Archive | October 2013

Twice Mine

To point and dream...

To point and dream… (Photo credit: Images by John ‘K’)

As the story goes there was a little boy who worked tirelessly to build a sailboat. At last came the day when he was ready to put her to the test. Would she float? He set her gently in the stream, stood up, and prepared to enjoy her maiden voyage, but to his dismay the wind caught her sail, tipped her over and she was quickly sucked downstream. The little boy hurried to follow, but could not see her. She has disappeared from sight. He searched and searched, but did not find his beloved boat. After all that loving work, his sailboat was gone.

Some days later, making a trip to town with his mother, they happened to walk by the pawn shop. He was shocked to see his little sailboat displayed in the window! He knew she was his for he was familiar with her design. After all hadn’t he poured hours of love into her creation? Getting his mother’s permission he pushed open the door and approached the proprietor who stood behind the counter. “Mister”, he stated pointing to the window, “that’s my sailboat.”

“No it ain’t,” the man retorted gruffly. “It belongs to me, but if you wanna buy it I’ll sell it to you for $5.00.”

$5.00! The man might as well have asked for $50.00! The little tyke didn’t have two nickels to rub together. That evening the little boy approached his daddy. “Daddy,” he asked, “may I please have $5.00 so I can buy back my sailboat?”

Daddy was sorry his son had worked so hard on his little sailboat only to lose it, but money did not come easily so he gave him a suggestion instead. “Son,” he asked, “why don’t you do some chores around here and before long you will have earned enough money to buy back your sailboat?”

The little boy’s eyes lit up at the idea. He’d gladly do some chores so he could buy back his sailboat. She was worth it. Before long he had made the money he needed. Carefully he counted each coin. Yes, he had enough. Now to get back to the pawn shop and hope that his sailboat was still there! Yep. There she was in the window as if waiting for him. Pushing open the door he hastened to the counter, “Here mister,” he blurted excitedly. “I have the money for the sailboat. Can I buy her?”

As he headed out the door, the owner heard him exclaim triumphantly, “I made you and I bought you. You are twice mine!”

This little story or call it a parable if you like, reminds me of the plan of salvation. In a nutshell, we were intrinsically designed by our Creator and when our first parents chose to follow satan over God, He could have thrown in the towel, zapped planet Earth from existence, and started all over again. But He didn’t! He loved us too much. Instead Jesus came to pay the price for our sins, taking them upon himself ~ he who had never sinned ~ and bore them to the cross. He arose victorious over death and sin! He paid the ultimate price to set us free!

All glory to him [Jesus Christ] who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.  Revelation 1:5

Jesus both made us and redeemed us. We are twice His!

How does it feel to be twice loved?

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This entry was posted on October 30, 2013. 2 Comments

Eyes watching

Grocery carts

Grocery carts (Photo credit: Polycart)

“Now all the earth is bright and glad with the fresh morn; but all my heart is cold, and dark and sad. Sun of the soul, let me behold thy dawn! Come, Jesus, Lord, O quickly come, according to thy word.”  ~from a devotional by Charles Spurgeon

The work day had finally ended and I was on my way home. Driving by a grocery story, a bell rang in my head I need a few things to make dinner. You’ve been there ~  gotta to do this or that after leaving the career job in order to begin the real job at home. Right? Once home, I never wanted to go back out again, so pressed for time with hungry mouths waiting for food to be dropped in . . . I grabbed a cart from the corral and rushed inside the store to do my shopping.

Minutes later I emerged with bags full of necessities and things I didn’t know I needed. Relief. That’s done. Now get home, I muttered half aloud.  Kids will be famished and expect dinner on the table as soon as I walk through the door. I unloaded the bags into the trunk, quickly pushed the cart back into the corral, got in my car and pulled out into heavy traffic . . . no doubt also heading home with the same expectations.  Okay. This was my time to settle into the seat and listen to the radio and relax a little. Per habit I reached to the right for my purse and . . . it was not there. I looked. No purse! Oh, know! I must have left it in the cart! My heart began to thud loudly in my chest.

