Wisdom from My Mother

It had been one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad, days and I was contemplating a move to Australia.

The farming, marketing, processing, and livestocking was about to kill me. Not to mention the fact I’m still a wife, homemaker, daughter, and church member. Everyday I got up looked at my list, checked it off and just like Pinocchio’s nose, when I got up the next morning it grew.

So a few weeks ago, after I’d had an especially taxing morning, I pushed Mom onto our front porch. We gazed over the 10 acre field dotted with colored leaves. My heart churned with anxiety and ungratefulness.

I glanced at Mom in her wheelchair. At 94, her life consists of eating, sleeping, watching TV, and reading when her eyes allow. She is dependent on caregivers to aid her in bathing, walking, and toiletry. Sometimes she gets out once a week and sometimes she doesn’t.

I had a thought. Maybe I could do one thing right. I’d try to be a better daughter and caregiver. “Mom, if you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?” I calculated the extensive list of circumstances and people I’d change.

Without missing a beat she replied. “Not a thing.”

I couldn’t believe it. “You mean you can’t think of anything you would change about your situation.?” I observed her worn face with skin that is breaking down.

“No, not really.”

I hadn’t even asked her for advice, yet her simple words spoke volumes. My eyes watered. My heart bowed low.

I say I believe in the sovereignty of God, but I’d been living like I’m the sovereign one.

Like Moses, I’m in a desert place. A place where I have to be dependent on God. Not my friends, not my church, not my family, but on Him. It’s a hard place to be.

Years ago, I studied the book of Isaiah and claimed a verse as my own.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Is. 30:15.

I repented. And I’m trying to rest. Not work but trust. I need to talk less and pray more.

It’s a hard place to be, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Besides, who wants to move to Australia?

 

 

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

 

As I prepared to sing the night before Palm Sunday, I glanced up at the cross hung which on our bedroom wall. Tom and I received it as a wedding gift from a soldier of the Clearwater Salvation Army Corp. It’s a beautiful piece of art, made by Art Fielgley.

He fashioned redwood, walnut, and birds eye maple into a stunning representation of the cross of Christ.

In the 32 years of our marriage, often it’s been in a closet or a back room. But when we had our farm house built, Tom hung it above his dresser. I have a perfect view of it from my side of the bed.

Through 32 years of marriage, and children, and caregiving, and life, I’ve lived beneath His cross even though it lay packed in a box. The cross of His forgiveness. The cross of His suffering. The cross of His love.

For me, the cross represented repentance and humbling–not just one time, but daily. When I’m impatient, or angry, or gossip or lie, I remember the cross and it brings me to my knees.

You’ve only got a day until Easter. Why not bask in the cross of our risen Savior? Search the pages of Scripture for the hows and whys and then worship.

Here are the lyrics of the song I sang yesterday. Crawl beneath His cross. It’s both a safe and wonderful place to be.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I find a place to stand,
And wonder at such mercy
That calls me as I am;
For hands that should discard me
Hold wounds which tell me, “Come.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus
My unworthy soul is won.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
His family is my own-
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams,
Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor
The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus
See the children called by God.

Beneath the cross of Jesus-
The path before the crown-
We follow in His footsteps
Where promised hope is found.
How great the joy before us
To be His perfect bride;
Beneath the cross of Jesus
We will gladly live our lives.

 

 

 

 

God’s Not Dead

In a world that might make ancient Rome blush, it’s refreshing to find a movie that is relevant, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

My sister-in-law sent me money for my 55th birthday, so Tom and I decided to head out early to a tapas restaurant and see a movie. Noah had already started, so we opted for God’s Not Dead. I’m really glad. I don’t think Noah will be my kind of movie even though it stars Russell Crow, one of my favorites.

After I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie. We went in Mom’s room to hang out before we went to bed, and turned to channel 378 on DirecTV–the NRB Network. A Christian and an atheist were debating about the existence of God. It seemed like the storyline for the movie just continued from the theatre to my house.

God must laugh at our debates.

But He won’t laugh long.

One day, He will pour out His wrath on mankind for their stubborn disobedience and inconceivable arrogance.

Those of us who believe in God and understand grace don’t boast about being smarter or more righteous. As I understand more about God’s grace, it makes me bow low. Humbles me and amazes me. That He loves me. That He died for me.

