Archive | October 2013

Beyond the Appearance

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How easy some make it look-
Denying self,
Others first,
Jesus always,
Absolute opposite of human nature.
Yet they make it look simple-
Relinquishing control,
Letting go,
Total devotion,
Things I need to feel confident.
Others may it seem to be a breeze-
Sail rough seas,
Weather any storm,
Survive the worse–
How, how, how do they do it?
When I struggle every single day-
To serve willingly,
To walk faithfully,
To love unconditionally–
We all are imperfect humanity
Not clones,
Nor will less creatures,
Not angels,
We are too made in His image.
The people who seem so cool,
So together,
So hip,
So perfect,
Is it merely just a mask they wear?
Only they know I cannot say
Not my call,
Not my walk,
Not my decision,
Between them and God not me.
Surface appearances are misread,
Scars don’t show
Wounds invisible
Struggles unknown
It’s not easy for any of us-
We just try to walk our walk
Faithfully,
Daily,
In truth,
God didn’t promise any other way.
                 d.f.a.v. 10/30/13

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Backdoor

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To much disagreement I’m sure
Still I unashamedly must say
The way to Heaven is narrow and straight
Jesus Christ Himself, the only gate,
There are gates of pearl
And streets of purest gold
No sadness, no sorrow, no hurting nor pain
Still not a lot is known about the Heavenly lanes,
Jesus will be the Light everywhere
He will be our judge it is true
Part us to left or to right
With Him, against Him, did You choose His might?
No handicaps, injuries, broken hearts
No grief or fear in our Heavenly home
If your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life
Then you’ll enter into Heaven’s delight,
Right through the entrance
No worries and no fears
No need to wonder will you fit in here
For Heaven has no backdoors up there.
No handicap accessibility to think upon
No worries about wheelchairs or walkers or canes
No anxiety over the length of the walk you will take
No need for anything artificial or fake
If your feet on earth won’t move
If your body is pretty much torn into
None of it will matter anymore
Heaven my friend HAS NO BACK DOOR!
No alternate entrance or handicap ramps
No access because of physical abilities denied
Right through the gate you may even run
Your toes touching Heaven’s land,
No backdoors no side lines no doorway views
For when in Heaven we arrive it is true
The lame will walk, the deaf will hear
The blind will see, the mute set free
For healing we will no longer need to pray
No backdoors in Heaven Jesus is the way.
d.f.a.v. 10/30/13

Masks

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Artwork and poem original to author all rights reserved.

 

What mask wear we

So none can see

The us that lives inside,

The one with tears

From painful years

Events we want to hide?

What baggage we keep

Infections we steep

With healing close at hand?

Such a pity it is

We leave it at this

Hearts wrapped in iron bands.

Do we believe it is true?

That Jesus forgives us too

Why do secrets we hold tight?

Of the yesterday’s past

The guilt we let last

When God has made it right?

The mask is but pride

We must cast it aside

For it keeps us too quiet,

So we don’t speak out

No mountain top shout

Do we not really believe it?

The mask you must bar

Come as you really are

To the well filled with grace,

Be washed anew

It’s all you must do

Let Jesus shine in your face.

Throw down the mask

Take up your task

Be a witness so true,

This world will end

Until then my friend

Live in what Jesus has for you.

    d.f.a.v. 10/25/2013

Shine on!

–Faye

 

Homecoming Day

There is silence in Heaven

Not a sound can be heard

All the angels are hushed

All the saints standing round

Something big is happening

Just what no one knows.

God is readying Himself

Something is going down

A white horse appears

God’s glory shining clear

Then everyone knows

The end time is near.

Shouts of glory ringing

Cheers of joy peeling out

This will be Homecoming day.

        -d.f.a.v.

