“October Morn”

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Fall_image blog

I look ‘round this October morn,
And marvel at what I see.
I realize that the changing leaves
Remind me of Calvary.

I once was the a tree in summers adorn,
And proud as proud could be,
Until the day I found the Lord and realized,
He bled on me!

The change began at the tips of my leaves,
I cried Your will not mine,
In shame and happy gratitude,
I fell upon my knees.

Then my leaves were set aflame
As blazing mercy came,
They withered up and fell away,
And bare was all my pain.

The warmth of the Son reached my core,
As buds began anew,
my roots now drenched in the Water of Life,
The source for me and for you.

Now even though I look the same,
My soul has been revived,
The One who shed His blood on me
Is alive…PRAISE GOD HE’S ALIVE!

So now there’s nothing but joy for me,
As round Christ’s table I come,
For through the Blood of our Risen Lord,
We now stand strong as one.

I rejoice in the freedom His body bought,
So I could be His own,
I’ve found in Jesus what my soul heart sought,
Oh what love He’s shown!

I grow and change and age in rings,
Reaching toward the Light,
The bread, His body, the cup, His blood,
Restores my failing sight.

Though I long for Heavens shore,
To hear the angels sing,
Here on earth I’m bound for now,
Awaiting our Sovereign King.

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“Don’t Wait! Live Recovered”

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Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon yo and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28-30

 Locked in the void of recovery. Life is moving forward, it’s happening all around. Even if only through the split of a hospital room curtain. At the mercy of call buttons, IV’s and pic lines. Other human hands trying to help alleviate discomfort. The simplest of tasks, insurmountable. Trapped in a body that won’t co-operate or respond like your mind wills it to. Trying not to think beyond what can be seen from the hospital bed. Telling your inner self it’s okay. Just breathe. Seemingly an out of body ordeal. The mind struggles against the drugs which are meant to quiet the pain. The outside world forces it’s way in in the rudest of forms. Demanding precious energy that can’t be wasted. Even visits or calls from the most loved of beings become a drain on body and soul. Life. Moving forward. Home. Looking through windows at the world outside. Rattled. Relentless. Recovery.

When is it complete? Do we ever fully recover from traumatic events or physical ailments? I don’t know many who haven’t fallen prey to a scalpel. Or an addiction. Or both. Quite often a physical repair is made and the victim carries on. Even if not quite the same. Bones heal but perhaps they don’t function quite like they did prior to surgery. Internal organs are tampered with, repaired, and put back into place. Learning to function properly or in a new manner all over again.

Isn’t this also the case when we choose to drastically change our lives? Elective surgery. When we invite Jesus into our hearts it’s the same as having a surgeon in house. He removes things or alters them so we can live happier, better, cleaner lives. No matter how painful the procedure is. Just as you’re released from a doctors care with a list of instructions, Jesus also gives us instructions to follow. His Holy Word. Jesus promises healing if we follow His plan of recovery. The parts that are removed may leave scars. Some visible. Some not. The parts that are altered may take time to wake up and function properly again. Things will never be as they were prior to the surgery. They will be fixed. Repaired. Ready to move from the stagnant place of sickness to living recovered. The invisible illnesses are stealthier. There will be days when those afflictions will ache from now till we reach our Heavenly healing. But take heart! We’ve the pain medication of Jesus’ promise to remove our weary burdens and give us rest. *He promises to bind up our breaking hearts.

Don’t wait until it’s an emergency. Don’t wait until you feel so low you can’t breathe. Don’t wait until the weight of your suffering has blinded you to His light and deafened you to His calling. Don’t wait until your affliction has laid you at deaths door. He’s watching and waiting for you. He will come and get you right where you are. Don’t wait.

*Psalm 34:17-18

*Psalm 147:3

“Familyweed”

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tumbleweeds-against-fence

On August 13th I wroteA tragic event in March of this year left my families lives turned upside down. It’s not my story to tell. Suffice it to say our balance has yet to be regained. If anything mid July saw it thrown off once again. I would say I’ll be happy to see the back side of 2016…but I have to wonder what 2017 will herald in?

A scant four days after I posted the above statement another harsh reality slammed into my family. We didn’t have to wait until 2017 for another mind numbing experience. One we’re still in the throes of. As if we aren’t still caught up in the gale forces of January, March…and July. Will I never learn? How could I even begin to relax and think we’d weathered the storm? Now August has blown into the mix.

