It Wasn’t a Dream

I awake and the sun greets me like many other mornings my eyes have seen. Then I remember. I don’t want to really because the heartache stirs deep all over me again. 

It is the day after. Exhaustion had overcome me and graciously, the Lord had granted me sleep. My eyes were tired from the fountain of tears they had cried the evening before this day. My mind played over and over the event of the day prior to this and I tried to convince myself that it was all real, yet it all seemed so surreal at best. It was as if I was drifting through a haze of events that just couldn’t be real. It was the day after my mother had died. I awoke and had to remember it all over once again. One of my first thoughts was that she was still here, I could still talk with her and tell her that I love her. That was not reality, though and that would quickly settle in my mind, forever imprinted there with memories of having to turn off her life support because there was no more sign of life. 

Is this what it was like for Mary? Did she cry herself to sleep? Did the terrifying events of the day before scream at her as she sought rest from her weariness? Did she awake the next morning only to remember that it was not a dream, but a cruel reality that she faced? Was her mind still reeling from the unprecedented evil that she has witnessed the day before this? Her heart had to be aching and agonizing even though she knew that His heart would be pierced through and hers was, as well. Pierced for our ugly, vile sin. 

What now? Processing this is all too much and my mind doesn’t want to comprehend what death really means. I close my eyes, but I can’t hide from it. More tears flow and this is how the new day begins. It isn’t a dream at all. Did Mary try to hide from it, too? Did she close her eyes tightly thinking that she could somehow rid herself of the image of her Son hanging there on that cross in excruciating pain?

Nothing I do takes away the grief I have. I cannot remove it. Only the Lord provides that kind of comfort and healing. So, I pray. I pray that the Lord will move me from this bed and give the extra grace I will need to make it through what this day holds. Grace to be and do what is needed today. I get up. I still cry in the shower and many more times that day and for days to come. There is an ache there that stays with me like a faithful companion. 

It is the day after Jesus died. I can only imagine how His mother and followers felt. They didn’t yet know the hope that was to come very shortly. This is the hope every Believer can cling to with sweet and amazing fervor. We know the truth. We know we are not abandoned. We know there is life to come. Death is a great mystery we must all embrace. We can believe or we can constantly question and never be sure. There is a choice to make. 

So, I see that there is life yet to be lived and that He gives me the ability to move forward even in my grief. He shows me that with each new day, I will awake and need to remember all these events until they become my new normal. In that new way of living and thinking, I find He shows me more of Himself day after day. Now I awake and I have a joy inexpressible, instead of a grief so deep that it feels like I could die. It wasn’t just a dream at all. It did really happen and now I find a new truth that defines all of life. My life is awake to Him in His truth.  I find this truth in 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21…” Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even thought we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away;behold, new things have come. Now all these thing are from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

I only have this truth to give me hope. It is the truth of every single day, or I have nothing. In my wildest dreams I never imagined such a hope. My eyes awake to it now each morning. It is a sweet reality that brings my life the meaning it was meant to have. 

 

 

 

 

His Way

Do you feel like you are wandering aimlessly with nor focus and you really do not have any great ideas bout how to get to where you need to be? Maybe you don’t even KNOW where you need to be? There is a way. 

Jesus is THE way. Follow after Him and your life will have purpose and direction. 

Do you experience doubt and confusion daily and you aren’t sure how to process what happens in your life? Maybe you aren’t even sure what is real anymore? There is truth.

Seek Jesus because He really is ALL the truth you will ever need. 

Do you ask yourself frequently, “What is the point of all of this?”  and you are wallowing in the pit of your mind sinking deeper with every passing moment? Maybe you feel like you are just over  and done with it all? You are wondering why you are even alive at all? There is real life.

Go to Jesus…go now! He is THE life you need to truly be alive.

“Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”-John 14:6

Jesus desperately loves you. His blood bought you, so never settle for any cheap imitations of His real and divine love for you.

Without Apology: 7 Reasons Not to Be Ashamed of the Hard Parts of the Gospel

The gospel is the living water we all so desperately need to drink deeply of every minute of the day. It isn’t difficult to understand, really, we just make the word of God hard because it is in conflict with our fleshly desires. What if we just simply believed and took Jesus at His word? Would we experience the freedom He so graciously and generously offers to each of us in a n extremely abundant way that we may have never before lived? Yes! A resounding symphony of “yeses” is the answer. It is all there….perfectly and completely…given to you by Him as the most precious gift ever. Live in it.