        10/23/13

Keep on ’til then,

–Faye

5:48 a.m. Prayer from the Cottage by the Sea

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Good morning Lord!
Thank you for this–
     The sun creeping over the horizon,
     The roar of the waves pounding,
     The very air I breathe–
          God I thank You!
Thank You for this–
     My family who love me,
     My family I love,
     The life You’ve given to us all–
          God!  I thank You!
Thank You for this–
     Sweet times of prayer,
     Private worship and praise,
     Awareness of who You are, Jehovah God Almighty–
          God, I thank You!!
Thank You Abba Father for this–
     The seagulls that call,
     The chair that holds me,
     Your presence in this place–
          God of All, thank You!
Thank You for this–
     For meeting with me here,
     Reminding me of what’s important,
     Your precious showers of blessings–
          God Provider, I thank You!
The I Am I thank You–
     This time of reflection,
     These moments of clarity,
     A country where still I can do this–
          God, O God I thank You!!!
Walk with me today–
     Help me see the blessings,
     Let me hear Your voice,
     May every atom of my being–
          God remember to thank You!
God I thank You and ask–
     Provision for today’s needs,
     You to be my Defender,
     Your army to be my rear guard–
          God, O God Divine!
          I thank You!
          I praise You!
          Let me honor You!
Father God, I thank You!

Gratefully,
–Faye

First Love

Being a parent doesn’t mean someone issues you “Parental Fix It” in a can like “Fix a Flat” even though that certainly sounds like a marvelous idea. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is witnessing your child hurting. It doesn’t matter how old they are, if they are hurt in any way it is hard for a parent to witness. It’s even worse when there is absolutely nothing you can do to ease the pain except hold them and pray.

One of the joys of parenthood is witnessing your child stepping out into life and making decisions that will be foundation stones for their life. Our daughter made such a decision recently at a Wednesday night worship service.

She had harbored a secret for the last few years and with only the nudging of the Holy Spirit, not only went forward to ask Jesus into her heart for rea,l but to admit that her previous public profession was made with the wrong motivation. She made her “fake” decision at a time in her life when she was acting out over the hurt and anger she had towards her biological mother who it seemed, to her, just up and left her and created a new family. Our daughter knew what she was doing was wrong but, she reasoned then as a child, if she was saved she could get into Heaven regardless of her behavior. Now, as her reasoning and decision making skills have expanded she realized the greater wrong was in lying to God, herself, us and her church.

We’re proud of her. It showed a lot of maturity on her part to realize she was wrong and step forward with no one telling her she should to right her wrong. She came home with such a peace in her eyes I was astonished and with an attitude change that has lasted!

Two days later, she is sobbing in my arms with her first broken heart. The two parts of parenthood I’ve already mentioned collided and we had a third piece of the parenthood picture, leading your child to do the right thing regardless of their own pain.

What and how it all came about isn’t important. Let me just say that the young man involved is a smart, funny, kind 13-year-old who truly cares about our daughter. He and his family live with his Asperger’s diagnosis and part of that, for him, makes crowds hard to tolerate. He wanted to go to the Homecoming game and dance with our daughter. He planned to go. He was excited to go. But despite his wants and his good intentions he left in the second quarter of the game.

My husband was with our daughter and this young man at the game. It was hard to see our daughter hurt like that firsthand, he wanted to leave and bring her home, but she braved the game out even though she found the dance to be too much to deal with on her own. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that the tears came and she walked into our bedroom, threw herself into my arms and wept.

Her initial reaction was to tell the young man a few things that weren’t going to help the situation, especially if she hoped to salvage a friendship out of the relationship. As parents though it was up to us to help her handle the situation in a way that would honor God.

We wouldn’t let her text the teenage boy and “break up” for we didn’t want her to “do unto another and have it done unto her” later. Despite modern societies obsession with electronic communication it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to handle letting others know what you’re thinking or feeling.

Gently we reminded her of the times and ways this young man had shown her he cares deeply for her. When the two of them are together the light and laughter in their eyes blows us away. He was her defender when they went to the same school and stood by her even when she was making really rotten decisions for herself after she broke his new eyeglasses on purpose. We reminded her of his Asperger’s and how, although it was terribly painful, it was the Asperger’s part of him that hurt her, not all of him. It wasn’t deliberate. He truly didn’t understand how deeply he would hurt her. Someone hurting you on purpose, or unavoidably doesn’t give you a license to hurt them back.

