I often allow it to remind me of my true identity.

2. Shirley introduced me to Bible study as a way to listen to God, to develop my new found relationship. My Bible was no-longer just a history book to be read.

Over the years as my new-found relationship with Jesus has grown, other Bible verses have become special to me like I John 3:1 which speaks of both the depth of God’s love for me and also the truth of my identity.

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it–we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” I John 3:1, The Message

And those Old Testament prophets … there is still a lot I don’t understand. But I do see their contribution to my story. Their words often express my heart. I’m thankful that because of Jesus, my sins are as “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). And as Hosea communicates, the Lord continues to come to me, to woo me to return, so I respond and come.

Like the invitation to come and have breakfast with Jesus this invitation to return is always out there for me, for us.

Gifts are only gifts when they are received. This Christmas what will it look like for you to receive the gifts offered to you by God?

If you want a fellow-sojourner to talk more about this or to pray with you like Shirley did with me, come … my invitation is for you, my door is open, the tea kettle is on.

If you missed the other invitations I’ve shared on Echoes of Grace, I invite you to visit them…

November 30, Come, all who Labor and are Heavy Laden.
December 6, Come and Have Breakfast.

Next week, December 21, Come and Worship.

 

 

 

The Invitations of Christmas, Come and Have Breakfast

Advent, an opportunity to re-calibrate my heart to God’s invitations.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.'”
John 21:12 (italics mine)

John 21:4-13 records the third time Jesus appears to his disciples after the resurrection. The disciples had returned to what they knew, fishing. But this was a frustrating night–no fish.

Jesus knew. And he recognized the perfect opportunity to love his disciples well.

“At dawn …” (verse 4). Jesus waited for the right time, the time that he knew the disciples would be frustrated. These professional fishermen had caught nothing all night. I imagine they were feeling discouraged.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish?'” (verse 5). Jesus initiated toward his disciples, his followers, his children.

“He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat,'” (verse 6). Jesus guides them to the success. He knew what was important to them.

“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.” (verse 9). Jesus was ready; he served them. He knew they would be hungry.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.'” (verse 10). Jesus honors them. He acknowledges their hard work, their obedience, and their ability to contribute to the breakfast.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.'” (verse 12). Jesus invites them. Oh how good those words must have sounded to the disciples. Perhaps they heard …

Come, I’m ready for you; breakfast is prepared.
Come, be nourished.
Come, be with me.
Come, so I can be with you.
Come, enjoy.
Come, relax.
Come and rest. Your work for the night is done.

Advent, Christmas is coming. In this season of the good news of great joy, I too can identify with the disciples. Like them, I am a child of God. And like them, my normals can frustrate. I’m not making the progress I want to make. And in the midst, Jesus is here and Jesus offers me the same invitation,

Sue, come, I’m ready.
Sue, come be nourished.
Sue, come be with with me.
Sue, come, I want to be with you.
Sue, come enjoy.
Sue, come relax.
Sue, come and rest.

My heart is to respond. Yes, Jesus, thank you for your invitation. I’m coming. I want to have breakfast with you. I feel so cared for, overwhelmed, thankful, wanted, loved, humbled, and so much more.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
Thornton Wilder

 

 

My Ark, Trust and Rest

I was weary … weariness stemming from the busyness of a fall that was physically and emotionally taxing. In my spiritual life an opportunity more than ever to apply what I’ve been learning about rest and resiliency this year. It felt like diving into deep water.

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (italics mine)

This verse has been my life-line this fall. As I’m learning to trust its truth, I’m experiencing rest because

Trust and Rest are first cousins!

As building my ark (a safe haven for rest) continues, I’m learning that that trusting God is the basis for experiencing rest.

Noah demonstrated that for me in the words recorded in Genesis.  Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9); Noah found favor with God (Genesis 6:8); Noah listened to God and obeyed (trusted) (Genesis 6:22, 7:5); Noah experienced God’s faithfulness (Genesis 8:1); Noah worshiped God (Genesis 8:20). Noah lived out his name, the one who brings relief or rest (Genesis 5:29).

I want to be like Noah, a woman who walks with God, listens to God, obeys (trusts) God, worships God, and experiences God’s faithfulness and rest.

Trusting the truth of Matthew 11:28-30 has been the diving board for me, the key to living as Noah and experiencing rest.

Here are a few of the lessons that are leading me to rest.

