Archive | December 2014

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Waiting . . .

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While I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came flying down to where I was. Daniel 9:21, GNT

It’s difficult to wait isn’t it? This post happens to be sandwiched between two holidays and we just survived Christmas, the one that we can’t wait for it to get here so that we can open the presents under the tree, at least if you are a child. I no longer have the anticipation as I did back then. If you still have small children at home, I hope you got some joy out of watching them count down the days in anticipation. It couldn’t come soon enough for them, right?

For many of us, however, we feel the agony of loss all over again as the Christmas holiday draws near. Once again we miss the loved ones no longer part of our family gathering. If this was your first Christmas without them, I know the pain is sharp and relentless and I am sorry for all the painful reminders that tell us that holidays from here on out will never be the same.

As I do a little reflecting between holidays, I am reminded that

with the birth of each of my children

I anticipated a life full of joy; one that captured each moment

of growth and I took pride in each accomplishment.

There is no room in this picture for sorrow.

Hugs, kisses, wisdom to share ~

We can do all those, but mortuaries and cemeteries?

They are not on the list.

I happen to live near a cemetery, one I often passed by

noting such activities as a new grave being dug,

which signals that there will be mourners gathering there soon.

But that was their reality ~ that reality belonged to others,

not to me.

But horror of horrors, it became my reality . . . and yours too?

And now I don’t pass by, I stop.

My son is buried there.

My son died by suicide.

I didn’t want to give him up, but I had to release him to the earth,

All but his heart ~ which I carry deep within mine.

There will be a new reality. I don’t know just when, but it will be “soon” ~ a soon that drags on slower than my heart’s longing. Please reread the text above. What I find interesting is that Daniel did not have to wait. Here is an example of someone praying and the answer “flew in” before he said Amen. Before he finished praying to God, an answer was dispatched from heaven, thousands of years of light away ~ and arrived on the lips of the angel, Gabriel, who came to deliver it in person before Daniel finished praying! Astounding, is it not?

Although this interesting fact is a quote from the Bible, a very old book, I take courage from this bit of trivia, if it makes sense to call it that. We both can take courage from this scripture. How? It says to me, “You have to wait now, but it won’t always be so. You long to see your child again, and other loved ones you are outliving, but you won’t always miss them. Soon, waiting will be a fact from your past, not from your future.”

There will be the shout of command, the archangel’s voice, the sound of God’s trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first.”  1 Thessalonians 4:16, GNT

Let’s take comfort in these words while we wait.

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on December 26, 2014. 2 Comments

You are worth it!

Ornament from the Love Came Down Christmas Collection

Love takes effort. Love takes risks. Love says you are worth it, friend. Do believe it? There can be no greater gift this Christmas that to know without a shadow of a doubt that God is head-over-heels in love with you! Read on as Holley shares from her heart ~

I tap my pen impatiently on the corner of a college classroom desk and glance at the darkening sky outside the window. I’m hoping my professor will wrap up the lecture before the clouds split wide open. But by the time I grab my backpack and head out the door I can already hear raindrops like tiny bombs exploding on the ceiling.

As I step into the hall I see my boyfriend {now my husband} waiting for me. And he’s holding an umbrella. Someone has come for me…

Someone put my needs before their comfort. Someone loved me enough to make the effort. Someone believed I was worth the risk and rain.

And this, friend, is the hope Christmas offers us.

I don’t know what your life has held. I don’t know who has walked into or out of the door of your heart. I don’t know if you’ve had lots of umbrellas or have shivered in the damp for far too long. I don’t know what you were told about your worth or your beauty or your place in this world.

But I know this: you are a woman worth pursuing.

Do not let anyone in your life ever make you feel as if you are not worth the effort of loving. Promise me you will not believe that lie. Because if God himself has said it is so then no human can trump that truth. He has declared you are valuable, cherished and nothing can keep him from you…

I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! {Rom. 8:37-39}

Love came for Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Love came to a manger the first Christmas.

And one day when we least expect it, the clouds will split and Love will come for us again.

~Holley Gerth

Gift yourself

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Psalm 62:5, NIV

Relax ~ He's got you covered

Relax ~ He’s got you covered

This little guy is not usually pictured center stage this time of year, but I love it because he looks totally relaxed. What a blessing it is to relax! But the holidays pushes so many buttons, and all seem to demand that we hustle and bustle, so who can spare the time to just be? Maybe we should give some thought to lowering our expectations just a bit, do less pushing through what is expected, and just enjoy the time reconnecting with those we love, even though many of us are missing someone precious at our table this year.