Our daughter’s first broken heart over a boy. She’s handled it well. She’s made her decision that perhaps they will best be a part of each other’s lives as friends and she knows that for him to be a part of her life that the social situations they are in will need to be thought out to ensure he and she are comfortable and can have fun. She knows it is possible, they’ve done such things before. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or simply a friendship that involves anything in a crowd without his parents is unlikely to occur. To want those things, football games and dances, parades, fairs and hayrides; doesn’t make her a bad person or selfish. They are both way too young to have a serious relationship and her social development is also important. Plus it is a step in teaching her the things she will need to consider when she’s older and ready for a more mature relationship.

Above all else, her falling in love with Jesus came at the perfect time, as does God’s timing always fall. Prior to that Wednesday night decision our daughter wouldn’t have handled the Friday night crushing disappointment well at all. When she got out of the car this morning to go into school I wasn’t concerned she’d act out and I’d be getting a phone call later today from her principal.

As a parent I drove off with my own smile on my face. First love. Yes, our daughter is on the path to eternity with Jesus and He’s her first love, above even herself. I know there are still tough times ahead for her, other broken hearts over other boys (or the same one) but I believe too she will come to have her heart broken for the things that break God’s heart. Maybe if all I can do is hold her and pray for her or simply pray for her during those times she weeps for what makes God weep then I am doing the greatest part of my job as her mother after all.

A praying mother,

–Faye

Water and Jesus

If any one thing in nature draws me it is water. Lakes, ponds, creeks, rivers, streams, swimming pools and oh, my, the OCEAN! There is some part of me that feels as if I’ve settled in at the most natural place in the world when I am by water. That is saying a lot for a woman who:

  1. …cannot swim.
  2. …didn’t even see the ocean until she was almost 25-years-old.
  3. …who hated trying to walk on sand.
  4. …who can’t fathom the ordeal of trying my wheelchair on a beach.
  5. …who rarely is around water, except in the bathroom and kitchen.
  6. …who is terrified of water in my face, much less over my head.

My fear of water stems from having my hair washed as a child while standing at the kitchen sink. Regardless of how far I stretched over the sink or how tightly I squeezed my eyes shut nothing could stop the unpredictable flood of water on my face. Locked into position by my mother’s turning of my head and repeated reprimands I was helpless to do much but hope it ended quicker every single time and fight to control my panic. Since I was the genetic recipient of oily type hair it required washing daily. My mother insisted on washing my hair herself until I was entering the sixth grade. By my calculations that is around 3600 hair washings, although I probably should reduce it to 3500 for the first year I was alive and my hair hadn’t quite grown in yet. So 3500 times I experienced what felt like I was drowning.

As I got older I understood I wasn’t going to drown when my mother dumped countless containers of water on my head, but as a young child, I didn’t have that awareness and by the time I was older the fear was deeply engrained in me. Sadly it couldn’t be washed out. Hence my love/hate relationship with water.

It is such a fear that when I accepted Christ at the age of fourteen I couldn’t bring myself to join the church at the same time because it meant being completely submerged in running water. We did it the way our ancestors had for centuries, we gathered by a creek bank and waded in, the preacher and you got into your places and you held your nose closed with his hand over yours and he lowered you completely under the water. Now because the closest creek with running water that was accessible couldn’t boast of being very deep under normal conditions our church had to wait until we had a big rain. The creek would swell immensely, overflow its banks and our deacons would keep an eye on it for that perfect Sunday it was clear and deep enough for baptism, then in we’d go. I was having no part of it for it looked like torture to me.

Eventually the pastor and my parents wore my resistance down. I consented and one July Sunday afternoon I was among those who waded into the creek, dressed in a dress because we weren’t allowed to wear pants to any church service, and my mind was far from anything holy. I wasn’t even capable of praying. Never had a man looked so physically incapable of being able to prevent dropping me in the water or not being able to pull me back up as our pastor did as I took his hand in the middle of that flood swollen creek with its racing waters. When I went under panic rose inside me and had the immersion taken any longer than a few seconds I probably would have drown myself fighting to get up and away. I doubted my salvation experience as being real for years because my baptism was so emotionally traumatic, yet I never told another living soul.