Michelle Lesley

7-not-ashamed

I am not ashamed of the gospel…

Romans 1:16 is such a great verse, isn’t it? And one of the things that’s great about it is that we can all agree on it. I mean, no self-respecting Christian would dream of saying she’s ashamed of the gospel, would she? It’s a rallying cry for evangelism and for standing against persecution. Of course we’re not ashamed.

In theory. But in practice?

You see, the gospel is the good news of salvation. And, while we don’t tend to share the entire Bible when we share the gospel with someone, the good news starts in Genesis with a holy God who created a perfect world, and moves on to the first people who messed everything up with their sin, a whole bunch of subsequent people who couldn’t be faithful to God and keep His Law, Christ and His redemption of sinners, and the Revelation…

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The Morning After

Is this really happening? I feel like the life is being sucked right out of me as the alarm on the monitor sounds. I will never forget that sound. It signals the end of this life and the entrance into a new one.

WARNING: RAW EMOTION TO FOLLOW.

Maybe my mind cannot comprehend what this all means as it is happening. So much emotion floods my bones. It feels surreal as if I am watching myself and those around me from above the situation, yet, there is nothing as real as death.

My father wants to know if I am okay. That is code for “are you about to fall over?”. Tears spill and all I know how to do is cling to Rick and sob in disbelief. That’s my Dad though, always concerned about how others are doing when in reality, I am sure it was him who wanted to fall to his knees in a sorrow so deep that it just might envelop his entire being.

It was early evening on a cool, yet sunny spring day…April 14, 1994. That was the day we said our goodbyes for now to my mother. Her barely warm body gave way to a breathing tube and her eyes never opened. The doctor had declared her brain dead in the late afternoon. There was just nothing. No words. We had to let her go, and we did.

Really? Oh God, what now? How do we do this? I can’t do this. That is how the conversations with my Lord unfolded on that day.

Sleep came from pure exhaustion. He met me there and ministered to me as I shut my eyes to the darkness of that day.

Then it came, as it always does. The sun makes it grand entrance and the birds sing their new day’s song. It was the morning after the day my mother died. It was gut-wrenching to remember, but remember I must. So, I keep my eyes very still and shut very tight. Maybe, this isn’t real, maybe I had a horrible dream. Reality came rushing in like the ocean tide and then the tears began their descent once more. The next morning….the morning after the day my mother left this world and exchanged it for the real one.

So, today is that day, only twenty-one years later. Yes, I relived those tears and yet, I am more confident than ever about being held in the very palm of the Lord and that He is  the One who brings my heart to a place of handing my loved one over into His own now.

Today as I enter His sanctuary, I remember. I remember what a wonderful mother God decided should be my mom and how she loved me and how she cared. I never have to question her intentions or her actions. She was a mother and a wife through and through. It showed in all she did. I am so grateful to have been her child, her daughter. Today is a day to remember….it is the day after. It is the morning after and I know where she is and Whose presence she lives.

Today my mother is more alive than she has ever been….just as she was the morning after. The Lord is my constant, my all. In Him there is new life and new being. This I remember every morning, just as I remember my mother each new day with greater love than the morning before.

Every One of My Children Can

My passion. My gift. My balm to soothe. To me, playing and teaching violin transports me to another place. That place is alive, breathing the voice of my instrument, vibrating perfectly with the sound waves created. It is where I hear the Spirit speak to me so many mysteries.

This is the Sanctuary God gave me. It is my resting place in Him. Renewal comes through the very act of worshiping Him within the movement of the music. The beauty of the Sanctuary is resounding joy.

Tonight I am asked by one of my very thoughtful and gifted students about my start in music. I tell her about the early years on piano and then share with her how in upper elementary school, a music educator discouraged me from playing violinand in fact did not choose me to be a part of the strings class for the following year.

Because of my very astute mother who wasn’t about to let that happen to me, she instead put me into private lessons. I see now that God had his way in my life at that very moment. He showed me the power of a mother and father’s love for their child and their belief that indeed I could play the violin. I flourished and worked very hard. I knew I could do it and my parents supported me in every possible way.

Then, I shared with my student how in the Suzuki method of teaching that Dr. Suzuki’s whole philosophy centered around the belief that every child can play music and that I believe this with my entire being. By now, my student’s eyes are watering as I express the truth of what it means to believe that someone can truly play music when nurtured with love.

