Renewal

We’ve been suspended between what was and what may be.

A year in and it appears the end is not yet in sight.

Much has been stripped bare; much lost.

We are ready for renewal; a reason to hope.

Nature is singing a song orchestrated by God.

Color is showing up in bold splashes begging for our attention.

Will we look on hesitantly or embrace the promise?

Can we have faith that God never forsakes us; trust his plan?

We can’t survive in limbo; we can’t shelter forever.

We have to begin living. Again.

Quiet ourselves and listen.

Do you hear?

Life is stirring.

Hope resides here.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are NEW EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness.

-Lamentations 3:21-23

Hoping in Grace,

Teresa

Porch Dancing

I look across at your house and see shadows of the trees dancing in the sunlight and I’m reminded of our porch dances.

You’d sway to the rhythm of your own music and smile impishly. Even though I was across the yard looking through my window I knew there was a twinkle in your eye.

As you twirled under the porch light, I waved and danced along with you wishing we could stay like this forever; a happy moment suspended in time.

I loved when you danced because that meant you were happy. You were so full of life and even when the Alzheimer’s was robbing you of so much you still had a passion for living.

I’ll never forget the time you told me about your dancing skirt. It was denim with several gores; it came down almost to your ankles and it had a nice twirl. I came over one day and you had it on. You told me that when you put it on it made you dance. That skirt is long gone but I hope it is making someone else dance.

Today is a day to remember. You’ve been gone two years and I miss you so much, but when I think of you dancing in heaven it brings me peace because I know how happy you are in the arms of Jesus.

I hope there is a porch in heaven so that someday soon we can dance again.

Let them praise His name with dancing….Psalm 149:3

Dancing in grace,

Teresa

Doughnuts and Grape Jelly

As I walked in from the laundry, I caught a glimpse of the picture of the old bearded gentlemen praying over his bowl of soup.  And for a fleeting moment I wanted to call you to tell you that after several months of not having a home he finally has a place on the wall in my kitchen.  Right above the bench I purchased when I worked for a garden furniture company.

You remember how he always hung above Grandma’s little kitchen table as if he were watching over and praying for all of us.  I never thought about that picture much as a child.  I just knew it was there.  It was a constant just like Grandma and You.  I don’t remember exactly when you gave it to me but I’ve always cherished it.  Now that it has a home again in my kitchen it feels right.

 I look at it and memories are suspended in time, memories that connect the three of us.  The bitter sweetness of it all washes over me.  I sigh wishing for just a spot of time for the three of us to sit around that little table sharing doughnuts smothered with grape jelly and laughing at something nonsensical that no one else would understand.

I’m hoping that God has a little table reserved for us in heaven with doughnuts and grape jelly.

 

Well, it has been a while hasn’t it?  This is my first post in over a year.  Today is the first in a long time that I have wanted to sit down and write.  You never know what will cause the spark.  I had just put a load in the dryer and was returning to the kitchen to finish the dishes I had started when I caught a glimpse of the picture. It gave me an odd sense of joy and melancholoy at the same time and for a brief moment I thought I should talk to Mom.  But of course in such moments I immediately remember that I can’t. So, sometimes I talk to her in written form.  I also did this a few weeks ago when I was sitting at my work table and happend to look out the window and across the yard at her home. I was prompted to write a note then on some scrap paper so I wouldn’t forget the thought.  Someday soon I’ll share that with you too. 

My family is important to me and I was very close to both my mom and my  grandmother.  The picture was my grandmother’s given to me by my mom when grandma passed away.  I remember sitting at that table many times when I stayed with grandma.  She loved to put jelly on her doughnuts. 

I don’t know what sharing this with you today means, but maybe it means I’m ready to write again.  For so long I have felt blocked and couldn’t find the joy in sharing words with you.  I would think of things and even “write” them in my head but didn’t put pen to paper or pursue them.  I just wasn’t ready for some reason.  I think I felt lost and couldn’t find my sense of place.  I know I’ve needed to grieve and heal.  Life, of course, has it’s ups and downs for all of us and we have different seasons that shape us.  Sometimes a hard season or two can cause us to retreat.  But, eventually if we hold on we see the light again and healing begins.  

