Tag Archive | Christianity

Exotic Places to Live

As she approached I remembered her daughter had lived in Asia.  Probably prompted by my daughter’s potential adventure.  I asked how her daughter was doing.  She brightened and answered, “Oh she’s doing great!  She’s married and lives in Seattle now.  Now my son lives in Amsterdam and I got to visit him.”

It wasn’t one-upmanship, really.  The thought strolled into my mind unbidden and unspoken.  Filling my heart with joy.  “My son lives in heaven and when I go to see him it will be to stay.”

 

A Far Greater Part of Our Future Than of Our Past

Remember Me (2)

 

There are times when an ordinary day becomes tremendously significant and profound comfort comes from a most unlikely place.

Seventeen years ago it was a crisp, beautiful Saturday like today.  My husband was at his regular early morning tennis match, my soon to be 9-year old daughter was nestled comfortably in her bed.  I  was excited about the day.   On the kitchen counter was a decorated birthday cake prepared the night before for my daughter’s birthday party to be held at the local swimming pool that afternoon.  On the table were  the preparations for a morning baby shower to celebrate my sister’s 10-day old son.  The plan of the day was fun, life affirming celebrations!  But nothing went according to my plan.

Something was horribly wrong.  My quiet, well-planned morning quickly became paramedics pounding on my door, my pajama-clad daughter being shuttled by strangers to the next-door neighbor and an ambulance transport to the hospital for an emergency C-section.  There would be no sibling rivalry, no dad coaching his son’s little league team, no cousins playing and growing together.  No 17-year-old son doing whatever they do regarding their mom.

JaredA couple of months ago, before she returned to college, one of the things my daughter wanted to do as a family was visit her brother’s gravesite.  In our little somewhat yearly ritual we look at the gravestone, clear off grass and any other debris and think about what might have been and what might be.  We look at the other grave markers and take note of the dates and the families and allow a little stab of pain to enter our hearts as we see new markers have been added and know the pain others have experienced.  This time though, a phrase on one of the markers caught our attention and spoke profoundly to our hearts.

Future Hope (2)

We pondered that last phrase and considered the truth of it.  He is a far greater part of our future than he is of our past.  The pain of the past, the emptiness of the present is nothing compared to the joy and gladness we will know in the future.  We grasp at straws to extract as much meaning as we can from the seven months and nine short hours that our Jared lived with us on earth.  Throughout each passing year we remember at odd and sometimes unexpected times this person that we did not have the opportunity to get to know and wonder, as the Kenney Chestney song says, “Who You’d Be Today.”   But our eternal future stretches unendingly before us filled with promise and hope.  A hope that we are assured will not make us ashamed or disappoint us.  A hope that serves as the anchor of the soul.  And he’ll be there.

We miss the good that we imagine would have accompanied Jared’s life with us here.  But this world is filled with pitfalls, and I have spent sleepless hours praying for my daughter, concerned about her well being, wondering about her future. I admit, I have not had one anxious thought about my son’s well-being.  I have not said one prayer for his safety or his future.  I have perfect assurance that he is in good hands and immune to the dangers of this mortal life.  His mortal has already put on immortality.

Parents want their children to be remembered.

Parents want their children to be remembered.

This grave marker also struck me because the parents put “Remember Me” at the top of it.

That was such a large part of my grief, thinking no one would remember my child.  How could they?  They wouldn’t even know he existed.  That is why I chose “Zachary” for his middle name.  Zachary means God remembers.  That is why I wrote a book of poetry expressing my grief and God’s comfort following our loss and called it “God Remembers.”

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I am grateful for these other families and their silent encouragement to me – left on the markers remembering their child’s short life.

It was a blessing that day to be reminded that my eternal future is a much larger part of me than this earthly existence.  And that my son is a far greater part of my future than he is of my past.

 

A Certain Hope

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When my heart is filled with sadness,
And the songs have all been sung,
When there’s nothing left to say,
And yet the sorrow’s just begun,
When there’s no one to turn to,
And no where to hide,
From the anguish of the soul inside-
When all around my world is cold and gray,
I still hear Him say,
Be not as those that have no hope,
Weeping’s for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Be not as those that have no hope,
Weeping’s for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
When I shall awake, I shall be in thy likeness
When I shall awake, I shall be in thy likeness
For eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
Neither has entered in the heart of man,
The things God has prepared for them that love Him,
For them that love Him.
So, be not as those
that have no hope,
Weeping’s for a night
But joy comes in
The morning
I shall awake in thy likeness.