From the first time I saw the ocean, beneath the headlights of a van at night it was only black and white but my love for it burst forth. Especially in the darkness the power of the ocean was so immense, so powerful I could not question the mightiness of God in His creation. A couple days later I would see it for the first time in “color” and the mission group I was with had to drag me off the beach for they were all frozen from the winter temperatures and ocean breezes while I didn’t even realize I was numb from cold.

Now though I could sit by the ocean, especially in winter when it is practically deserted, for endless days and even nights. The crashing or lapping of the ocean waves becoming the heartbeat of my being, the breeze off the ocean sweeping all the ugliness away and the call of the sea gulls tempting me to flight. Once I can psych myself up enough to get into a swimming pool I never want to get out, the water giving me a physical freedom of movement I don’t have on dry land. Though I was never brave enough to cross the large boulders into the raging river in the Great Smoky Mountains I certainly longed to with nearly everything within me and sitting beside its banks my heart leaps in my chest and my eyes lift toward Heaven.

One other experience with water has blossomed my love for water. I was so sick, my body so ravaged by infection the flesh was falling off of my left leg, and I was barely aware I was still on this planet but I wanted a drink of water. I’d been begging, every time I rose to a point of consciousness, for a drink since I’d been taken into the emergency room. How many hours passed I can’t tell you but it seemed as if I were suspended between this world and the other where there was no time, I just existed between the two places. I opened my eyes and couldn’t see more than a foot from my bed but I sensed I wasn’t alone and I again begged for a drink of water. This time the person with me said she’d be right back with it. I struggled to stay conscious long enough for that drink but again slipped under. Awaking again my question was, “Where’s my water”? Before I had another thought I was unconscious again.

Then I was being lifted right out of my hospital bed and I pushed to awaken myself for it wasn’t that I was being lifted by nurses or orderlies as it was done in a hospital. Instead someone had their arms under me, one beneath my knees and one under my shoulders and was literally lifting me up in his arms. First I thought my husband had gone crazy but when my eyes opened I was no longer in that hospital bed, I was no longer in that hospital. Above me gentle sunlight played hide and seek with the most beautiful green leaves that just seemed to simmer and glow and branches of a large tree that seemed as old as time. I felt arms tighten around me, my head was pressed to someone’s chest, right at the heart and I knew beneath my ear the heartbeat of Jesus was beating.

Immediately I became aware of the sound of rushing water and as I was carried toward the sound I was able to see a river so wide the banks of the other side were only visible when we were in the water. The rivers waters were running swiftly, I could hear that, I sensed that, but when I looked at it the transparent silvery water, a water I’d never seen before and haven’t seen since its surface was smooth as silk. It was as if it was liquid silver yet you could see through it as clearly as any creek or river I’ve ever seen before. I knew we were going in that water and regardless of how beautiful it was, I remembered I was afraid of water.

“I should be afraid!” I thought.

But before the thought completely slipped through my mind Jesus replied, “It’s okay Faye, I’ve got you.”

All semblance of fear left me. It was okay Jesus had me. Into that water we went and I could feel how deep it was by how quickly I became nearly submerged and still we went on until we came to a wide smooth boulder in the middle of the river. Jesus lay me so my head and shoulders rested on that rock and as the rest of me was bathed by those rushing waters He never let me go.

That was an experience I knew for nearly a week multiple times a day. I never had a thought of fear after the first time. I somehow knew not to look up into Jesus face and I wasn’t tempted to, I wasn’t tempted by any negative or bad thoughts there. I didn’t wonder if I would live or die. I was 100% surrendered to God. I had 100% absolute trust in Him. I didn’t question how He managed to carry me. I didn’t question where we were but wherever it was it was created by God and He shared it with me. I didn’t question anything. I just gave in to the experience.

Love for water floods my heart and there are days I wish I knew of a body of water that was wheelchair accessible so that I could just go and sit by it and watch it move. I love it. But I hate it still with that fear that never completely fades. Just this morning when I was washing my own hair and water rushed down over my face that panic and fear popped up.