I sit here gazing out my window, feeling only slightly like Job. I feel guilty too for not making the 70 mile trek to the hospital today. A place I’ve grown to despise even as I appreciate all it provides. It’s kept two of my beloved ones alive these past long weeks. One endless stay turned into another. A dark tunnel with no end. Emotionally drained. All of us. Weary and helpless.

Fear. Denial. Anger. Sorrow. Tangible frustration that knows no bounds. Aching acceptance.

It’s the realization that absolutely nothing will ever be the same. Massive tumbleweeds, familyweeds, of lives more than half over. Lives that have been enter twined since birth. Brittle and gnarled. Traveling in whatever direction the wind rolls them. Hither and yon. Landed here in the twilight. Full of debris picked up along the journey. Crumbling, weary and breaking apart. I fear complete detachment. It’s a chasm that can’t be crossed this side of Heaven. I began as the last of three. I can’t imagine life without my two. Friends, enemies, timeless love. Good, bad and all in between. Thick and thin. Even strangers sometimes. Dare I wonder how the inevitable will come?

Where would I be with out my faith? Without my God who strengthens me and hears the plea in my heart? Pleas I can’t put into words though the Spirit does. I feel Jesus surrounding the broken places that I don’t understand. Reaching up for the peace that surpasses. I long for my loved ones to have peace. I feel refinement being wrought. Almighty El Roi lead me in the path You’d have me go.

So I pray.* My Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I know, as I release my pent up breath, that my woes are smaller than most but larger than some. Aren’t each of our troubles? Isn’t that the very nature of humanity? All I need to do is watch the evening news to realize that God has been kind to me and mine. Kind indeed.

Now to share the sliver of light that is breaking through my dark.

 

*Lords Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

Reposting “I am August”

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A tragic event in March of this year left my families lives turned upside down. It’s not my story to tell. Suffice it to say our balance has yet to be regained. If anything mid July saw it thrown off once again. I would say I’ll be happy to see the back side of 2016…but I have to wonder what 2017 will herald in? 

I can’t seem to write. Nothing will come and I feel rather empty. In light of that, forgive me for reposting a piece I wrote around this time last year. I marvel at what has transpired since then.

~I am August~

     August…a peculiar month. The heat of summer has become wearisome. All of the late summer weed monsters are tall, gnarled up masses come to torment. The leaves aren’t changing color but they’re changed, their luster lost and tired looking. Different.  So subtlety the day’s length shortens. The sun doesn’t bother to show its self till late morning, fighting the wet fog hanging in the tree tops. Its heat feels hot, yet not, its intensity waning in these latter weeks. Sporadic storms feed the clammy humidity. The seasonal insects don’t cease their noise. There’s an odd expectancy in August. It closes out summer which passes by as fast as ice cubes melt in sweet tea. The breeze…nonexistent. But the nights…oh the star filled nights! Screech owls join with the Cicadas lending mystery and goose bumps to the dark.
Harvest has been in full bounty for weeks. The beans and corn are put up, the garden is fizzling out. Thirty pound yellow belly watermelons lie in their vines, ready now for spoon and salt. The pumpkins are coming on nicely. Ice cream has lost some of its appeal except to anticipate topping warm, fresh baked apple pie. Acorns are raining down; squirrels are busy storing and stealing them from one another. The woods…alive with scurrying. Hummingbirds are dipping into withered up flowers, departing soon for parts unknown. Goldfinches feasting on full golden sun flowers. Turkeys are roving the woods gobbling. Even the clover is withering, much to the rabbit’s dismay.
For the first time in my years August resonates in my heart. The length of my days are numbered and I no longer appear the same. My thoughts bewilder me; like a hazy mist clouding the simplest decisions. I long for the brace of October winds to chase away the dank, cloying thoughts as leaves from the trees. I need the frost to freeze and destroy the atrocious imaginings seeking to destroy. I wait with eagerness for something…anything to happen, but have no idea what. I covet the slow quiet of snow falling in the woods…so silent the flakes can be heard landing. Then a herd of deer are blowing, pawing the snow as they move through the dusk, translucent in the woods.
My heart clamors, its Christ’s return I wait for! I must gather and store up His teachings and feast on His word. I must trust that His breath of life will sweep through my inmost being. Restore me Lord! I know that the sword of truth and the breast plate of righteousness will keep the insidious away. I will rest in the tranquility of prayer. Be still my soul, wait for His whispering will to land softly in your heart. I will embrace this perplexing season of preparation even as I wither and change. I will praise Him. I’m alive and well and whole. My harvesting tools must be honed. I will draw from the nectar of His Spirit and ready myself for the flight to eternity.