  1. Rest is an invitation. Jesus invites me to come to him in the midst of my weariness. He asks me to learn from him … not learn of him or about him. Jesus is able to rest in the midst of the storms of his life. When I learn from that, I can respond to (trust) that his invitation for rest is for me too in the midst of the storms of my life.
  2. Circumstances don’t invite me to rest; circumstances invite me to trust which leads to rest. When life was especially hard this fall, I began to pray, God, your yoke doesn’t seem easy or light at the moment, it seems HEAVY. But I want to trust that what you are allowing as I walk with you is light. So will you take the heavy and leave me with the easy and light. Amen.
  3. Rest is a choice. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silicon valley strategist says, “You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.” His words seem true to me. In the midst of our travels this fall there were times when I had the opportunity to trust that rest was important and to opt out of certain good activities and choose rest. One afternoon in North Carolina, I slipped out from the conference to wander through the shops of Black Mountain. For me that was so restful. (And I even purchased a couple of Christmas gifts.)
  4. Trusting Ephesians 2:4-6, I have been affirmed in my spiritual practice of sitting and staring. “But God … made us alive … raised us up … seated us with him …” It is very restful for me to start each morning with a cup of coffee, sitting in my favorite comfy chair, and enjoy God’s creation outside my windows. The quietness of this time leads me naturally to listen for his voice. It is good. After several days of sitting on airplanes, sitting in meetings, or even sitting with friends enjoying a good meal, sitting with God leads to rest.
  5. To rest is to practice humility. I won’t respond in trust to Jesus’ invitation or Noah’s example, unless humility leads the way. I was challenged with Hannah Anderson’s words in her book, Humble Roots, “As long as we refuse to accept our pride is the source of our unrest, we will continue to wither on the vine.” And, “When Jesus calls us to take his yoke, when he invites us to find rest through submission … He is calling us to safety.” (chapter 2)

Rest flows from Trust; they are first cousins.

Thinking through these questions from Matthew 11:28-30 has led me to trust and to rest this fall.

Where are my places of heavy laden-ness today?
Do I want rest in those places?
What would it look like to respond to Jesus’ invitation to come to him today?
How can I learn from him today?
Do I believe that he is gentle and humble? How does that relate to me?
Am I willing to give him those things that are heavy and trust him with his light burden for me.

” … in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15

Building my ark of rest has been a several year journey and I suspect God will continue to teach me.  You can follow this journey by reading through these past blogs:
http://suesgracechoes.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-message-of-picnics.html

http://suetell.com/reflecting-on-the-gallop/

My Ark

My Ark, An Update

You might also enjoy this post from my friend Emily. www.emilypfreeman.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Thankful for Beauty

One of my favorites from this fall. North Carolina

This Thanksgiving I’m overwhelmed by the gift God has allowed me to enjoy this fall in his many varied pictures of beauty. From summertime in New Jersey, summer-like in Hawaii, fall in South Carolina and North Carolina, winter in Austria, summer-like again in Florida, and with a few snippets of Colorado sprinkled in.

I especially love the changing leaves of autumn. And our week in North Carolina was a special gift to me.

One morning as I sat enjoying God’s creativity, these words came and I offer them as a Thanksgiving gift for you. At the end, I’ve created a photo journey to share in pictures some of the amazing sights I enjoyed this fall.

The Gift of North Carolina in Fall

The lodge nestled among the hardwoods
Surrounded by gold, rust, orange, and green,
A feast for my eyes.
As the sun slowly slides across the sky,
Or on the days of clouds,
Both picture God’s beauty.

I love listening to the leaf showers
Creating a carpet below.
A feast for my ears.
As the winds gently ruffle
And as the leaves meet in air,
I become statue-esque … but alive
Quietly aware.

I hold my hands out,
Palms turned to the sky;
An anticipating child …
Will the leaves come close by?
The feast of touch.

I shuffle my feet along the carpeted ground,
The feel, the crisp, the aroma of fall all around.
A feast of fall smells.

The clean clear air awakens and lifts,
I breathe deeply in to enjoy this fall gift.
I pause and I linger inhaling again,
Closing my eyes to sharpen my ken.

This feast of God’s goodness,
Just a taste in the beauty of autumn,
in the beauty of seasons,
in God’s abundant creativity,
and offering of love.

