The second Sunday in May

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My email is full of blog notifications whose subjects are Mother’s Day. Advertisers on TV are promoting jewelry and other gifts for moms. It’s natural.

When one’s own mother has been dead and gone for over 30 years and the one and only son lives 600 miles away with no chance of being with either of them, Mother’s Day looses it’s luster.

I mailed notes this week to people I care about who are missing a mother this year. Death snatches those we love, and we are left holding our broken hearts and holding in the tears. What do you do with swelling droplets in the eyes when the rest of the world celebrates?

Friends face another sort of day with a mother whose memory is fading, who may not remember in the next hour the call, the gift, or the visit. The scenario delivers an all-together different kind of heartbreak.

It is always the same. Holidays take on different meanings depending on the circumstance we are in. I have celebrated joyfully, and I have prayed that the day would be over.

Death and distance change our view of life. What we had is a memory. We look back and cherish the communion and conversation, heart joined with heart.

Sometimes we look forward wondering how we can go on when it will never be that way again.

We can’t go back to what was. Life is a constant flux, a continual motion and swirl. Treasuring today may be the bravest way to face tomorrow.

If your mother is gone or her memory is not what it used to be, give yourself grace and occasion to cry. Remember the good and be grateful for her.

If your mother is living, go spend time with her if at all possible. Kiss her check and hug her tight. Pick a bouquet of field flowers. Touch her hand and look into her eyes.

Call her if she is far away, and talk to her about your life. She wants to know. Send a note recalling a memory that brings a smile to both your faces.

Tell your mother she did something right. Because we mommas are always wondering about that.

She’s your mother. She lived so much of her life with you in mind. She gave up a lot for you to have what you needed. She loves you like no one else can. She thinks of you always, and prays for you often.

Your voice is the one she wants to hear.

Though the apron strings may have been severed many years ago, her heart strings are still attached. They cannot be torn away.

She’s your mother. Thank God for her.

 

Sunday grace

The Westminster Catechism proclaims the chief end of man is to Glorify God and enjoy him forever.

It is a call to communion, a call to relationship.

God is always the initiator, coming to walk in the garden with Adam and Eve and still seeking them when they hid themselves in their shame.

God called Abraham and wanted to be friends.  He talked with Moses face to face.  He claimed Israel as His wife.

He sent Jesus, thus inviting us to call God our Father, showing us the depth and height, the width and length of love.

The Holy Spirit came to live in His children, ever present to teach us, to empower us, to lead us.

God has made every effort to give us the pleasure of His company.  Nature itself trumpets Him and is testimony of His gifts to mankind.

How do you respond today?

By enjoying God and what He has made we will glorify Him.  A life lived in the joy of salvation and the hope of eternity reflects the light of Heaven.  Finding pleasure in the earth’s beauty draws us to its Maker.

Glorify God and enjoy Him today.

Sunday grace.

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Tasting my life

The bargain books filled a small rolling cart and sat in the middle of the mega store. Being the frugal woman I am, I drew near.

A title caught my attention, Fresh Brewed Life, A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul. It had a picture of big cup of coffee on the front of it.  Naturally I bought it.

It’s interesting how Nicole Johnson, the author, weaves life lessons into coffee comparisons.  I can almost smell the aroma of a fresh cup as I read along.

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The chapter on journaling was of major interest as I paused over her thoughts. Talking about her own handwritten journal entries, this quote grabbed me:

“I wanted to look at the words, savor the experience, feel the joy, and live every moment.  I was so afraid I would forget what had happened to me.”

This is one reason I write, so I won’t forget what happened to me.  At this age it is becoming more important to remember what I did yesterday, what I ate, who I spent time with, what words we shared with each other.  I want to remember.

The author writes about tasting your life by recording and reading the entries of a journal.

And isn’t that exactly the thing?  How often I zip through my day, crossing off items on my list, getting the job done, finishing that task so I feel accomplished at day’s end?