Not being in a U-turn friendly stretch of road, it took me what felt like hours to finally be heading back to the store. “God,” I pleaded, “please let my purse be there.” But the nasty voice in my head taunted,  what’s the likelihood of that happening in this neighborhood? Someone might turn it in or more likely, take it and run! Doubts and fearful thoughts pummeled my brain: the dread of having to replace credit cards, having cash and other valuables stolen. But I kept praying.

I drove into the parking lot frantically looking in the direction of the cart corral where I had parked. Oh, there it was . . . and I could see someone had parked in my spot. It was a woman, an elderly woman just sitting behind the wheel in her car. I pulled up beside her, parked and got out. By now, I saw that my purse was still in the cart where I had left it. I walked quickly to retrieve it. She rolled down her window.

“I’ve been watching it,” she spoke in a lilting brogue. “I knew you’d come back so I stayed in my car, waiting for you to return.”

Of course, I couldn’t thank her enough. Her words took my breath away. As I headed home once again, they kept playing in my mind. I knew you’d come back so I  stayed right here waiting for you.

Time has passed, but this story remains fresh in my mind. Does it have a higher purpose for sharing? It reminds me that the Creator watches over His little sparrows and notes if one falls. If God cares for the sparrows so much, does he care about you and me? His Word says, “yes”.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. Luke 12:6  Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:3 But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows. Luke 12:7

One could read these verses and feel compared to our fine feathered friends and perhaps think, well, humans have higher intelligence and therefore should not be compared to sparrows. In my humble opinion, the God of the Universe has made everything, forgetting no detail. He gives understanding to all creatures and they do just as he instructs them. He watches over all his children right down to the last hair count. That boggles my mind. No person on earth knows how many hairs I have on my head including me, but God does. I love how he watches over us all.

For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil [to oppose them, to frustrate, and defeat them].  1 Peter 3:12, AMP

A kind stranger sat in her car watching my purse because she expected me to return! What a solemn reminder to never stop watching and waiting for Jesus to return. And therein lies our hope.

This entry was posted on October 27, 2013. 3 Comments

Reminders of a broken heart . . . revisited

Jesus Calling

No matter what your circumstances may be, you can find Joy in My presence. On some days Joy is generously strewn along your life-path… other days are overcast and gloomy… yet Joy is still attainable. Search for it as for hidden treasure

Begin by remembering that I have created this day; it is not a chance occurrence. Recall that I am present with you… then, start talking with Me. Awareness of My marvelous Companionship can infuse Joy into the grayest day.

Psalm 21:6; Proverbs 2:4

Daily devotional excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

This devotional by Sarah Young reminds me that joy is possible even if most days feel gloomy. The heart is open to receive . . . and my mind went back to a previous creation below. Read it for the first time or reread it again. Not because of something I have done, but because of what God wants to do. It may take lots of time, but He’s always patient. Eventually we will embrace the hope and feel the joy sprinkled along our journey.

* * *

The Downton Abbey characters are probably accurately portraying the English in the early 1920’s with their habit of holding emotions inside. I have grown quite fond of the Crowley family, currently preparing their 4th season. Quite long enough to have grown attached to each member of the family. I could not even turn away as the youngest daughter slipped away due to eclampsia after giving birth to a baby girl. They should have hired me to shed some tears for each of their shocked and stoic faces. I had plenty. I became an embarrassing puddle for the one watching with me. (who can understand the ways of a woman, right?) But seriously, the director should keep a an eye dropper of water handy to use at such moments to at least give evidence that the English have tear ducts.

Of course this tapped into a sordid supply of feelings long since spent and yet as current as yesterday. We dine on sitcoms and reject reality. We feast on reality shows and create a famine for truth. I don’t get it. Just consider this a lamenting drivel of pointless thought about life and the constant quest to understand the cruelty of death; the robber that keeps the need for head stones in old, ordinary church yards long overdue for a gardener’s touch or hugging the ground in the pristine garden green that from a distance looks like a lovely place to build a home, but it’s not.