NJ in September

Mom’s home in New Jersey

New Jersey in September

Sunrise at Oahu

Cultivated beauty in Hawaii

Hawaii

Loved the aqua water in Hawaii

Hawaii

We could see this lighthouse from Bellows AFS, Hawaii.

 

Greenville, South Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina

A favorite North Carolina hike

North Carolina

 

Duke U Chapel

Colorado in October

The Alps from the , November

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna

The village of Perchtoldsdorf

Vienna

Vienna

Cafe Landtmann, Vienna

Vienna

 

Cultivated Beauty, Florida

Florida

Florida

 

Christmas is Coming

Blessings to you all this Thanksgiving. I am so very thankful for each of you.  Sue

Words From The Wise, Our Stories

“The purpose of story is to generate a relationship–to promote trust and intimacy, to gain acceptance, and to have an emotionally healing experience. We can argue statistics, we can debate theories, and we can challenge philosophies, but there is something about a person’s raw, honest story that connects with us on a deeper level and get us out of our head into our heart … sharing our stories is really sharing our faith in what God is doing in our lives. Our stories connect with others at the heart level,”
Framing Faith, Matt Knisely, pages 29, 30.

“Our stories connect with others at the heart level,” YES! This has truly been my experience.

When I share about my struggles with comparison, I see the heads of my friends bob up and down. When I share about living with a husband who went through a very dark time of depression, my friends open up to me and want to know more.

As I’ve learned vulnerability — not just transparency, I’ve learned to allow myself to be human. I experience God opening the two-way doors of encouragement. Others breathe more easily and are set free to share their stories, and I am able to receive their love in a newer, deeper, more authentic way. When we share our stories with one another, something special happens — a very special connection.

Recently I’ve heard that when someone is living with deep grief, they need to share their story 200 times. And in the sharing, there is healing. We need each other.

Do you have a friend you feel free to be real with?

 

I’d be honored to listen.

 

 

“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17

 

 

Words From The Wise, Please or Trust

“There’s an incredible phrase in Hebrews: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (italics mine) This statement shows us the path we must take. Only by trusting can we truly please God! If our primary motive is pleasing God, we’ll never please Him enough and we’ll never learn trust. Pleasing God is a good desire. It just can’t be our primary motivation or it will imprison our hearts … When our primary motive becomes trusting God, however, we suddenly discover there is nothing in the world that pleases Him more! Until you trust God, nothing you do will please God.” The Cure, Lynch, McNicol, Thrall

The verb form of the noun ‘faith’ is trust.

I bet if you’re a parent or grandparent you’ve experienced this. I know I have. And sometimes I’ve been surprised that my grandchild has trusted me so explicitly.

But I am a child too, a child of God. And I think this pictures what God desires from me, complete trust. A willingness to bring all of me and cast myself into his arms.

What has God asked you to trust him with these days?

The book I quoted above, The Cure, is part of the High Trust Leader course that I’m faculty for. What I love about this course is it helps me practice these principles, not just agree to them. Let me know if you’d like to learn about it. I like to call this course, High Trust Living.

Words From The Wise, Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God …”
Psalm 46:10

“Psalm 46:10 tells us there is a kind of knowing that comes in silence and not in words–but first we must be still. The Hebrew word translated ‘Be still’ literally means ‘Let go of your grip.'” Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Ruth Haley Barton.

When I learned this meaning last summer, I expanded it: let go of your grip, keep your hands at your sides, and put duct tape across your your mouth.

“Let the words of my mouth … be acceptable in your sight, O Lord …” Psalm 19:14. This is one of the verses I pray over regularly. As a child I learned, sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you. Hmmm, not so. Words have the power to be misunderstood and very hurtful.  This morning as I sat outside under the beautiful red, gold, and orange canopy of the NC hard woods, I heard the Lord whisper, Sue, you are not the answer to the issues swirling around you. My words may offer love, or my words might hurt.  Like you, my heart is for my words to bring love and hope.

And God whispers, keep that duct tape in place. Be still. Many days it is a re-surrender, a new trust.

Mark Buchanan says it this way, “Most of the things we need in order to be most full alive never come from busyness. They grow out of rest.”

I believe rest and trust are first cousins. More coming on this later.

Words From The Wise & The Winners

Winners: Thank you to so many of you who commented on recent Echoes of Grace posts. You, my friends, are a great encouragement.

Four books are being given to Linda Bonorden, New York; Deb Weaver, Wisconsin; Mary Zehner, Illinois; and April Otero, Florida. May you be blessed as I have been from these reads.

