Intermission

Chapter One
What does this all mean?
What does it?
Really?
Mean?

We all get caught up in “life” but the irony is that the life we live sucks us dry!

Chapter Two
The stage is empty
The chairs are
resting on wobbly legs

Do you dare
to
sit
down?

Chapter Three
How did I get
here?
I never
finished
yesterday!

©jeannelizabeth

We are not alone

Sand footprints

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

Psalm 139:17

If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139:18

In our despair comes HOPE!

Our country is in trouble. The world is in trouble. What is the Lord Jesus’s advice?

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

What a beautiful reminder that God is in control. Over and over I am reminded of this, yet in my flesh I try over and over to make things better, but all these things must happen before He returns.

Come Lord Jesus!

Still, not in my strength, but in HIS, I was moved by the Sandy Hook tragedy. I felt that same drive to run or fly to those in need as when I heard the news of my brother, but with no sense of direction, I sat still, mourning. We are either paralyzed with fear or set in motion by hope. Hope that God is in our midst during our despair. The following Sunday morning brought inspiration to take the scrap cloth that has amassed in my sewing room and mend my heart and pass my creation onto someone in need of love.  I had wanted to send this quilt before Christmas, but like all my projects, there is only so much time. Indiana’s snowstorm, yesterday, gave me the much needed time to spend with my beloved family as well as heal some more for lost innocence. December 26, 2012 was a great day to finish the project.

DSC_0005 DSC_0001

It is finished! This quilt will go to Wheeler Missions Women and Children’s Center in memory of Sandy Hook victims. I heard of the love outpouring and the city’s wish that further gifts be given towards others and I will fulfill that wish.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

That is my prayer for you today. Shalom! ©Jeannelizabeth

On being a mom

At some point I bought two books to help me with my doubts and fears about motherhood. Well more than that, but “Mitten Strings for God” by Katrina Kenison and “Meditations for Mothers” by Elisa Morgan are two of my favorites. I find solace in both.

God, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to give me three children. Three children I did not feel capable of tending to, in these unknown times of upheaval, betrayal, and otherwise very treacherous times. As parents, we are ever the watchful eagle to our surroundings, and with good reason. Yet, at times, this feels so superficial and harmful to my children’s psyches. As a parent, I am guarded, forever perched on a watch tower, looking for evil in everyone’s eyes.

I believe in giving children wings. Seeing what has happened to the innocence of childhood, I grieve. Those wings I so longingly desire to gift, are retracted, when I become witness to the darkness of bullying, adults acting out, and silence from trusted authority figures. I have my own wounds to heal, so when I am reliving past hurts, while tending to fresh injuries, I am living doubly the war. I could run and hide, but war takes courage and brave hearts.

This is a silent war. We minimize the effects, but they are long lasting. It is the soul that survives. It is my family that needs to be protected. Selfishly, I seek refuge from the outside. In our home, I have learned to care for the wounds, nurture the dreams and desires, help the needs, heal myself and form a bond with my children and husband that cannot be broken. I am learning how to be a mom and wife and loving it.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

 

Just where have I been?

Much is new in my life. No, I did not move, marry or fall to martyrdom. Nor did I abandon, ditch, forsake or malign my Sweet Promises blog (even though I have been absent for some time). Instead, I have been in upheaval. My feet are firmly planted but my head is in the clouds. I wonder who I am, pursuing truth. Actually, I think I know who I am, but like a diamond in the rough, I yearn to be polished. Underneath the veiled image, I am quite fragmented.

I wonder if I suffer from a dissociative disorder. I am prone to daydreaming. I get lost in thought. I find that I am not organized enough to tell the thousand stories locked inside. Several white pages of paper, more than I care to acknowledge, have been wasted in my pursuit of perfection. I am wasteful. Not just resources of tangible goods but the unconsciousness of time squandered pursuing answers seems unforgivable. Time is running out.

Funny how life seems to zoom, halt, sputter, tumble to a lull and just when you think you have it figured out, well then, you realize you were wrong. Somewhere, perhaps years ago, you took a disastrous turn. Life left you questioning. Ask me if I believe in God, and the answer is “I do”. And Jesus, the Bible and the Spirit He left when He departed earth to be with His Father in Heaven. So why do I struggle? To be brutally honest, I have faced hell.  Many moons ago, I only struggled with growing up. Today, it is painful memories that clog my veins.

