Saturday, September 4, 2010

This blog is such a fulfilling way for me to get my thoughts out....I haven't felt like writing in earnest in such a long time. I am beginning to feel again the little nudges inside that words make when they want to be expressed. But most of all, I am feeling the need to put into words the ideas and convictions that are swirling around and filling increasing amounts of time in my head.

The long and short of it is this. I am not getting any younger. I know now what I did not know when I was much younger--mainly that I will not live forever and want to make choices with my time and my life that mean something for eternity, for others, for things that really matter.
I truly want to go out strong in making a difference somehow. Today I heard a friend say, "We are all going to get tired, I want to get tired over something worthy of getting tired over." That is wonderfully put.
I am coming to realize that the enemy of our soul has one amazingly effective strategy that is keeping countless people from doing what they were called to do. That strategy is nothing more than the 'good' task of keeping us constantly striving "to be better." It is an exhausting and impossible job that seems so worthwhile that we are blinded to the heart of God's will for us-namely, forgetting ourselves and getting on with bettering the lives of every one else.
I feel new "marching orders" are coming for a new season and hopefully I will recognize them for I am pretty sure they won't look familiar or feel comfortable. Stretching one's horizons is a specialty of God's.
More than anything, I want to be about what
He is about, no matter how insignificant it may look to me. His economy is vastly different than ours. I think I would see and hear more clearly if I walked around on my hands, seeing everything upside down, right side up.
A precious friend reminded me this morning of the prayer of all prayers, "the prayer that
never fails, Thy will be done."
ever grateful for that

Friday, September 3, 2010

Season's end

Well, summer is almost over--actually, it is over when you see big yellow school buses picking up children at the street corner and begin to see the piles of tomatoes dwindling at the farm stands. Oh, the HORROR of dwindling tomatoes.! To me, tomatoes are the only redeeming thing about summer--no, that is not true. It's humid steamy days and constant mosquito bites are redeemed by fresh corn, green beans, bright peppers, and fresh produce of every kind. Of course, I left out hummingbirds, sweet iced tea, never ending jumps off the dock into the lake, crickets at night, giant blossoms on my moon vine opening at dusk, cold suppers, watching the last of daylight every evening from my bed, and many other lovely aspects of the season.
I guess my love affair with fall is making me wish the last vestiges of summer to be on their way. I have been admiring my perfectly seasoned wood pile since April, anticipating that first day that will be cold enough for a fire.
I know I shouldn't wish away a single day. I just don't "do hot" very well, never have, and never will. I look each day much like my end of the season plants--a little droopy and sick of the heat.
I am in Mass. with our daughter Clare for a couple of weeks, and I am certainly seeing those hints of Fall that make me want to shout. We drove through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the rolling hills of the Amish countryside in Pennsylvania thrilling at the beauty and timeless hope seen in the harvested fields. So many deep truths are tied into harvest, such a poignant time for so many people who have labored so long for this season.

Robert Lewis Stevenson said, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." Whether summer, fall, winter or spring, that is a wonderful way to live.
ever grateful for that

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a morning well spent

I have been honored to spend the morning with a lovely young woman who has been a widow for a year. As she sat on my sofa and spilled out her mending heart, over and over there was a phrase I wanted to say to her, but refrained . Sharing the fears, the trials, the overwhelming 'aloneness' of a now single mom, I saw what she could not see. I saw her deep down strength and her honest but sometimes questioning faith holding her, binding her to her Savior with cords much stronger than she felt.
I saw my Clare a year down the road, saw with hope a fellow traveler who has also been forced to walk a very difficult path with no map and no seeming end, yet still putting one foot in front of the other keeping her eyes on the only compass there is in such a 'fog' as she called it--the person of Jesus, who IS our compass. Isn't He the only one who knows where He is leading us, and why?

Its funny how wonderful and appropriate children's literature can be in very grown up times. I wanted to say to her what Christopher Robin said to Winnie when Christopher had to go away. His words seemed so appropriate today. Words that I believe are true of all of us if we belong to Him. It is a paraphrase of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

"If ever there is a tomorrow when we are not together, there is something you must always remember--you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think, but the most important thing is, even if we are apart, I'll always be with you."

I refrained from saying it for the same reason I refrain from saying it to Clare.
Now may not be the time-their pain, their grief, and their loss is too big to throw in quotes, and scriptures-however true. They must feel what they feel. Telling someone who feels so weak how 'strong' they are, puts a lot of pressure on a wounded soul. In God's good time and good grace, He will show them both whatever they need to know about Himself and the safe place He has for them and their children, yes, and even the place of joy they think they will never know again.
ever grateful for that

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

home again,home again, without the jiggedy jig

Oh, home. Most of my blogs in the past have been about how I love home. Home, with its comforts, "comfortableness", peace and its unique power to energize. I did find these same wonderful qualities awaiting us after such a long time away, but something is different. I am different. Places and their charms don't hold the same power for me. I do not think I will ever see my home as I always have. I know now, in a way I have never been able to grasp before, that the home that is truly mine, that I was created for, doesn't exist here on this planet.