Strange. Time has helped me get used to living without my first child. Tears don’t pour down my face as often now. But the deep pain is always within arm’s reach, intending  to reel me back in when I least expect it. As many words as I have poured unto paper which filled a book, one would think there would be nothing left to say. But my words are not your words. Your words are not my words. Today’s words are not tomorrow’s words. There are always more. The depth of one’s heart cannot be measured. Perhaps it has no bottom, but it has stairs ~ a winding circular staircase edged with railings carved by nail-scared hands. The railings are smooth to my touch. It is dark as I enter my heart. My eyes are blurry so I grip the railings for support. Perhaps they were carved by one who has an intimate relationship with wood for they are silky smooth.

I wipe my eyes, trying to see. I hear the rhythmic beat of my blood pumping soft and steady. It’s reassuring. I sit down on a step to rest. As my eyes adjust to the darkness I realize I’m not alone. He’s there, sitting beside me. I’m not startled by his presence, but drawn to snuggle next to him. We are quiet. Neither of us speaks. In the soft light I can see further down where I came before to sit and weep and think. He came then too. I remember he held me close as I cried. Per usual I had no tissue with which to blow my nose. He smiled and offered the edge of his wide sleeve. I smiled at the prospect of blowing on pure whiteness, but one does what one must at such times. I blew on the soft linen of his sleeve. He put His other arm around me, saying softly, “Don’t worry. It will dry. I have plenty more where it came from.”

I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to stay. These visits, working down into the unknown depth of my shattered heart, are painful and make me deeply sad as I remember the sweetness that once rested on my heart . . . listening to it’s comforting, steady beat while floating in a warm bath inside my tummy. That was the beginning for a child loved since conception and God had already loved and longed for his arrival throughout the ages . . . long before the short years we had together . . . which ended way too soon.

It  doesn’t feel like I need to explore deeper this night. He understands and draws me to his breast for one more reassuring hug. We stand together for a moment longer before I retrace my steps. The curved stairway disappears from view and my touch. Perhaps next time we will meet here again and arm in arm, descend a few more steps into the chambers of my broken, but mending heart.”

The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him.  Psalm 28:7, amp

Unhook

"Forgiveness 7" by Carlos Latuff.

“Forgiveness” by Carlos Latuff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forgiveness will not be hazardous to your health. However . . .  maybe the label on the bottle of “Forgiveness pills” should read something like this: “Warning! This product may sting a bit. You may not be ready to try it today, but keep it handy on the shelf. There will come a day when you will be willing to try it.”

I apologize if this feels like a “hands off” or even more bluntly, a “none of your business” topic. Please allow me to gently suggest that forgiveness frees the forgiver. It may take years before one is ready to try the first time, but it gets easier with practice. I have found it to be a personal, one-on-one experience between me and God without a third party even present. If I am willing, God does the rest. It unhooks the chains that bind us to someone else; someone who has hurt us deeply.

Don’t take my word for it. Maybe I’ll pretend that John Eldredge brought the topic up all on his own and allow him to take the heat for it. But seriously, note his approach to forgiveness in his book, Wild at Heart where he specifically speaks about a child extending forgiveness to his father. Whether it be a father or mother or friend or other, I have felt the freedom that forgiveness brings. Perhaps something said here will resonate in your heart too.

“Time has come for us to forgive our fathers. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph. 4:31; Heb. 12:15). I am sorry to think of all the years my wife endured the anger and bitterness that I redirected at her from my father. As someone has said, forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and then discovering the prisoner was you. I found some help in Bly’s experience of forgiving his own father, when he said, “I began to think of him not as someone who had deprived me of love or attention or companionship, but as someone who himself had been deprived, by his father and his mother and by the culture.” My father had his own wound that no one ever offered to heal. His father was an alcoholic, too, for a time, and there were some hard years for my dad as a young man just as there were for me.