Thank you for reading,

Teresa

Grace be with you, mercy and peace, from God the Father, in truth and love. 2 John 3

 

This is Easter Morn

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)

As many of you know my mother wrote poetry.  She was never formally published but I wish we had pursued that while she was alive. She was in a poetry writing group for a while and had a few published in a couple of newspapers.  She also generously shared poems with others when she felt a poem had a message that could encourage the person in whatever circumstance they found themselves. If you have a handwritten copy of one of her poems I hope you keep it as a treasure.

I promised her when she was in hospice that I was going to see that her poetry was published for the whole world to read.  I have published a few on my blog, but I have plans, God willing to do a book of her poetry.  Most of her poems were written in the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties.  They were actually quite good; some, a little rough around the edges, needing some final editing.

In 1975 during Holy Week, on Good Friday, she wrote an Easter Poem and titled it Hallelujah. Because of the repeating refrain of This is Easter Morn I thought about changing the title of the poem but decided that the whole concept of Easter is definitely one big Hallelujah and that must be how she felt about it, so I left her title. I’d like to share it with you:

Mom's Easter Poem

Happy Easter! I hope you find a church and attend on Easter Sunday to Worship our Risen Savior!

Celebrating in Grace,

Teresa

If you haven’t read it yet, I shared a whole series about losing my Mom to Alzheimer’s. I shared a few of her poems throughout the series. You can click here to check it out.

calm sky

 

Into Your Hands

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’

When he had said this he breathed his last.” Luke 23:46

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

The verse we read in Luke 23:46 as part of the Easter story is also referenced in Psalm 31:5. Several sources I came across while researching indicated that the phrase “into your hands I commit my spirit” was how the Jewish people ended their evening prayers.

I would imagine that like other Jewish children, Jesus was taught this prayer as a young child. It was a familiar practice that was an act of trust. To commit something of value to another is not a small thing.  By definition commit means to entrust something to someone; it also means to put into a place for safekeeping. (Merriman Webster).

By committing their spirit to God each evening they were submitting their soul for safekeeping.  What a beautiful picture of complete submission to the will of the father. We know that Jesus had prayed on the Mount of Olives asking for this cup to be taken from him but he surrendered by concluding his prayer with “not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). This too would line up with committing his spirit to Father God.

Then, we have the account in Mark 15:34 of Jesus crying out asking God “why have you forsaken me?” According to Mark, this was at 3 O’clock.  Luke’s account begins at noon, followed by three hours of darkness and then right before Jesus says, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” Luke mentions that it is 3 O’clock.  This would imply that only moments after asking why God had forsaken him, Jesus then acknowledges that he is committing his spirit to the father.

In his darkest hour, burdened by the weight of my sin and the sins of the whole world, sins that had not yet been committed, sins that God in his holiness could not look upon, Jesus felt the crushing despair of complete and utter abandonment.  But yet, he still trusted that his spirit would be safe with the father.

His loud proclamation of “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” tells us all we need to know about God’s faithfulness.  It tells us that a daily practice of committing our spirit (soul) to him is how we develop trust in him, it is how we surrender to his will, not ours, and it is how we can face our own mortality with confidence.  When the time comes, just as Jesus did, we can breathe our last breath knowing that we will be united with our Father eternally.

Maybe you are facing insurmountable trials that are shaking your very foundation.  Maybe you feel that God has turned his back on you and your world has gone dark. Maybe you are crushed under the weight of despair.  I urge you to remember that if you are a born again believer you have hope and even when it seems that all is lost, you can confidently say, “Father, into your hand I commit my spirit.” You can trust him with the safekeeping of your soul.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior I can’t think of a better time than during the Easter season.

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen”

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Committing with Grace,

Teresa