I love God. He is never far from my thoughts, always there for me even when I am not there for Him, and we have a personal relationship. Yet…

I still mess things up, I sin, sometimes ON PURPOSE! I still don’t obey Him regardless of how much I profess to love Him because I want my own way! Is that not showing hate instead of love? I think so.

Conquering my fear of water, of drowning to be specific, is something I will never stop trying to get over. Neither is my disobedience to my Holy Father. One day I’ll be able to afford and be brave enough to take swimming lessons and I will find that freedom in the water more often and in a greater way than ever before. One day I’ll cross another river and be Home and experience God as never before.

Meanwhile…

It’s okay Jesus has me!

–Faye

5:30 a.m. Prayer and Praise from the Cottage by the Sea

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Art and poem original to author, all rights reserved.

Abba Father,
Awesome, Holy, Fantastic God!
How amazing are the works of Your hands!
Evidence of Your design and creation
Can be seen throughout us and this land,
Thank You!
Loving, merciful, forgiving God!
From You alone all that is pure and good flows!
All the glorious in and of everything
It is only by the work of Your hand it grows,
Thank You!!
Giver of grace, true love and peace!
To You alone so much this daughter owes!
Repaying You is simply impossible yet to try I must,
Let me begin with intense gratitude from head to toe!
Thank You!!!
Provider, Comforter, the I Am!
How beautiful and amazing are You!
You’ve surrounded me with Your love,
Given to us all our place and mission to do,
Thank You!!!!
Jehovah, Abba, Savior!
As this day blooms with You before me!
Please flood me, bless me with Your presence,
Wash the world from my eyes so I can see,
Thank You!!!!!
My God, my Master, my Author!
To You be the power, glory and praise!
Allow me to steep in Your glorious presence,
Let it be to only You that all praise be raised,
Thank You!!!!!!
Amen!
               d.f.a.v. 10/17/13

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:9b-13 N.I.V.

Thanking God,
–Faye

Bees in my Head!

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This morning has been “off”, you know what I mean? One of those mornings when if it could go wrong it did and even though we got up on time it was a mad scramble to the door to be on time for school. Pulling into the garage I felt as if a shell of calmness and peace fell around me when the garage door closed.  So I am still sitting in my car as I write this blog today. 

Following God, following Him regardless of the consequences, challenges, course changes and costs, well, I don’t find it easy most of the time.  Honestly, do you?  Does anyone?

Sitting in the church pew I think about this often.  Our music minister, choir, instrumentalists, and pastor pray and devote time to helping create an atmosphere of true worship every service, year round.  That’s not easy, I know because I’ve walked in some of their shoes.  When there, among all the other believers, worshipping and learning about God and doing His will it seems so” do-able”, so straightforward. 

But lately, at church, in Bible study, in my quiet time there’s been something “off”, much like our morning routine today.  I’ve searched my heart and prayed and waited for direction, for answers, for that still quiet voice. 

Instead, so far, I have heard the buzz of giant bees in my head.  Buzz, buzz, buzz…all the new things I’ve learned researching for pieces to write on this blog are buzzing to find a place in the relationship Jesus and I have together.  And, I admit, one of those bees is more than a little angry, frustrated, annoyed, distrustful and sad.  Another is timid, afraid yet still buzzing to be heard and understood.  Seriously, how do you walk so firmly in harmony with God that the buzzing ceases?  Or fades?  Or the individual bees find what they need and are in harmony with the nature around them?

As Christians we are so often quick to point to formulas, and programs, and service to our church and community to help people, even ourselves, quiet the bees.  The realities of prayer, Bible study, meditation on God’s word, worship and praise can’t be ignored.  They are necessary and vital to our God relationship. 

Sometimes though the realities of life and the essentials of being an authentic Christian don’t mix well at all.  Some days the two are in such different places it is like they are on totally different roads.  But isn’t THAT the way?

The world pulls one way, Jesus leads to another.

The world tries to please everybody and Jesus says please me.

The world has seemingly lost respect for human life and Jesus knew us and knit us together in our mother’s wombs.

The world is going left Jesus tells us go right.

The world and all people are flawed, Jesus is perfect and was so even as a flesh and blood man on earth over 2000 years ago.