She tells me what an inspirational story this is and I see a look in her eye that tells me that I have touched something deep in her. At the door, I tell her that I am so very glad that my parents gave me the chance to develop this gift and that God had other plans in mind for me in spite of a teacher’s wrong assessment so long ago. She glances at me when I mention God’s name and I see a glimmer of hope there in her face.

Isn’t this just like you Father. You take my story and use it for you…all for you. Oh God, my God, let my stories always point to you…always!

I enter His Sanctuary with violin and bow in hand…ready. Ready to have Him give life to these strings.

I can clearly discern now how my heavenly Father believes that I can. He makes me able. He gives the power to do this for Him. The passion flows from Him and makes its way back to Him right where it all belongs.

I close the door and close my eyes tightly remembering why and Who. A sob or two escapes and I thank Him for it all. How could I not? I stand there with a flood of emotions breaking in the midst of all the ways He has ever shown me that His fingerprints have been all over me for so very long.

It is a moment of worship. A holy moment between me and my Lord…in the Sanctuary.

Not Just Another Day

I awake startled…..life beginning anew….mine forever changed.

   Is this really it…is this happening now? I turn to Rick and tell him that my water has broken and that it is time to call the doctor and make the trek to the hospital….the same hospital where I was born on a cold winter’s day, as well. Something tells me that this is going to be an adventure all the way around!! We arrive and get settled into our birthing suite all comfy. The afternoon comes but still no baby, so I am induced. I wish I had never heard that word. My body is in constant waves of pain at regular intervals now. After what seems like a lifetime and no real progress being made, the doc says that other word that was never meant to be part of my plan…you know..the birthing plan I had ideally made up in my ideal world. You know the word…epidural. So at nine that night I am curled over waiting for an excruciating point of entry by the needle I never intended to see…ever. By 2:48am, the cutest red-headed baby boy made his grand entrance into our world.

We prayed together and we cried together. We gave him the name Richard Samuel and we dedicated him to the Lord that very day in the dark moments of the morning before the dawn. I knew that this was a special child. He had been intensely asked for on bended knee and with my whole body kissing the ground…holy ground. God answered….yes.

My father had waited there the whole time…outside the room mostly. I know he was praying and asking God for a beautiful perfect little baby boy to be born. He probably never stopped praying…that’s just who he was. I know he heard my birthing cries. I know he probably wanted to make it all stop for me…to comfort me. That is just who he was. I also know that he knew exactly how I would feel once I held that sweet baby boy to my chest and kissed his little face because he had kissed my own so long ago….that’s just who he was and is to me.

I entered the Sanctuary of God that day with a whole new way of thinking, a whole new way of being in awe of God…the author of all life…the Creator of this little baby Richard Samuel. My body was so very tired, but my spirit was so very alive. See, I know that just like my earthly father, my heavenly Father was there with me in this day. He was watching over me, protecting me and our little one. He was excited for this new journey to begin. Also, God knew just what the impact of this child would have on my life, on our lives. God kissed me that day…His child…as He leaned over me and gave me His eyes and His love for this child. That’s just who He really is and always will be…forever.

RE: RENEW-REFRESH- REPLENISH

Today I come into His Sanctuary a bit parched. The desert can leave an incredible burn from the intense heat radiating off the landscape. All I really want to do is satisfy that thirst I have deep inside me. So I dip my feet in the pool of refreshment that only He can offer. What I really want to do is thrust my whole being into that pool, but I enter carefully, not reluctantly, but with reverence, so my spirit and mind can be renewed in the refreshing waters of His Sanctuary.

It is amazing how when you have been praying and God has done wonderful things by opening your eyes further to His unending holiness, that Death will come all ugly and gnarled to steal it all away. This Death serves up an unholy meal of fear and great discouragement. But…today I know where to go, where to be refreshed, where to immerse my myself. I enter His Sanctuary expectantly waiting to receive gifts of truth to inspire joy and hope for this day.

Hope springs eternal….and our Hope is eternal.

Clinging to the hope He offers brings me to a quieter countenance as I sit with Him in the Sanctuary a little while longer….just lingering there. I really need my gaze to be utterly fused together with His at this moment in time. I need to see what He can see about me, about this day, about this life. I so much want Him to show me just where this all ends, but for now, I just allow the coolness of His Spirit to wash over this tired and overloaded body and mind to be replenished.

I spend this time with Him….a time of restoration… and I can then respond with trust. Here there is true authenticity before God. No more walls. No more wandering. Here His mercy is  lavished so generously on me in that pool of love eternal.