I am August.

“Victory Patch”

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Inner anguish, physical pain,
Pillar crumbled under the strain.
Extenuating circumstance,
Where she is, no happenstance.
So hard to explain.

The venom she spews isn’t poison,
It’s only there to keep her safe,
Locked in a world where she sets the pace.

Years lost, life stolen,
Age a factor,
Not so golden.

Those who surround this soul of thorns,
Often find their feelings torn.
How can love be reaching out,
Let it in! Hearts plead and shout.

I’m obsessed with time now that I’m fifty something. I think we can all agree that it is a fleeting and precious commodity. It can be fickle too. We want it to pass quickly only when we or someone we love is going through something awful. We catch ourselves thinking I wish some time would go by so this would be behind us. Before we know it, it has. The thing from which we begged release has turned into the past. A new scar or a badge of triumph or both.

Alcoholism and co-dependency run in my family. Battling my own addictions is the only time I remember living in just one moment at a time. I couldn’t think beyond the second I was living in. To do so meant I was looking forward to a life with out my poison. Who was I with out it? What do I do now with out it? I’d stand before my soul mirror and see the reflection that Christ shone back at me. I saw an empty shell staring back. Me. Shame and remorse flooding every waking second. I remember wishing someone could see inside my heart. Could see and even feel what was happening to me. It would be a few years after the physical addictions faded before I realized something. I’d become addicted to the commiseration of caring people. I was literally starved for affirmation and acceptance. I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t see that. I saw rejection where there was none…it’s what I did. Then I’d retreat, withdraw and feel like giving up. Now thank goodness I realize God is the only one I have to please. That is the relationship I must seek and strive to maintain, He’s the only one worthy of such dedication. God loves me! He adopted ME!  I regret the time I’ve spent on relationships that were hard and impossible. I ache for the time I spent away from those that were easy and meaningful.

Looking back on that time I truly do see just one set of footprints. I wasn’t alone. When I cried, “dear Jesus come and heal my broken spirit!” He did. Oh the glory of being able to look back now from this side of the mess that was my life! I can never thank Him enough. Life is a journey. We each have to walk through it and make decisions that will determine our future. It’s a process of learning and growing. We can’t look back, only forward. Only forward! My past is just that. There is more for me to accomplish. God promises forgiveness through Jesus Christ, but as I’ve learned, there is fall out from my poor choices. Consequence’s I live. Some I bear willingly, others are excruciating. I want so desperately to have a “do-over” so I can fix it. The weight of being responsible, heavy. I’ve given the Lord an account of my failures. I prayerfully seek guidance now in trying to steer from danger what was in my wake back then.

The only thing I know for sure is that operating in the will of God will see me to the end of my mahalak. Are you or a loved one going through trials? Physical, spiritual, mental…the list does go on doesn’t it? The first step is always the hardest. If it’s you, find someone you trust today. A friend or family member someone who loves you with out fail. Tell them your story. Let them in and let them help. It truly is not possible for people to know your heart if you can’t share it. I know it’s hard. If it’s not you, but someone you love who’s struggling let them know you’re around. Let them know you’ll listen with out judgment. Don’t be hurt if they send you packing. They’ve heard you. They’re just not ready to listen to you.

God loves you. He sees us all. Let Him guide those who attempt to reach out. Let Him remove the heart barricades of those addicted. Let Him cover their scars, like mine, with patches of victory!

Victory in Jesus
( vs 2 and chorus of Hymn)

I heard about His healing, of his cleansing pow’r revealing,
How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see;
And then I cried dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and bro’t to me the victory!

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever,
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory beneath His cleansing flood.

E. M. Bartlett

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Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,  in the middle of its street.”
Revelation 22 (read more…)

Time Heals All Wounds?”

I don’t buy it.

The passage of time doesn’t heal, it simply makes pain easier to bear, leaving scar tissue in it’s wake. Periodically a façade of relief, a fine, thin layer of peace tries to cover over the worst of it. But the damage remains. It’s ever present. There will always be times when “something” comes along to pierce that fragile covering.

