Sunday Serenity

…. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1  NASB

copyright kanzensukra

copyright kanzensukra

Awake My Soul

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ALW1AwdKEnM I’m sorry, I don’t know how to embed the video.

It has been a hard month.  At times, I felt my whole being was under siege.  Then Spring began to happen in our part of the South.  Flowers began to bloom.  At one shopping area, I saw a whole line of pink cherry trees in full bloom.  I began to remember how my God would never forsake me, how He loves and holds me close always.   This dry soul began to bloom again as His Spirit began to breathe new hope into me.

Ezekiel  37: 1-14  I hope you all can follow the link to this very different song.  It is not just about God telling Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones of the valley; how the bones became flesh and breathe.  It is also about God breathing into our dry souls and bringing new life to us; how He alone can awake our souls.

This song by Chris Tomlin is not your tame bit of Christian music – it is a full rocker.  Bless you all during this season leading up to the resurrection of our Lord.

Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
Breathe on me, breath of God, breathe on me
I come alive, I’m alive when you breathe on me
I come alive, I’m alive when you breathe on me

Chorus:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul

Speak to me, word of God, speak to me
Speak to me, word of God, speak to me
I come alive, I’m alive when you speak to me
I come alive, I’m alive when you speak to me

Chorus:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul

Lecrae:
Then He said to me,
Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones,
I will make breath into you,
And you will come to life.”
So I prophesied as I was commanded.
As I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound,
And the bones came together, bone to bone.
And I looked, and tendons and the flesh appeared on them,
And skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then He said to me,
Prophesy to the breath,
Prophesy, son of man, and say to it,
Come from four winds, oh breath, and breathe.

Chorus:
Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, for you alone
Awake my soul

Lecrae:
Yeah, I’m not alone, I realize
I breathe out, I come alive
Your word gives life to my dry bones
Your breath tells death it can ride on
Awake me, make me a living stone,
A testament to your throne, I
I’m nothing without you, I’m on my own
The only one who satisfies my soul

Read more: http://www.lyricspremiere.com/chris-tomlin-awake-my-soul-lyrics.html#ixzz2Nj6z6gBM

# 1 on the List

 

A co-worker has a list posted outside of her cubicle.  It is full of sayings, you know the kind.  But #1 is “Life isn’t fair, but it is still good.”   Well, actually, sometimes it isn’t but hopefully, it will be.  A few weeks ago, I read a post on another blog that broke my heart.  I am a sucker for the helpless and if the helpless is a child or an animal, my heart bleeds forever.

 There was a posting about a street dog who although sick and suffering, was tortured by “humans” because the dying dog bothered them.  Hello?  Bothered them???  My rage turned to pain and then grief and I am still grieving for that dog.  I will grieve until I lose my memory.  I have been thinking since then, that what causes us pain, what causes us to pray to God for mercy for those who only He remembers, is what makes us truly human.  See blog at:  http://globalinfo4all.wordpress.com/   (good stuff here but sometimes, it will break your heart – but always inspiring.  Check it out)

 Let me go back 15 years.  I was working for a state agency and my job was to approve and authorize hospice care.  I mainly dealt with persons who were HIV+.  I also volunteered for a local AIDS network who helped those who were disabled by the disease or dying by getting their groceries, caring for their pets, emptying their garbage, changing their diapers….holding their hands and loving them because many of them had been disowned by their families and their….dying bothered them. 

 I was contacted, off the record, by a policeman who was acquainted with me.  He told me they had hauled in a homeless, 13 year old HIV+ girl.  Her mother had died several months earlier of AIDS.  The girl’s grandmother grudgingly took them in but the girl took care of her mom – food, clothing, sick care, everything.  She had contracted HIV by being raped by her mother’s HIV+ boyfriend.  The grandmother was ashamed of them and turned her back because their illness and dying bothered her.  When the mother died, the grandmother turned the girl out on the street.

 The policeman had noticed the girl off and on and how her condition was deteriorating.  He contacted me to see if I could help.  I went to the juvenile facilities to see the girl – thin, dirty, tired, frightened, covered with sores and obviously picked at/abused by passersby who were bothered by her dying.  I arranged for her to be taken to a children’s hospice.  I then stayed with her until they came to get her.  I washed her face and hands, combed her hair, hugged her.  She melted into my arms and then she asked,  “am I going to die?”.  I pulled her closer and said, “Yes, you are going to die.  But you will be taken care of.  You will be clean and treated kindly and loved.  And when you die, you will be mourned and you will be missed.”  Three weeks late, she died at the hospice. 

 So, life was not good for the dog or the girl.  In some ways, though, it did get better although they went through hell to get to something better.  The dog died and was given a decent burial by a group that cared for the sick, smelly, scabby animal and tried to do the right thing for it.  Anna died but she was loved. 