Barry, our dear son-in-law, died on July 4th. For the last 5 weeks, Phil and I have been at Clare and Barry's home, doing whatever we could to ease the workload for Clare as she cared for, loved, and helped to make Barry's home-going as pain free as possible.

Words can't contain what this journey is teaching me. I'll have to marinate for a while in these rich lessons so that I may attempt to sort them out and share them. I do know that to go to the highest places with God, you have to go to the lowest places. To overcome pain, you have to embrace pain, and to overcome fear, you let God take you to those places you fear most, and let go and watch Him go to battle for you. All this new revelation comes from a person who has a PHD in Pain avoidance. No one has been more expert at keeping pain at bay than moi! The fruit of that avoidance has been a shallow understanding of the immense power of God's love and the instant connection available to me if I won't be so afraid of being broken.
It has been said of God's kingdom that it is an upside down one. RIGHT! Throw out all your preconceived certainties about being a child of God, hold on to your big hat, one that fits a big head if you have one like mine, and dare to let God do whatever He needs to do to show you His paths to joy...the "real McCoy" joy. Let me interject here that joy and happiness are two completely different animals.

I don't know much anymore. Phil always says now, "if there is one thing I know, it is that I don't know." I get it. But the one thing we are certain of now more than any other time in our lives, is that "love never fails." Opinions fail, head knowledge fails, even experience can't be banked on. But God, and God alone, does not disappoint when He is your only source of trust.
more later, maybe not....
grateful for the choice

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

tender mercy

I do not have words adequate enough to explain the holiness and the sadness and the heart-hope of watching a precious family member slowly go from this life to the next.
Words fail when emotions are so varied, moment by moment. I know one thing for sure though, God is near, and He goes before us, He goes before Barry and we are not traveling this journey by ourselves.

Romans 8: 35-39 says:

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril or sword?...yet in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nt things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
ever grateful for that!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

leaving soon

Well, faithful few, soon I will be going to Mass. to stay with Clare, Barry and boys for long while. It seems a little strange watering my garden knowing I won't be here to see it come to fruition, yet I will have Clare's garden to enjoy and to watch unfold. I won't be here cooking for my "best eater" but I will have a house full of good eaters to satisfy. I can watch Clare's birds just outside her window, leaving mine here for Phil to enjoy. I'll watch Clare's chipmunks do their damage on her flower beds instead of watching them here, digging up my bulbs and hiding them under our porch sofa cushions!
Clare was distressed, thinking I was leaving "my life here", putting "my life on hold", and staying away so long. It was such a beautiful and peaceful revelation to my spirit to be able to say, "I am not putting my life on hold, this IS my life!" Whatever God puts before us each day, whatever unique way He wants us to serve Him, that is our real life. I was telling someone the other day in the midst of her mundane, everyday service to her family, "It may not look like a Billy Graham crusade over there to you, but it is the same to God."

So, I head North for a season of service and blessing. I fully anticipate it to be one of the hardest and most painful trips of my life, and to be honest, I don't feel very adequate for the job, and yet I know without a shadow of a doubt, it will be a time of deep fellowship with Jesus, identifying with Him in many ways, watching Him pour out His unfailing love upon our family in our utter dependence upon Him, and just being with them, walking along side and sharing their pain.

I was reading yesterday a lovely and true statement from Dear Jesus, one of my daily devotionals. It read, "But I (Jesus) have showered you with humble, rarely sought gifts; neediness and weaknesses. These gifts, properly received and used, help make My ways known on earth."
Isn't that a redeeming and wonderful way to navigate through hard places?
Love to all, I may not have time to write for a while, but, as they say, "I'll be back!"
ever grateful for that

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday ramblings....

It's kind of weird writing to no one, really. I get an occasional comment, from close friends, but my most faithful comment givers are the guys selling porn on the internet. I guess they didn't really get the post about trading in your sin and guilt for peace and joy. They probably had a great big laugh and think that I get mad when they continually comment. Well, I don't. I'm just delighted they like to read about birds in my bird bath, sunlight traveling around the rooms in our house, my favorite aprons, and the pain in my heart caused by the terminal illness of our precious son-in-law. I hope they read about the hope that is there too, hope put there by the promise of life eternal if you belong to the family of God. I just ask one thing of this bunch....that they write their comments in English. If I could give them the great news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their language, I would.

I have a favorite person whose quotes set me on fire when I was much younger. Her name is Sister Mary Corita. Today I ran across a little journal where I had written many of them down. I will close with a few choice ones:

"To believe in God is to die and not be embarrassed."
"To believe in God is to get high on love enough to look down at your loneliness and forget it forever!"
"To believe in God is more than I need to make believing more than making believe."

Oh! I love this one from God:
"God is dead."--Nietzsche
"Nietzsche is dead." --God

ever grateful for eternal life in Christ Jesus

little blanket of snow

little blanket of snow