I like Holley’s ideas on Christmas. Perhaps there is a takeaway gift that money cannot buy:

“The wrapping paper lays scattered across the coffee table. Cookie dough sits in the refrigerator waiting for its turn in the oven. Text messages and voice mails beckon “answer me” from your phone.

The to-do has a few lonely items without a check mark next to them. Sometimes it feels this time of year that it will never be done. 

So we rush through the holy. We stress out through the sacred. We worry that we won’t get it right. We fall into bed exhausted at night. We act like Christmas coming depends on us but Christmas is a Person and He already came. 

He whispers to our weary hearts what He said on the cross: “It is finished” {John 19:30}.

In other words, all that really needs doing has already been done. We can relax, rest, enjoy…let the house get a little messy, the wrapping paper be a bit crooked, the cookies be scandalously eaten raw with the family and friends we’ve finally gotten back to on that phone.

christmas-treeChristmas is meant to be a gift not a burden. Receive it. Know that you’re loved. Know that it’s enough. Know there is grace for you that came on a tree without any twinkling lights. Know that ‘it is finished’. 

Then rest. And rejoice. Because Christ still has Christmas covered.”

~Holley Gerth

 

This entry was posted on December 13, 2014. 4 Comments

Bless the broken

They are blessed who grieve, for God will comfort them. Matthew 5:4, NCV

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Lord, please bless the broken, the bent over, the  shattered, the faint of heart. You know we are all broken from something in this life. Whether from tragedy or unfortunate circumstances or from disease; there are no exceptions. I long for you to visit my town and heal my brokenness. There would be standing room only in a line spanning miles and miles just to get a glimpse. You know each sorrow, each pain, each struggle and you see each victory too. May we hope in restoration ~ which will come, for you have promised. Thank you for blessing those who mourn, amen.

“There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years.” Luke 13:10, MSG 

Can you picture her? She’s so bent over that her eyes face downward. All she can see are feet ~ hers and a few others if they happen to drift into her vision. But more likely she is avoided as if stricken with a contagious disease. Gravity and disease had twisted and pulled at her spine until she was humpbacked and living life as an outcast if you can call this living. It had been 18 long years! And what she wouldn’t give for relief ~ even if only for a few minutes so she could take a deep breath;  something as simple as this involuntarily action which we take for granted, but she had not been able to do it for a long time.

Suddenly she is being spoken to. Jesus did not call her name, but addressed her as “Woman”, but she knew this kind voice was speaking to her. Slowly and painfully she walked toward the sound . . .

When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God.”  Luke 13:10-13, MSG

How wonderful that today was her day for miraculous healing! She must have jumped for joy! The witnesses were happy for her too, but not all of them. The self-righteous religious leaders were furious that Jesus would heal this poor woman on the Sabbath and shouted loud enough for everyone to hear . . .

“Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the seventh, the Sabbath.” But Jesus shot back, “You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly unties your cow or donkey from its stall, leads it out for water, and thinks nothing of it. So why isn’t it all right for me to untie this daughter of Abraham and lead her from the stall where Satan has had her tied these eighteen years?” Luke 13:14-16, MSG

Seriously? Which one of them would want to wait for healing if they were in excruciating pain? It seems like Jesus couldn’t heal anyone without the Jewish leaders complaining  or attempting to push Him off a cliff! (Luke 4:29, NCV) I so love Jesus’ tenderness and love, but I also love His bold stance for justice, don’t you? He yearned to heal people from sin and disease. But did you notice who He blamed for this woman’s affliction? He planted the blame squarely on the back of Satan.

It was the prince of darkness who bound this woman for 18 years and it was the Son of Righteousness who set her free!

It is natural to look for a culprit when we are so broken with aching hearts. If we are looking for someone to blame for the death of a loved one, we have our answer right here. We can pin the blame squarely on Satan for he is to blame, not God. This story was told a long time ago, but Satan hasn’t changed his character. He still seeks to maim and destroy. (John 10:10, NIV) And God hasn’t changed his character either. He still seeks to save the lost. (Luke 19:10, NIV)

There are days when I feel the enemy’s boot on my back, pushing me into the dirt of life. He wants me to crack under pressure. He wants me to give up and quit. He can sneer, blow smoke from his nostrils, push and shove, but he can’t make me follow him. He knows we survivors are a force to be reckoned with when armed with the Word of God and it makes him tremble. When we are bent over and stuck from the cares and woes of life, who does not benefit from the healing touch of Jesus? All we have to do is call on his name.

 He placed his hands on every one of them and healed them all. Luke 4:40, GNT