Mother’s Day week 2012, I took a summer job as a gardener at Rita’s Backyard. I love gardening. I love plants. I love being outdoors. I have posted here my gardening musings and photos. So I think you believe me. Those are a few of my favorite things but it means time pursuing my craft of writing, to get a pure message to my audience, is faltering. To make matters worse, I burned every written word I had ever produced (years ago). This random act of stupidity was an impulse I carried out while stomping through fire.  I’ll never know if any of what I wrote was worthy of seeing daylight, but it left a hole inside that yearns to be repaired. I wonder if I burnt it to be freed of my tortured past?  At that particular time, absolutely, yes. Now, a clamoring, resounding no, rings inside my head.

So what to do?

I hope you do not think I have totally turned my back on Christianity or my Sweet Promises blog. I just have started to think out loud, trying to form a picture from a thousand puzzle pieces, and wanted to draw in those who are pursuing the unknown, with me, to finally be a polished rock worthy of hearing the words in Matthew 25:23…”Well done, good and faithful servant.” In the meantime, I started a Blogger site, called A Grain of Sand @ http://manygrainsofsand.blogspot.com/ and a pure poetry blog @ http://sharpenedpoint.wordpress.com/, which I rarely publish on because poetry takes more time than a few random lines now and then.

These are the days.

This is the time. Make the best of what is
and do not think about tomorrow, it is only a possibility.

I am here. Now.

Those were the days to remember. They will never come again.  You were my best friend. You were the light of my mind. You shone in the crevices of my dark alleys and hidden thoughts. You breathed life into my cold heart. You were the spark that revived the lost child, lurking in the shadows of broken promises. Someday soon, I will walk this way again, and cherish the moments together.

Since you have been gone, the color has left my world.
I see shades of gray, black and white.

I long for the hues of oranges, greens and blues.

These are the days and this is the time, I will remember forever.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

Jeannelizabeth©

Wayward Travelers and a Path to Life

Mother’s Day has come and gone. I wonder about the childless woman, either by choice or by fate. I wonder about the woman who struggles daily with the children she is raising. I wonder about the children who will be mothers someday.

I have seen woman, who come for counseling regarding a pregnancy. Some of them are vulnerable to the daily experience. No father’s presence or support from family. No money. No home. No hope.

Life is hard. The problems loom over us like dark rain clouds and we wait for the final downpour that will drown. The stories I hear are broken records of dysfunction. Our society is sick and individuals are the victims of a collaborative effort to exterminate God. Confusion is rampant and labeling the life-cycle as sperm, egg, embryo, and fetus, organizes our thought, but it does nothing for the emotion that coincides with the fact that sperm move and are alive and fight to the bitter end to make an egg theirs! Which sperm wins, claims the prize of being the next child that will develop inside the womb of a woman. The DNA of both people will merge into one individual, unique in the world, with one set of fingerprints. This should be a time to celebrate!

The cold, hard truth is by offering choice, life loses. The sperm that fought so valiantly will be squashed as an ant on the sidewalk. The egg that once housed all the information that would determine the color of the eyes, hair and skin, will diminish as the setting sun. The sidewalk and playgrounds will be void of one smiling child.

Life is hard. Choices are made every day. What toothpaste to buy, what clothes to wear, what friends we hang with and what job we perform. Some choices are easier than others. Choice seems good until we are faced with making a decision that reaches higher than a mountain peak. Once made, the decision cannot be taken back. It takes days to make such a choice and with limited time to choose, the stress level rises exponentially.

The first right choice would be to decide if having sex, with the possibility of becoming pregnant, is right. What is wrong with waiting until a secure, stable relationship is formed and consecrated by a vow until the bitter or joyous end? What is wrong with making a commitment to you? Why give away your soul like free candy at a parade?

Sex is a gift. Children are a gift. Make the first right choice. Celebrate life and the gifts.