In my experience people never truly get over the death of a loved one. You learn only to live life with out whom you love. The covering of a grief wound can be ripped away with a memory. Add to that, if applicable, the agony of things left unsaid or undone that may find the bereaved left writhing in a cesspool of guilt. It seems to happen more often than not.

Grief also comes in the form of living in the fall out of poor decisions. It never heals either. Do we ever stop blaming ourselves when a poor choice we’ve made directly affects one dear to us? Does the raw nagging ever cease? Is there not a way to cut out the guilt and the pain and cauterize their edges? Would the destroyed nerve endings make it stop or would it dehumanize?

No matter the prayers, no matter the peace that surpasses all understanding, sometimes pain is just part of being alive. Why? Because heart wounds are comprised of fallible humanity. Loved ones that fill our thoughts, our moments, our beings. My wounds fester when I see my one of them struggle with faith issues. Sometimes because of their own stubbornness and I want to scream, “change your life!!” It’s really so simple. It’s really so hard. Sometimes the scar covering is slowly, excruciatingly peeled back when I know their struggle is the result of my past mistakes. Is the wound then caused by my own wishful thinking? My shame? My own wants and desires? My own aggravation because I can’t change other people? Or is it more selfish…like seeking absolution from the part I may have played in it? A little of all I’d say.

Praise be to Jesus who came to set us free from the guilt and shame of our sin. It’s ours for the asking! He does absolve us! That is the simple part. The hard part, and it is so hard, is to accept responsibility for our mistakes. Living with the scars, the consequences that our poor choices set into motion. But even that, no, in spite of that, God can and will use us for His glory. I realize all I can do is tell people what Jesus has done for me…I can testify only for how He’s changed me. I can share my story. I really can’t make others believe. Neither can you. At the end of the day we all have to make the choice to either believe and accept or not.

Now I see! The time will eventually come that will heal not only our wounds but our scars. Just not in this brief span we’re granted on earth. Only when we’re walking on the banks of the River of Life and drinking from His fountain will we find complete and healing rest.

Listen….All My Fountains

“On Guard”

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The weight of the world is more than I can bear. My own personal struggles exhaust my spirit. My heart wells up with sorrow when I see the state mankind is in. Is it sapping your strength too?
When it’s bearing down on your heart and your soul and your mind, turn that energy instead toward God, for He tells us:

5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27

Brothers and sisters are you finding it hard to find your footing in the war of good vs. evil? Lately I am finding that things don’t feel as “sure” as they used to. It frightens me. Until I remember who is causing these feelings of fear and unrest. Until I remember the insidious ways in which Satan forces himself into my thoughts. Even when I pray it’s as if he hovers ’round my prayer chamber. I believe this is only the beginning dear friends. Why are we so surprised by current events? The Bible warns us of it’s coming. Perhaps we didn’t think we’d see it in our lifetime? It’s hard to admit but part of me feels robbed somehow. I’ve finally reached this golden time in my life. I feel I’ve just learned how to live yet stability crumbles all around me. I wonder which world event will be the swell that bursts the dam of my strength? Which event will plunge me into the rush of chaos and try to erode the walls of my faith? Even as I type I envision footage of a dam bursting. Retaining walls collapse and the force of the water blasts through the wall that has held on as long as it can.

I think of the small crack in the wall that led to the total breach. I think of my view of right and wrong. I think about tolerance vs. acceptance…are they one and the same? I know in my life I’ve made small allowances here and there for one sin or another. If I take my one small fracture and multiply it by every other Christian’s small fracture, over the course of a century what do you have? A flood of watered down Christians preaching a watered down gospel. We’ve allowed the subliminal messages on television and now social media to seep into the weak areas of our faith. We’ve decided to just live and let live. Now we’re living in a torrential mess that makes Sodom and Gomorrah pale in comparison.
Yes, Christian’s are to love everyone and do all that we can to keep the peace. But we simply can not tolerate or accept that wrong is right or that right is wrong. We can’t let what our minds are being bombarded with weaken the resolve of our biblical teaching. This verse of Scripture has been quoted so often in the last couple of years. We’re living it.

3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
II Timothy 4:3-4

Take heart loved ones, listen you who call on Christ as your lifeline and Savior;
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.
Hebrews 8-9a

Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Be on your guard…

Matthew 10:15-17a