But did I taste my life? Did I savor the conversation? Did I enjoy the process? Did I notice the sky blue and the grass green. Did little girl’s antics amuse me or aggravate me?

And Sweet William with whom I share my days, did I truly listen to him when he talked or was I multi-tasking and only processing the gist of what he said? Did I seek to understand?

Did I call the person who’s been on my mind? Did I send the card I’d been meaning to mail?

Did I pray?

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I’ve gobbled down on-the-run meals when I just needed sustenance to get through the day. I didn’t enjoy my food. The pleasure of the taste did not linger.

I’ve lived some days in the same manner. Survival mode. Get through it. Hope the strength will last until I fall into bed at night.

Savoring life has to be intentional. I have to think about it. I must look for the joy. Sometimes it is a fight to count grace, to actively seek contentment. When I stumble into the pitfalls, I must put on a hard hat, stepping carefully through the rubble, and hope I don’t get hit with a two by four. Even there, I can find something beautiful.

I believe joy is present if I look for it. Maybe I will catch a glimpse through tears. Perhaps I will fall on my knees, face to the ground in surrender to the in-control-God who works good out of devastation and brings life from the ashes.  It could be my walking by faith in the thunderstorm, searching for the rainbow, is the necessary modus operendi at this particular juncture.

My goal is to taste life, the sweet and the bitter, the salty and the bland. It’s the mixture of all the flavors that gives it zest. This is what teaches me to endure,what helps me learn compassion for others, and gives me reason for joyful celebration.

Small the aroma. Anticipate the pleasure. Taste your life.

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Sunday grace

Oh death where is your victory?

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Sad stories have grieved me this week. A life that seems too young was cut short. A husband whose age is too close for comfort received a dark diagnoses. A woman we visited less than a week ago, who smiled and talked about getting stronger, is suddenly gone.

Life is uncertain and death is appointed for everyone. The grave stings our hearts as we lay loved ones in the ground.

But for those in Christ Jesus, swimming in the rivers of His grace, death leads to life as surely as night gives way to day. And none of us left wiping away tears can even fathom the glory.

Eyes have not beheld it.  Ears have not heard the full story.  The full beauty and mystery of Heaven cannot be imagined.

We see through a darkened glass. A veil masks our vision. The unknown remains unknown until the day of our departure arrives. We wonder while we wait.

But we wait with hope. We anticipate our faith becoming sight. Tears will be wiped away. Pain will be erased. The Presence will be the light we crave. And we shall see Him as He is.

Jesus’ face will satisfy our questions. And it will be enough.

Sunday grace.

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What really matters

It’s been a busy week at the Wright House.

Doctor appointment, decisions to make, friends coming in and out the door, preparing piano students for recitals, the garden weeds mocking me . . . and then there’s Maisie. She is a wild toddler dog who needs to play and has more energy than Sweet William and I together. She does teach me that when she plays, she plays hard.  When it’s time for a nap, well, she just does it.

I’ve been working on something to enter in a writing contest. And that has taken my words this week. I’ve typed and deleted and done it over again. I thought hard about the content and wonder if it is leading anywhere. Will professionals think I write well or will they shake their heads when they read my entry?

And I contemplate if that is even important to me.

Attending a memorial service this morning, I spoke with a cousin I don’t remember meeting before today. We connected on Facebook a couple of years ago, but communication between us has been sparse.

She said something surprising. She said she reads those “Sunday inspirational words,” my Sunday Grace posts on Facebook. “Really?”

When days are full of schedules and activities and we meet ourselves coming and going, how do we decide what is important?  Is it simply being busy that makes us feel necessary and useful?  Is it other people’s approval?  Is it how many “likes” we get when we post a new picture, a declaration, or a trendy idea?

What matters in this life?

I’m asking myself that as I consider my commitments, the huge yard I care for, the desire to spend time with friends and family, and the words I say, whether they are face to face or blogged to the world wide web.