Now you must understand: Forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling, but an act of the will. As Neil Anderson has written, “Don’t wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving; you will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made.” We allow God to bring the hurt up from our past, for “if your forgiveness doesn’t visit the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete.” We acknowledge that it hurt, that it mattered, and we choose to extend forgiveness to our father. This is not saying, ‘It didn’t really matter’; it is not saying, ‘I probably deserved part of it anyway.’ Forgiveness says, ‘It was wrong, it mattered, and I release you.’ And then we ask God to father us, and to tell us our true name.”

Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31

This entry was posted on October 19, 2013. 4 Comments

Mum reminders

Yellow mums

Yellow mums (Photo credit: Hiro Protagonist2004)

Time passes. It always amazes me how it does, but should it? When summer days ease into cool nights and the bright, showy colors of fall appear everywhere I am once again reminded that another year has passed. Today was the perfect day to buy an end-of-summer-sale mum. The pickings were slim at the roadside stand, but I found a pretty one that reminds me of daisies. It is large and full with sunny yellow centers surrounded by white petals. Today it is pretty day and  it will look nice where I put it, but no one will notice. He won’t see it either and It won’t last long. Like everything else in life, it will soon die as frost nibbles at its petals.

Today I will set this mum on my son’s grave. I did the same thing 8 years ago when I set out a yellow mum. The weather was the same clear blue sky. Today, I plopped down on the lush green grass and stared at the immense blue above me. How could time pass? At first after he died, it seemed like time stood still as well it should! Everything should come to a screeching halt, shouldn’t it? There should be no rushing, noisy traffic, no hustle and bustle of business. Life should stop for everyone in respect for my loss, but it doesn’t work that way. Time passes, even if slowly, but it does pass. Life goes on as if we have been dropped on life’s conveyor belt whether we choose to be or not.

I couldn’t lay on the grass too long or I wouldn’t be able to get up (okay, no comments). Groaning as I did so, I remembered that 8 years before  I took a walk after I placed the yellow mum on my son’s grave. It was a beautiful fall day just like today. I couldn’t help but talk in my heart to my son, telling him about all the beauty he was missing. But his heart was too broken for joy. In spite of my pain, he is where he needs to be. It was his decision and his actions force me to live with the result. He is unaware of the passage of time, the rush of living or the pain he has forced on his family. He is at peace. I’d rather he be just sleeping in his bed and I could call him awake or call him mid evening to see how his day has gone, but I can’t. Where he is, I can’t call. All contact has been cut off. The wires are severed. There is no communication from my loved ones who have been laid to rest. Not yet anyway. But soon that will change. God says in His promises that Jesus will return! He will come in the clouds and turn our mourning into dancing! We will shed tears of joy at the glad reunion in the beautiful, immense sky above. Instead of the jarring noise of traffic, heaven’s choir will burst into song and, we will forever be with our loved ones, where not even mums will die.

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  Psalm 30:11

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him . . . and He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  Revelation 1:7; 21:4

Still . . . “Falling Unto Mercy”

My best dog ever, j'ai nommé : P.o.u.k.a :)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“His mercy extends beyond my brokenness.” Kay Warren, New Life Live radio ministry

I love God because He listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him. Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help: “Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!” God is gracious—it is He who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, He saved me.  Psalm 116:1-6, The Message

Loving Father,

I have probably called to You for mercy more in the last few years since we lost our son than all the other years put together. I don’t think that I really understood what it was either . . . but now I do . . . and oh how I need it.

Webster defines “mercy” with such words as: refrain from doing harm, forgiveness, kindness, or blessing ~ but nothing defines mercy better than all the promises that can be mined throughout Your Word. Each one is rich with meaning and eloquently stated:

“But I have trusted, leaned on, and been confident in Your mercy and loving kindness; my heart shall rejoice and be in high spirits in Your salvation.”  Psalm 13:5

“God Most High, have pity on me! Have mercy. I run to You for safety. In the shadow of Your wings, I seek protection till danger dies down.”  Psalm 57:1-3

“My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for Your help. O Lord; I lift my hands to You for mercy.”  Psalm 89:9

“For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then My faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”  Isaiah 54:10

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!”  1 Chronicles 16:34

shared from ~ “Shattered by Suicide, My Conversations with God After the Tragic Death of My Son”

Seasons of acceptance – poem by Vicki

Blogging a poem from a friend I’ve not yet met . . .