JOSHUA 24:15

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Over the coming days I will be praying for those facing the mountain that looms ahead. I pray for the peace that passes all understanding, to guard your heart, soul and mind, in that perfect way that only Jesus can touch our humanity. He said He came to bring life, and to bring it more abundantly. Do you believe? Is Jesus who He said He was…the Son of the Living G-d? Test the waters. Find a church home that embraces you and shows you the path to walk that brings hope, healing and redemption. And if not now, when? Most will wait until they have hit rock bottom. Is that what you want to experience? The Gospel does not promise a trouble free existence. We certainly will face obstacles and trials. The Gospel does promise a better way, full of truth, hope and joy that sustains, despite the pitfalls and stumbling blocks encountered daily. I will be praying.  Jeannelizabeth©

To be or not to be…

rebaptized? Now there is a heated debate, if there ever was one, of whether to baptize infants, children, or only those who can reasonably know what they are doing? So where did I land and how did I venture into this debate to begin with? Lord, help me…

Making a long story short, so I do not bore you, I was looking to change churches, denominations exactly, because of certain beliefs that I hold tried and true to my heart that were no longer part of the church I belonged. A friend invited me to her church, because she thought it was the best church ever. After much time, and searching, I agreed and trugged the family. There was one problem, they did not honor infant baptism, so if I wanted to become a part of the church, I would need to be rebaptized. I have a big problem with that! A major problem!

I am secure in my faith. I have no doubt in my mind that God loves me and that is why His Son, Jesus, died for me. The fact that I was baptized into the church as an infant (okay, so they sprinkled, and I wasn’t technically immersed as the word is taken to mean in the Greek) does that mean God cannot honor my baptism into God, the Son and the Holy Spirit as written in  Matthew 28:19 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . . ..” which is what the pastor said as they made a seal of oil on my head and sprinkled holy water over me?

I cannot give you a definite answer either way. I know, I am of no help here. Yet, I am not convinced either way, whether to be or not to be rebaptized. So, in the meantime, I will go on my merry way and look for a church that believes in infant baptism but does not step on my toes regarding certain issues that are creeping into the church today. We won’t mention those issues, because again, man makes isssues of everything!

Here is my very “personal” prayer that I will share with the world that stems from this dilemma. Thank you for listening and please feel free to leave comments. I would love to hear what you have to say about baptism!

Lord Jesus,
Hear my prayer. Give me peace regarding this baptism dilemma.
Lord Jesus,
I do not understand why it is so hard for me one way or the other.
The interpretation of your Word varies.
Does man manipulate your Word
or are these men well-meaning in securing a place
for the children to come to you?
You say to come as we are and then after we approach the alter
it becomes difficult to dot my i’s and cross my t’s.
I become so burdened with all these issues.

You never asked this of me before…
to be rebaptized!
I have heard you speak to me!
You have asked me to be holy as You are holy!
You have asked me to forgive those who have hurt me!
You have given me gifts to heal, bring mercy, encouragement and hope to the lost and lonely!
I have never heard You tell me that I need to be rebaptized?

Would it help if I was rebaptized?
Would that become less of a stumbling block for me if I just did it?
I cherish infant baptism.
It is a beautiful dedication by parents to honor You!
It brings death to the old self and raises the child into new life!
It puts the heart of the parent in the right direction to raise the child as a child of God.
Is it possible for that child to turn away from You?
Absolutely.
Like the lost sheep, Jesus will go and look for those children who stray away.
What a balm to any parent’s heart to know that You care and we can pray that Jesus
could intercede on that child’s very life.
This reminds me of the story of Hannah and Samuel.

Is there harm in baptizing little ones?
Is there harm in praying for the lost?
Can you not keep watch over these little ones brought to You
in peace and security under your wings?
Yet, how can a little child understand
the darkness of this world?
They grow up in a sterile Christian environment
and then
WHAM!
The world is a scary place.
One minute the child is walking a well lit path
and soon the light grows dim,
the air grows cold,
and the sound of screams are heard.
As parents,
how should we prepare our children
to understand they will suffer?
Jesus suffered.

Christianity is about a relationship
we have with Jesus,
Your Son,
God,
who has pleased you in obedience.
We are found worthy because of His work on the cross.
Let us be found ready,
covered in the blood of Jesus,
washed clean as freshly fallen snow,
buried to our sinful nature,
and born into a new creature.

Is my heart and mind in the right place?
Are there sins I need to repent?
Am I lost or found?
I believe you Jesus.

I believe who You say You are.
You died for my sins.
You know I struggle with hurting you on the cross.
I had a difficult time knowing I am such a terrible person.
Yet, You still love me!
You talk to me!
You have hugged me in my darkest hour!
You prepare and equip me everyday!
You make me new everyday and you fill my heart with music!
You want me to fill up with your peace, joy, love, faith, hope and patience!
I accept your gifts.