A long-time friend received hard news this week about her husband. They are setting their affairs in order because time is short for him.  And what matters most to this couple?

I doubt it is the stuff of their regular to-dos.

How do we spend life when today could be our last day to say words we’ve been waiting to speak? How do we schedule next week when we may not see the coming season on this earth? When do we give attention to what really matters?

I’m pondering it. Life is a short journey not matter how many years we have.

I want to enjoy the ride. I want to love the people in my life. I want to open my heart to the abundance God gives daily, to see Him in every moment as the Giver and the Sustainer of all things.

My busy week is not quite over yet. There are still decisions to make and more people will be coming and going in this house. There are things to do.

I will try to focus on the essentials, try to spend the day in joy and celebration, giving love and grace to each person in my path. And at day’s end I want to be thankful to the Creator of all life for breath for another day and declare that it was lived well.

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Sunday grace

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Oh Lord, I want to love you better.

You love me with a complete and perfect love.  You always want what is ultimately best for me though it is sometimes uncomfortable and difficult to understand.

Your love never gives up on me.  You are always faithful to me even when I am faithless.

You give good gifts every day, all day long, breath by breath.  I need eyes to see those gifts more clearly.

Your greatest command is that I love You – with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

How do I do that?  My love is imperfect, flawed, fickle.  Sometimes my love seems more like mere emotion rather than an act of unselfish giving.

Oh Lord, I want to love you better.

What is the secret of loving You like You require?  Is it even humanly possible to love perfectly when I am so completely imperfect?

Perhaps I find my answer in a prayer.  And I make it my prayer to You, God of all Love.

I pray that Christ and His love will live in me as I open the door and invite Him in.

I pray that being rooted in that love, I will experience and breathe in the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.

I pray that I will dive into its depths, clime to its heights, reach out to its extreme east and west, and live in the fullness of God.

What I ask of You, O Lord, is that You help me love like You ask.  I cannot do this on my own.  It is impossible.

But I know this one thing to be true.  You can do anything.  More than I can imagine or request in my wildest dreams.  Your Spirit working deeply and gently within me can accomplish more than I can ever fathom.

And then, when I learn to love You better, You will be glorified.

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{A prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21}

 

 

 

Today

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.  But it’s Wednesday.

I’m listening to The Carpenters a lot lately.  Their music takes me back to an earlier day.  Life looks simpler back then from my vantage point now.  But it was not simpler as I was living it out.

Life is always complicated and a roller coaster ride.

I sing out loud with the CD on the player.  Some songs make me smile, some bring a tear.  And today I’m OK with a tear.

I’m missing another birthday.

My grandchildren who live too-far-away have had birthdays without me for almost five years.  And can it be they have been gone from the house next door for that long?

Pardon me while I get melancholy and then write about it.

I post on Facebook a birthday wish, add photos and say how much I miss that boy and hope the birthday box arrives in the mail today.  It does not feel like nearly enough.

I pray for him.

I pray for someone else’s grandchild this morning.  Two people in our Sunday school class have a granddaughter who has been sick a long time.  Sweet William and I call her name in prayer so often.  And I wonder how the hearts of her grandparents are faring in this horrible storm.

I’ll be sharing lunch with a friend today.  Her grandson lives in one of the far corners of the states.  Their visits are few and far between, like mine.  She and I share our concerns and our love for our grandchildren.  We will catch up with each other and talk about those nestled deep in our hearts.  And if we cry, it will be OK.

My morning Word is in Psalm 90 as the sweet Spirit led me there.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. . . . Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. . . . May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children . . . “

I make it a prayer and add, “Show your splendor to my grandchildren.”

They are far away, but the Lord is near.

Be near us Lord Jesus.  On birthdays and on regular days.  When we are close and when we are not.  When the sun shines and when it is a rainy day.  On Mondays and Wednesdays and all the days of our lives.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us . . . “

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