“Just For Today”

A Wild Cherry in flower. Français : Un Merisie...

A Wild Cherry in flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just for today ~  I will try to live through the next 24 hours and not expect to get over my child’s death, but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.

Just for today I will remember my child’s life, not just his death, and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days and moments we shared.

Just for today ~  I will forgive all the family and friends who didn’t help or comfort me the way I needed them to. They truly did not know how.

Summer Shoes

Summer Shoes (Photo credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis)

 

Just for today ~ I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside, for maybe if I smile a little, my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.

Just for today ~ I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child,

Just for today ~ I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child, for they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other.

English: Footpath downward through Grant Park ...

English: Footpath downward through Grant Park in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the fall season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just for today ~  I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt, for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world I could of done to save my child from death, I would of done it.

Just for today ~ I will honor my child’s memory by doing something with another child because I know that would make my own child proud.

Just for today ~ I will offer my hand in friendship to another bereaved parent for I do know how they feel.

Just for today ~ when my heart feels like breaking, I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving and the only reason I hurt is because I had the privilege of loving so much.

Trees1

Winter ~ Trees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just for today ~ I will not compare myself with others. I am fortunate to be who I am and have had my child for as long as I did.

Just for today ~ I will allow myself to be happy, for I know that I am not deserting him by living on.

Just for today ~ I will accept that I did not die when my child did, my life did go on, and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.

~Poem by Vicki Tushingham

Hynmlines: “I’m a Child of the King”

My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!

song sparrow singing

song sparrow singing (Photo credit: minicooper93402)

Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.

Yes, this is an old, old song and for some of you younger folk, it may cause you to smile at the old language, but to me it is beautiful and priceless and provides a treasure trove  of memories.

You see, my mother taught me this song when I was “knee high to a grasshopper” as they say where I come from. And I can still see us standing around the piano singing as the evening shadows deepened replacing the last rays of the setting sun.

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;

But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His when He comes by and by.

These memories are more precious to me now since my parents have both gone to their rest.  Just when they got all of us kids raised and they had the time to relax and enjoy life, maybe even travel a bit, mother grew sick with Alzheimer’s disease. My parents had made a pact between them that they would take care of each other rather than resort to nursing home care. In their eyes it must not have been an option and my daddy learned how to take care of mother. He took over the household duties. He tied her shoe laces and brushed her teeth and combed her hair. He bathed and fed her when she could no longer hold a spoon.

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,

But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.

Those of you who have experience with this hideous disease, know that it robs the senses, sometimes slowly, but often quickly. It got a quick grip on mother and soon she lost her ability to speak. Unable to say what was on her heart, it frustrated her so and pained us all so much to watch.  But when the family could once again gather around the piano, my mother “found her voice”.

We were all shocked and hushed to a whisper ~ transfixed by mother’s beautiful voice and perfect diction ~ her eyes closed as she sang from deep within her soul the words committed to memory so long ago.   Apparently what was in her mind and heart from a lifetime of singing returned to gift us all. Her face took on the glow of heaven while she sang ~ she was free for a few moments ~ but once the music stopped the disease gripped mother’s vocal cords and silenced her once again.

A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;

Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.

Little did I know that while I was learning these words, which meant little to my childish heart, they would come back to me now and bless me once again. Memories may be all we have now, but not for long. We have the hope of resurrection morning and my mother will sing again. The words of this song remind me of who I am; who I belong to and soon He will come back and claim His kids and we will be reunited with our loved ones ~ forever children of the heavenly King.

Refrain

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.

Words: Har­ri­et E. Bu­ell, 1877

Music: John B. Sum­ner, 1877