The world waves wads of cash, houses, cars, expensive “stuff” at us and says this makes you a success, Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him.

We live in this world and we cannot always escape the consequences of doing so.  What happens in our government, financial institutions, education programs, and even the entertainment industry rains down on US all.  Even in the oldest religious institutions and churches man’s living in this world has made marks.

In the name of God, religions, and churches awful things have occurred.  Things that are the result of man’s twisting things to suit the world view not Jesus’.

And that’s why it is hard most of the time to quiet the bees, to find a shell of peace and calm among all the things and stuff of the world, because life happens to us all.  Your morning routine is blown to smithereens and you’re anxiously watching the minutes tick by as you drive your child to school or scramble off to work yourself.  The washing machine breaks down and you have piles of laundry demanding to be done.  Money is stretched until it is screaming and there’s only enough food in the house for today, or maybe not at all.  Your mother finds out she has cancer.  Your wife is diagnosed with a rare medical disorder.  You or your spouse loses your job.  Your husband admits he has an addiction to pornography. Your teenage son fathers a child.  Your sixth grader steals a cell phone because you said he couldn’t have one yet.  Your baby is born needing a heart transplant.  You learn that there are things you’ve not been told from the pulpits of your church you think you deserved to know, that would have made huge differences earlier in your life.  You want something so badly but you are so afraid of rejection you deny God and yourself what is one of the reasons He created you. 

This is life, angry bees, timid bees, incessant bees, needy bees, “oops” bees…yes, my morning was hectic and crazy (don’t forget I am still in my car in the garage) and yes, I have decisions to make that I am struggling with and oh, yes, I have my buzzing bees…

It’s all good.

“I am what I am by the grace of God…”

“…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable…”

“…I will show you my faith by my works…”

“God works all things together for good to those who love the Lord…”  Romans 8:28

“…my yoke is easy and my burden light…”

Beekeeping,
–Faye

So sorry I can’t give you all the scripture references I have used today.  My garage needs a Bible if it is going to be my new writing habitat! 

4:35 a.m. Prayer from the Cottage by the Sea

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Abba Father:
You are Holy!  You are righteous!  You are worthy of all adoration and all praise!  I need You Abba Father like every creation You ever made.  To You I owe my being, my presence, my very life’s breath. 

Unusual heaviness on my heart this morning, an uneasiness, a strange restlessness…my heart seems to be beating out-of-sync…we know what is wrong, I turn to You for You alone can right this wrong! Come quickly Lord!

The world is teeming with Satan’s prowling and we are keenly aware of it this morning. My eyes seek You in the East this morning, my ears strain for the trumpet sound…is this why these emotions battle within me?  Do come quickly Lord!

Why are there bullies Lord?  Why are people, young to old, sometimes like human sharks circling prey, they’ve seemingly forgotten is human, at the slightest scent of blood?  The physically, emotionally or spiritually weakest so vulnerable to attack.  Come quickly Lord!

Encamp angels around those facing the bullies this morning.  Be their strength, be their wisdom and hear their cries.  Come quickly Lord!

The days are gone Abba when a reminder to the bullies that we are all human, we all make mistakes and to stop their behaviour works.  Billions of dollars spent creating anti-bullying campaigns cannot stop it.  All the zero-tolerance policies in all the schools can’t stop it. You can, but will we invite You to intervene widescale?  Come quickly Lord!

From our highest rulers to our youngest citizens we are a nation seemingly, to me, gone crazy.  Robin Hood is a fictional character and his philosophies cannot work in the real flesh and bone world. Jesus’ is real and His Way is The Way, The Truth and The Light and will work if we choose Him! Come quickly Lord!

This morning Lord the war is personal.  This morning the attacks are against our own, we are the prey, we are bleeding…Come quickly Lord!

Let no more young people die because of foolishness!  Life is fragile Lord, do the bullies not understand this?  Do bullies not know there is always someone bigger and scarier around the corner and the bully today is the bullied tomorrow?  Come quickly Lord!  Come quickly!

Here, from this spot, I offer up my prayer, my plea.  My eyes still looking to the East, come quickly Lord!

‘Til Jesus Comes, Keep Praying!
–Faye