Let me not tromple those gifts as a pig with pearls
but to gently hide them from the world.
Let me give my treasured gems
to those who will treasure these gifts as I do.

Make me new today.
Remind me who I am!

I am a child of God!
He is my Father!
He is my brother!
He is my friend and counselor!

I am forgiven
I am healed
I am renewed daily
I am holy because He is holy
I am worthy of love
I am sealed by the Holy Spirit

I am because He is the great I AM!

Can we do anything wrong if our hearts are in the right place?
If we sprinkle instead of immerse are you displeased?
I wait for an answer and only groans of my spirit are released.
What of those who sin and do not repent?
Would that not grieve you?
I believe you would be grieved, deeply.
Jesus wept!

Communion and baptism are two sacred connections and not one of us
should hinder anyone from coming to You.
You are present in both.
Forgive us for not seeing the heart of Your reason for both.
(Did not Hannah bring you Samuel to be yours?
Did not Jesus sit with the Rabbis and teach in the synogogue as a child?
Jesus welcomed the least of these to be part of His kindgom!)

Let me move on in peace.
Thank you God for hearing me in Jesus name…AMEN!

P.S. Daily I wash myself in Your presence, that no unclean may be found in me.
Lifting my needs to You.
Praising Your Holy name.
Thanking You for helping and loving me always (Oh, there have been days you could have left me!).
Reminding me that any step too far from You is a step
needing forgiveness.
I am sorry for my unforgivness and harsh thoughts toward
those who have hurt me.
I am sorry for the error of my ways.
You love all of us and dearly want us to be close to You.
None of us can run to a Father who is stern,
but You are slow to anger.
Thank You for the work of the cross.
Thank you for Your Spirit who counsels me and brings me gifts
to encourage others.
Let nothing be a stumbling block to me.
Nothing!

In Your precious name, Jesus, my Savior,

Jeanne Elizabeth©

Insurmountable

Forgive! …such an easy word to give out.

Okay Lord, in your loving arms I can forgive.

Then my sinful nature asks “Why?”
“Look what they did to me Lord? Can you not see their evil deeds against me?”

“Yes, I see.”

Forgive! It is the only way to find freedom.
Peace! Let your heart not be troubled child.
Mercy! Show compassion to the lost.
Joy! It is your strength to hide in me and lose yourself and your evil ways.

“Did I not forgive you?”

“I did not want to nail you to the cross.
My tears flow
and wash your feet
but you still cling to the
CROSS!”

“You died….
for me…
and the whole world…
and you wait patiently
for all hearts to turn back to you.”

“I need your grace again…
I sin day and night…
in my anger I plead for justice
but in my heart I plead for mercy.”

Indeed I forgive Lord.
Renew me daily lest I fall.

We find in Romans 12:14 these words: “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.” Oh Lord, give me lips of honey. Soften my heart that no hatred can find home. Till the earth of my soul, that no seed can root that is only a weed. Forgive my unforgiveness that hides from sight, lurking, waiting for a chance to strike. You fashion your children in ways that produce fruit, let my vines be bountiful this year. Hold my tongue against sinful words and keep my thoughts pure. AMEN!

Spring Hike 2012

It is that time of year when great friends, food and faith mix together to create memories that carry you through the rest of the calendar days. The exhiliration surrounding my departure to go to the hills is welling up in my soul! If you could hear me, deep inside, you would realize heaven!

My history with the spring and fall hike returns to October in the year 2004. My soul urged me to break away from my life for a moment, to take time and reflect where I was, where I was going and where I wanted to be. My family blessed me before I left with well wishes and hugs. I was at total peace that whatever happened, all would be well.

The first retreat indeed was magical. God met me there. Just the right music, conversation and prayer. I met a wonderful woman, who being a complete stranger, departed a beloved friend. And tomorrow we will reconnect. All the days before will vanish and all the days ahead will disappear and for a time we will just sit and stare and wonder at God’s creation and care.

As it turns out I want to always be there, in the hills of Brown County Indiana. Yet life does not happen there, it is only shared.

Dreams of deer frolicking in the woods
Not wanting anything
but having everything

Visions of birds circling the air
Gliding past vast woods
and sparkling brooks

Falling leaves and budding trees
snow capped hills and frozen pond
Silence!

If you have a prayer request, please leave it below and I will keep it hidden in my heart to give to God, in the hills of His bosom. Shalom…

In His love,

Jeannelizabeth©