From God Remembers published 2010

Break the Spiral of Silence

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Awake! Bride of Christ – be brave,
Proclaim that He alone does save,
Proclaim the hard things in His Word,
Do not pretend you have not heard.

Your silence makes it hard to speak,
You become hypocritical and weak,
You bar lost souls from truth they seek,
You contribute to a future bleak.

Bonhoeffer saw the evil of his day,
And that most of the church had nothing to say,
Sin of selfishness and pride,
Because of silence millions died.

The same is happening today,
We’re no more innocent than they,
Like Pilot we say, “I wash my hand”
And do not dare to take a stand.

Promoting tolerance not Truth,
Filled with all the lusts of youth,
Failing to heed prophetic voice,
Awake and make a better choice!

We rather like psychology,
Trust evolution and ecology,
And other types of so-called science,
Have our allegiance and compliance.

But to believe the Word of God,
Is too simplistic and quite odd,
We don’t like that old-fashioned stuff,
The savvy know it’s not enough.

And so the culture makes the rules,
Without our influence or our tools,
While we embrace the crumbs they give,
And miss the way God says to live.

Repent! Know resurrection power!
Let God reform your heart this hour,
Jesus alone can truly save,
From chains of sin that hold us slave.

Your silence will not set you free,
Friend of the world you cannot be,
Fear not what man can do to you,
Have courage! To His Word be true.

Don’t shave the truth to not offend,
To every whim of culture bend,
Have you not learned or understood?
Your silence does more harm than good.

But learn to speak the truth in love,
One goal – to please the LORD above,
Even if persecution falls,
Stand up for Jesus when He calls.

I recently listened to a powerful discussion between Dr. Erwin Lutzer and Eric Metaxas titled “The Role of the Church in Our Culture” and this poem is my response. Hear the discussion for yourself at http://www.moodymedia.org/sermons/-/role-church-our-culture/#.UIWkyJUU.IU

His Still Small Voice

Rest your mind,
Don’t try to do My job for Me,
You never can.
You are safe with Me,
Even now, right where you are.
Lord, what is this painful burden
In my heart?
It is all the things you regret–
Your own actions and those of others,
Things you know now that
could have been better
should have been different
would have been more helpful
The grief does not crush Me
As it does you
I AM big enough
To make it all right.
You must let it go–
Cast your burden on Me
Forgive and be forgiven.

Still Trusting

give thanks

I trust You in the unfulfillment
Of dreams that will not now be
I trust you in the disappointments
That through them You are molding me.

You knew all my youthful heart desired
And led my by a different route
I to full abundant life aspired
By emptiness it comes about?

Man’s designs and human error
Can’t thwart what sovereignly you’ve planned
You still work all things for my good
Though often I don’t understand

Sometimes though, I feel betrayed
By a manipulator’s voice
Fear, confusion, heartache stayed
Persuading me to make a choice

Forgive, wait, study, pray
Endure, persevere, obey
Continue in love; not bitter, be sweet
Know joy, abundance — transformation
From learning at the Savior’s feet.

Sadly though my progress is slow
And I often stumble on this path
There is always so much more to know
So at myself I cry or laugh

Lift my gaze to see past now
Beyond troubles and cares this life brings
Trusting while not knowing how
In waiting you will give me wings.

An Inconvenient Time to Weep

Jesus Wept.

Sitting in the busy, noisy burger joint

Surrounded by a beehive of activity

Assaulted with a surplus of

Sounds, sights, scents and

Sweet, salty and savory sensations.

As I ate my burger and sweet potato fries

Another sensation slowly surfaced

A great sob started in my chest surging upward

Sticking in my throat

Stinging my eyes

As I observed all the different people

Around me

Working, laughing, eating, drinking, talking —

LOST

My heart was being broken

By the things that break His.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kill the prophets and stone them which are set unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!