Others who commented are receiving a bookmark with an original poem I penned a few years ago. I hope its message ministers to you as much as it did to me in the writing of it.

(I still need a few of you to send your addresses to me, sue.tell@navigators.org.)

On another note, Bill and I have an unusally full ministry travel schedule between now and Thanksgiving. During this time Echoes of Grace will be encouraging you with excepts from some of the books I’ve recently read. I’m titling this series, Words From The Wise. My prayer is that you be challenged and blessed from these as I have been.

From Whispers of Rest, by Bonnie Gray …

Moving the Water

Carol’s neighbor lives four miles away. One night, he knocked on her door. He said water would be arriving in twenty-four hours to water her land.

He told her he would move the water tonight. It’s an unusual phrase. It turns out that Carol’s neighbor, who lives upstream from her, is the gatekeeper for the reservoir holding all the water that supplies what farmers and ranchers need down-stream. The gatekeeper watches the waters swell and he reads the weather in the clouds.

“Moving the water” meant he would open a series of gates and release the water to run where it was most needed to replenish the land. If the land wasn’t getting enough water he would rearrange the gates to redistribute its flow.

“Changes in your life,” Carol told me, “are how God opens gates in our hearts–to release the things that need to be let go in order to bring new life to areas we can’t see but God sees.”

God changes the direction in our lives, not to harm us but to bring new life.”  (pages 128, 129)

Hmmmm, that was a good reminder for me. What about you?

“For I know the plans I have for you … not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Ignoring the Shame, Experiencing Joy

Important reminders at the bottom.

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him,
he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Hebrews 12:2, NLT (italics mine)

The theme of shame begins in the story of creation. Genesis 2:25 translated in the New Living Translation (NLT), “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” Adam and Eve, totally exposed and naked felt no shame. Before the fall, they were completely at peace with who God created them to be. Living in the joy of their creation together.

But then sin entered the world and shame became a thing. I wrote about this before. And Adam and Eve knew shame, realized their vulnerability and tried to cover it up. With fig leaves … you know the story.

Shame is different from guilt. Guilt is a gift God has given us to make right what we have done wrong. Shame tells me, I am something wrong. It whispers lies to me. In my words, shame told me, I was not good enough. I think Eve started believing the same thing.  For years I believed it and like Eve tried to cover it up. My fig leaves did not work either.

I was not good enough to receive an invitation to the special Girl Scout Camp.
I was not good enough to earn a spot on our high school color guard squad.
I was not good enough to pledge a sorority my freshman year of college.
I was not good enough to be asked to speak at the conference.
And on and on the list goes. My shame deepened in direct relationship to lost opportunities.

Do you see what I was doing? I was basing my good-enough-ness on activities; activities that I believed would communicate to you that I was good enough. And because those activities didn’t materialize, I felt rejected and it reinforced my shame.

 

Jesus also felt the attack of shame. Hebrews 12:2 (above) records that for us. What thoughts do you think the enemy might have been whispering to him as he hung on the cross? Jesus taught about life, and now he was dying.
John 1:4 “In him was life …”
John 6:35 “… I am the bread of life:”
John 17:3 “And this is eternal life … Jesus whom you have sent.”

But Jesus disregarded those shame filled attacks. Other versions translate that word in Hebrews 12:2 as despised the shame, or ignored the shame, or scorned the shame. Jesus did not listen to the shame.

For years I did not know how to ignore the shame that engulfed my life. Until God orchestrated for me to benefit from the wisdom of a Biblical counselor. And maybe for the first time I really heard how much God loved me. Instead of measuring God’s love for me based on activities, I learned that God loved me no matter what! I began to relax into being me.

“God not only loves you very much,
but also has put his hand on you for something special …”
from I Thessalonians 1, The Message

And something else happened — JOY! Like the angel’s announcement to the shepherds, “… I bring you good news of great joy …” Luke 2:10. And as the good news of the gospel permeated me, I too found great joy.

I’m learning the truth of Psalm 16:11, “… in your presence there is fullness of joy;” Quiet time is no longer a task I check off my daily do list. It is enjoying the presence of God.
And
I’m learning new joy in friendships. John understood this, “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” II John 1:12. But like in the reality of John’s day, sometimes paper and ink … or a computer in my day … are a good second best.
And
I’m learning new joy in affirming who God created you to be. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works …” Ephesians 2:10 (bolding mine). There is great joy in noticing how God created you and sharing my joy with you.