 To this day, I mourn and grieve for her.  She has been added to that special place in my heart for those whom everyone except God has forgotten.  She lives there with the dog and other animals and people who shouldn’t have been treated as they were – some of whom died alone.

 So what makes us human?  What adds greatness to our humanity?  That room in our heart for those mourned by maybe, only us.

Valentine John 3:16

 

 Blessings to you all

 

“For God so loVed the world,

        that He gAve

             His onLy

             begottEn

                  SoN,

                      That whosoever

        believeth In Him

           should Not perish,

        but have Everlasting life.”

John 3:16

My BIG decision…

It was from hell week at work- again….my boss who is almost (not quite. I’m older and have clocked in my time with this) as arrogant as I, pushed every button in my psyche he could put his hands on.  I’ve been battling with my depression over the past few weeks and my resistance was low.  I didn’t blow but I really wanted to.

After going to church today and hearing a toe (mine) stomping sermon about anger and hearing Beni do his magic with a song, I made a big decision.  Afterwards at the church dinner, I hung out with the teens and introduced the girls to sugar and butter delicious Takeshi Kaneshiro and having lunch with them, I left church and went to the Japanese Garden to visit the nishikigoi.  I’ll clarify something……The gorgeous actor was not with me.  I just happened to mention, while they were talking about hot guys, this wonderful actor and reeled off a half dozen of his movies for them.

Anyway, while teasing the nishikigoi with a few chopped grapes, I went all quiet inside myself.  I just raised a white flag and surrendered my anger at my boss and my situation.  I took the target off my back and the “Easy Button” off my soul.  I had a talk with Jesus, told him all my troubles, took them out of my IN basket and put them in His.  I’m a control freak.  It was hard and I imagine I’ll need a reminder.

But today, I decided I am back in control of my life – not the government, not my boss, not my gossipy co-workers, not my passive husband, not my mother, not my cat (we all know though there is no snooze alarm on a cat who wants his breakfast).

I am going to start flexing my faith muscle again – it’s gotten flabby over the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been listening to some old 8 track tapes that say over and over again – you’re a failure.  You aren’t pretty.  You aren’t smart enough.  You never became what my father and I wanted you to be.  You aren’t a typical woman – you aren’t the wife I thought I could make you become.  You are old and useless.  You have accomplished nothing.  Your father would be ashamed……I’m sorry. I’ve installed a new soundsystem and these tapes don’t work in the new one.

I understand particle physics.  I know about string theory.  I’m a mean Kendo partner.  I spar full tilt.  I am kind to animals.  Even herons will eat from my hand.  I am a supportive and loyal friend.  I have become a woman who can ballroom dance (I am an excellent tango-er) and I have three – yes three different Star Trek uniforms in my closet.  I have attained commander status.  I know more about cooking and cooking history and cooking chemistry than any one human should know.  I had an amazing and incredible love in my life.  I can smell snow when it is coming.  I am going to teach the teens how to make various types of sushi.

And to top off all of these amazing things, I have as my friend, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He loves me and all He wants me to do is sit at His feet and learn from Him and be loved by Him.  He doesn’t give pop quizzes or call me out in front of the class.  I am precious in His sight.

His will has become my will.  He doesn’t call me to anything great or noble or amazing…..He doesn’t say I have to be a doctor, or lawyer, or engineer, or pretty, or a stay at home mom, or a preacher….He just calls me to love others as He loves me.  It’s a hard job and it is one that can’t be done while harboring anger and carrying toxic baggage.

So that is my decision for today – God bless you all on your journies as you find what it is you need.  I know a great nishikigoi pond to hang out by.  It is open 24/7/365…

12/21/12 12:21 am

The earth softly turns

In its sleep.  A sigh in the

Dark.  Sussuration.

 

A half moon gently

Glows through India ink tree

Branches.  Bare.  Frozen

 

In time. Ending and

Beginning as well.  Beginning

Winter and iron

 

Earth.  Ending of warm

Soil and extravagant blooms.

Time to rest, repair.

 

My footsteps crunch on

Frosted grass.  No fear of this

Darkness, this aloness.

 

No grief at this end.

No fear of this beginning.

Silent. Aware. Calm.

 

The earth softly turns.

I hear it sighing in its sleep.

I smile in darkness.

 

HOPE – エレミヤ書 29:11

エレミヤ書  29:11

主は言われる、わたしがあなたがたに対していだい ている計画はわたしが知っている. それは災を与え

ようというのではなく、平安を与えようとするもの

であり、あなたがたに将来を与え、希望を与えよう

とするものである

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Today, we need hope more than ever.  Thousands of years ago, God spoke to the people of Israel, exiles (captives) in Babylon.  They were taken away from their homes, their property, children – everything taken from them and their lives turned upside down and totally changed.  Their city and temple was destroyed.

