Leah | Grace and Peace, Joanne

“No, I can’t take this…nope, not this either…nope, ya gotta haul this all away.” We thought for sure Goodwill would throw confetti, and trot out the welcome band for us.

Not a chance.

My husband Dave and I stood dumbfounded. We were in the process of helping one of our daughters pack up and head out to Westwood, California, for a Masters program at UCLA. Bringing three daughters through the process of college moves, grad school, and final launch into adulthood, we’d done this dozens of times, by now. We were very familiar with the whole pack- attack-culling-of-belongings-making-of-piles-for-storage-Goodwill-and-the-dump operation.

But this time, we had ended up with a couch, a couple of well-stuffed chairs, a dorm fridge, and a few other appliances, odds and ends. Surely, we thought, surely another college family is going to practically faint with relief when they see all this great stuff for re-sale. Easy on the bank account, too.

We stared blankly at the Goodwill employee firmly shaking his head as he began to close the back door of our van. What? Really? Take this good, well-loved couch to the dump!? We were only just sitting on it last night, laughing through one of our favorite movies. Are ya crazy? And this good fridge? Why, it only leaks a little Freon. You can still get cans of that here and there, can’t you?

The dump? Really?

Both of us felt dejected on the forty-minute drive over to our county landfill. What a shame, we kept saying to each other. What a shame.

Broken and Abandoned

Broken…and now soon to be abandoned. We paused a moment, feeling how said it was to throw all our well-worn and well-loved items over the edge and into that ginormous, filthy dumpster. But that’s how it feels in life, sometimes, doesn’t it? Broken by life’s traumas, calamities, and tragedies, and just when you’re at your lowest, it seems…there you go, right over the edge, and into the dumpster.


Leah was married to a man who didn’t love her, who even felt he had been defrauded and manipulated into marrying her. No matter how many babies Leah had, she continued to live in the enveloping shadow of the woman her husband did love, and favored. Her situation left her despondent.

As Leah stood at the edge of the precipice, powerless, bereft, broken, and alone, with the dumpster yawning below, she was presented with an inner choice. Would she allow the dumpster’s gravity to pull her in, or would she look up to find God at work even in this dark and awful place?

Jacob had arrived, unexpectedly and unannounced, a young, handsome, and penniless stranger—well actually, he knew he was family, but no one else did, at first.

Probably remembering the way his mother Rebekah had been discovered by his grandfather’s trusted servant, sensing he was near the family’s homestead, and certainly thirsty and hungry after his long journey, Jacob headed for the local well.

After talking with some local shepherds, Jacob knew his uncle Laban’s home was nearby . . . and then he saw Rachel. Love at first sight! He wept, kissed her, and so our story begins.

Joanne led and taught a Bible class of 350-500 students from 2003 to 2013, and has recently retired as an advisor and mentor to eight Bible classes in the Maryland area with BSF, International. ____________________________________________________________ Joanne continues as a Bible teacher with Ancient Voices, Sacred Stories, LLC, and serves on the pulpit teaching team of her church, New Hope Chapel, Arnold, MD. ____________________________________________________________ A long-time "armchair archaeologist," Joanne joined the Board of Directors for the Biblical Archaeology Forum in 2013 and has participated in two excavations, Tel Kabri and Tel Akko. Another passion for Joanne is the healing work of counseling. She serves as a lay counselor and trainer in affiliation with The Lay Counselor Institute, since 2012. Joanne is currently attending Portland Seminary, working towards a Masters in Theological Studies, with an emphasis in Biblical studies

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