The true story of Easter. An actual historical event. Jesus stepped into time.

For today’s Lent song, why don’t you listen to this song sung by Selah about our wonderful, merciful, Savior.

No, God’s Not Dead. He’s waiting. For you.

 

He Lives Because of Eye Witnesses and BTW, in My Heart

My pastor, David Brady is stuck on I Cor. 15 and I’m glad.

He’s been challenging my thinking and helping me consider the resurrection of Christ with fresh eyes.

I’m trying to sing my way through Lent to prepare my heart for Easter, and tonight, I soloed in the shower. My repertoire consisted of “The Longer I Serve Him,” to “The King is Coming,” and “He Lives.”

My pastor from Christ Community Church of Mt. Airy, NC reviewed “He Lives.” His only problem (if you can call it that), is with “you ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”

That’s true. He lives in my heart. But that’s not how I know He lives. That’s David’s point.

We’re back to I Cor. 15. Paul names the eye witnesses. Look it up. 500+ people saw Christ over a 40-day period and were willing to die for it.

We don’t just hope Christ is resurrected at Easter and have a warm, fuzzy, feeling, kind of like the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus. We have an actual historical event, backed up by eye witness testimonies with several original manuscript confirming His death and resurrection.

Easter is really the apex of history.

And just like Easter was foretold in both the Old Testament and New Testament, His return is also imminent. A future event.

I can’t wait!

Are you ready?

Perhaps the reason Mr. Ackley used the lyrics, “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart,” was because “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives because (for you music people a VERY LONG Bird’s eye) He appeared to Cephas, then the twelve, then to 500 brothers at one time, and James, and to all the apostles, and one untimely born (all on one note)AND (big crescendo) He lives within my heart,” was a little too long.

Like this sentence.

Hallelujah! He lives!

Sing along with Alan Jackson and worship my friend.

 

 

 

My New Rocks

A few years ago I wrote two articles titled, “Go Back to the Rocks.” I got the idea from the patriarchs. Whenever God worked miraculously in their lives, they built a rock pile.

So I wondered what would happen if I did the same. If every time the Lord spoke into my life through a life-changing event, or a thoughtful person, or a bizarre circumstance that could never have happened without divine intervention, I literally piled up a heap of rocks? My life would resemble a quarry.

But I don’t do that so I forget.

I fret and worry and doubt Him.

Not this weekend. My son got married to a lovely young woman. Rock. Tom and I and my daughter and her husband stayed with a friend who lives on the beach. She wasn’t even invited to the wedding! (It was small.) And she bought me a rather large gift card to my favorite coffee place. Rock.

The week before that, I met a woman in Bible Study Fellowship and asked her to go for a cheap lunch. She already had a lunch date but asked if we could take a rain check until the next week.

I frowned. “It’s not that I don’t want to go to lunch with you. I just need to reevaluate my BSF attendance. It’s so far and gas is so expensive. Plus, it takes me away from our farm for several hours a week.”

I attended the following week and met with some of the ladies for a cheap lunch. On my way out, the lady I’d asked dropped a card into my purse. It contained a $100 gas card. Rock.

My friends in Florida hosted the rehearsal dinner and drove me around. Another bought my lunch. In North Carolina, Tom and I found a church family and pastor that loves and accepts and ministers to us like we’d been there for decades. We have a home and chickens and dogs and kittens and crops.

Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock.

Then there’s always how the Lord answers my prayers. How He leads me to pray for humility, then I don’t get any writing jobs and have to clean up chicken poop and hear sermons about humility and have someone slight me and then I read a Scripture passage that might as well have “Dear Pauline” before it.

The older I get, the more I’m amazed at God’s tender care for me.

When I don’t deserve one bit of it.

It reminds me of a passage from 2 Samuel 7 where God shares His plans for David. It’s called the Davidic Covenant. David is wowed. Verse 18 says this:

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?’”

Who am I? was all I could think about this weekend.

As the Lent seasons continues, Who am I? resounds even more.

Meditate on those rocks, friend.

They’re everywhere.

If you’d like to read my Rock article, I’ll post the link after this amazing Casting Crowns song.

http://mtlmagazine.com/article/go-back-to-the-rocks/