A few years later, God would use Nehemiah to bring these exiles back to their home and rebuild their temple.  And years even later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be born as a child (please read my post Why Christmas) and to live among us, die for us, rise from the dead to save us from eternal death and give us life everlasting.

God looked all the way down the millennia to then to now.  He still speaks to us.  He still has hope for us.  His Son still loves us. 

In spite of everything ugly, frightening, horrible, catastrophic, WE STILL HAVE HOPE!

John 3:16 – 17  God loves us so much, He sent His only Son to live with us, die for us, and rise from the dead to save us from eternal life.  He was sent not to condemn us, but to save us and give us hope. (my paraphrase)

It is Christmas.  Regardless of what you celebrate, how you worship, I share this with you.  Believe it or not, that is your choice.

But I want you all to know this and to know there is hope.  Be blessed.  God Bless You!  Merry Christmas!

 

imagesCAAF21JL

Why Christmas?

Below is one of my favorite stories of Christmas.  I am not sure who wrote it and most sources for the story say “author Unknown”  If any of you know, I would truly appreciate knowing.  “God loved us so much, He sent His Son to live among us as human.  For God did not want us to perish, but to find the true Light through the birth death, and resurrection of His Son, that we may be saved from darkness (sin) and live with Him forever.”  My paraphrase of John 3:16-17

Now the man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn’t believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn’t make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn’t swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man. “I’m truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.  I don’t quite believe this “Emanneul thing and I don’t understnad enough to truly believe.” He said he’d feel like a hypocrite. That he’d much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They’d been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized, that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him. “If only I could be a bird,” he thought to himself, “and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safety … to the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand.”

At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells – Adeste Fidelis – listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.  “Father forgive me.  Now I understand.”

 

bird in snow

Surprising Survivors II – ME!!! – from Hurricane Cancer

Five years ago, I was in hospital 11/16, recovering from cancer surgery (Please see my post about The 11/16 Society).   It has been five years since that time. 

I count my recovery and survival to various things:  the first is the grace and kindness of my God and His healing power.  After that, I thank my Physician Assistant, my MD (he’s the oncologist the doctors around here send their wives to), the amazing nurses in the hospital unit, and the love and support of my family, friends, and the 11/16 Society. 

I know there are those of you who refuse to see a PA – my insurance pays for a real doctor so I want a real doctor!   My real doctor was too busy to give me my annual pelvic exam so her PA stepped in.  Because he is a diligent person who truly cares, he was hyper-vigilant with the PAP smears – one for normal, one higher up, and yet another higher up. 

 Because of this, ovarian cancer which would have been discovered until the deadly stage was discovered at Ground Zero.  He sent me to the #1 oncologist for such cancers.  My oncologist operated and was able to remove all parts (I think the term I used several times while still groggy was “gutted like a fish”).  He said no other parts were affected but he removed to be safe.  The tiny beginning was removed along with the yet unaffected sections.  He also did laser surgery and used that wonderful glue instead of stitches and staples – no infection, clean healing. 

I kept up my regular visits as ordered from both him and my PA.  I hope in future you will remember this when given a PA instead of a real doctor.  A dear friend of mine and newest member of the 11/16 Society, is in the process of being a PA.  He will be perfect – intelligent, diligent, kind, compassionate.  I can see his sweet face now as he tends to his patients. 

The week before I received my diagnosis, I had to teach a lesson to my Sunday School class about acceptance – of God doing things in His own way and His own time – bringing us out/through the exile of divorce, disease, depression, unemployment, grief, homelessness (Jeremiah 29:4-14).  If we seek Him, He will find us and when the time is right, He will bring us home (my version of this long scripture).  It also assures us God is aware of us and His plans for us – His plans, not ours.  When I received the diagnosis, I at first felt I had been sucker punched.  But then, I began to again go to the truth of this book and verses.  I became calm.  My husband and mother were basket cases. 

When the surgery was over, I was told I was fine and would be fine.  I smiled because I already knew – knew however it ended, I would be fine. 

My friends showered me with cards, flowers, balloons….the members of the 11/16 Society who were still alive or in the US, camped out when allowed and smiled and smiled – their gift to me was a small satin pillow to use when I needed to cough.  Just what I would have given one of them in similar circumstance.  On my birthday, they kindly ate strawberry shortcake for me and told me how good it was.  Everything tasted like pond scum to me for about a month afterwards. 

This year, I am going to eat my own strawberry shortcake and then send them an email to let them know how good it is and to thank them.  On 11/16, I am going out to dinner with my husband.  I am going to let my friends know and those I didn’t know thank you for your prayers and smiles and good wishes.

Those of you, who like me are survivors – remember how special we are and how we can help others get through their exiles.  Those of you who are just beginning – you have my prayers and smiles and are being carried in heart.  

We are the wildflowers blooming during after a storm in an unlikely season.  We survive storms, frost, wind, sadness.  We are amazing grace, walking.

 

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