“For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”
Psalm 92:4

  1. When you reply at the bottom of the blog, I respond to your words there too. So do return in a few days to read my response.  I greatly appreciate your comments and questions. Not only do they help me clarify my thoughts, but your words minister to the other readers as well. Many have mentioned this to me.
  2. I promised you a snail mailed gift if you responded to the recent posts. Please send your address to me at sue.tell@navigators.org.

 

 

 

 

Bill’s Depression and Me, part 2

(If you haven’t read part 1, scroll down and read it first.)

The Tipping Point — The Uphill Journey

Bill, one of the Navigator V.P.s, attended a meeting of the National Leadership Team the first day after New Years. That evening he and I went out to dinner with Bill Thrall, a senior consultant and counselor for The Navs. He listened attentively to our story.

Thrall invited us to spend a weekend with he and his wife in Phoenix when Bill felt he was ready to travel. We flew down in February.

What about me?

I was cautiously optimistic. Perhaps we were on the right path. The medications Bill was taking were helping, but we knew that the solution was more than meds and calendar control. God used Bill Thrall’s discernment to take us to the next step.

The Counseling Suggestion

Thrall suggested we attend a counseling intensive. He knew a counselor in Denver who he thought could help us. My Bill was eager for anything that would help, not wanting to live through the dark days of the past months again.

What about me?

I was distracted and scared. I too had issues. Was I going to come into the light and stop trying to protect myself?

Those issues had come to a head two years previous and I was living in a dark place of my own, my spiritual growth stymied. Bill suggested counseling for me back then. NO! Was I that bad off that I needed professional help? My wise husband didn’t bring it up again.

But this suggestion of counseling was different. I was joining my husband and we were going to counseling for his problem — not mine. This gave me the courage to move forward. We were walking together into our future.

The Counseling Intensive

A few weeks later we temporarily moved to Denver not knowing how long we would be there. Milt, our counselor assured us that he would know and we would know when the time was right. And we did. We were there for two weeks.

Milt quickly earned our trust. My counselor defensiveness evaporated. We met with him each morning and then had a bit of homework for the afternoon or evening.

The light was beginning to dawn as our understanding of Bill’s depression was becoming clear.

In addition, I was getting help with my issues and we were getting help with our marriage. A three for one!

What about me?

I was healing too.  I was just as needy as Bill although I manifested it differently.

My appreciation of counselors radically changed. They are a gift to the body. And we had the privilege of benefiting from their contribution.

The Cure

During those two weeks we both caught glimpses of the gospel that had previously eluded us primarily relating to our identities as the beloved children of God. Our significance rests in who we are, not what we do.

Those glimpses caught fire in our hearts as we continued to meditate on the incredible truth of our identities.

What about me?

I discovered God’s love for myself!

I started journaling scriptures that spoke of God’s love for me. My special leather journal became the foundation for my times with God. Reviewing the truth of God’s love was life-changing for me then and continues to be so.

For the next few years I limited my reading to authors who helped me flesh out God’s love. Henri JJ Nouwen and Brennan Manning were two of those.

 

The Continuing Journey

Like anyone who lives with Clinical Depression, Bill still has down days once in a while. Our doctor sometimes needs to adjust his medications. But more than a medical journey, this has been a spiritual journey for us.

What about me?

I am so thankful for our new and deeper understanding of the gospel and God’s love.
I continue to review those truths recorded in my leather journal.
God is using this journey in ways I could have never imagined.
I am so thankful for counselors and our two weeks with Milt.

Some final thoughts

I don’t like it when Bill has another experience of depression. But I recognize the symptoms, I accept this is part of our journey, and I continue to grow in praying for him and loving him well in the midst.

What about me?

When Bill is down, I know I can protect him, but I can’t fix him. I stand at the fringe silently.
There are no silver bullets. Every person’s dark experiences are unique.
My presence is needed, but not my words. Words of admonition or pep talks just reveal I don’t understand.

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us!
Just look at it — we’re called children of God!
That’s who we really are.”
I John 3:1, The Message

Reminder: A free gift is coming via snail-mail to all who comment. Perhaps you’d like to share a prayer request; I’d be honored to walk with you. If you’d like to comment privately, sue.tell@navigators.org.