Faith

A Time For Everything/A Time To Uproot, A Time To Quit

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Faith, Married Life, Mother, Seasons, Time | 46 comments

#74 final blog

 

Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said it best, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

The past month has catapulted me into a season of sobering introspection. Watching my mother die challenged me deeply in unexpected ways. From how I use my time to examining my pocketbook – everything has been split open for scrutiny.

As a result, my husband and I agree it’s time for some changes. The “time to die” has beckoned us to “a time to uproot”.

Our first decision was to uproot from where we live. After four decades in the same house, we’re moving to a dramatically different community even though it’s only 10 miles away. We’ll be leaving the house we purchased when we first married to occupy the home my husband was born in. It’s actually quite exciting.

Leaving our safe, fairly static neighborhood with virtually no diversity to join a population with extreme diversity and non-stop activity should be interesting. I guess we’re doing it a little backwards – instead of moving from chaotic to quiet, we’re choosing to rev up the pace and dive into hectic.

Our new neighborhood is sweet and comfortable but the community it’s in is laden with people and with needs. We feel called to this new season and look forward to the integration.

The other significant uprooting for me is my decision to shut down my blog.

I have truly enjoyed the journey of blogging I began a little over a year ago. I’ve met amazing people and seen God do incredible things through it – but the season is changing and my keyboard will be closed for now. I hope to continue writing in other venues and plan to keep in touch with many new friends I’ve met here.

Please remember – it’s always my pleasure to pray for you – I can still be reached through the Let’s Connect tab on this website.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so faithful to read and communicate with me. It’s been a blast but “the time to be silent and a time to speak” is now initiated.

Parting thoughts:

Go with God. Trust him like never before. Seize opportunities to listen and care. Guard your heart against callousness, envy and judgment. Treat the weak with respect. Cherish wonder. Find Jesus in the face of a stranger. Let children be children and adults be children. Be a child yourself – his child.

With Much Love, Pat

 

 

Read More

Thoughts About My Mother and Pierced Ears

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Death, Faith, Mother, Trust | 14 comments

Ears blog 2

 

 

It’s been two weeks since my mother died. In some ways it seems like yesterday and at other times – a lifetime ago. My brother told me he’s having a really hard time shaking images from his mind of her final days. The mental pictures are indelibly haunting to him.

There are certain images that linger for me also. They randomly surface like freeze-framed photos in my head. As strange at it might seem – today I couldn’t get her earlobes out of my mind.

I guess it makes sense since I spent a tremendous amount of time perched close to her face during that final week. I whispered words of encouragement into those ears as I washed perspiration from her clammy brow.

I recall one moment my mind took a snapshot of her ears as my eyes landed on them. Thoughts flooded and tears flowed while I stared at her.

Her ears had been pierced since childhood but were now void of gold or any other adornment. The discriminating earlobes that once only tolerated pure gold were now noticeably closed shut, leaving marks of surrender. The entrance blocked by scar tissue was evidence of her submission to the rules where she lived.

Several times during the last three years I bought inexpensive versions of her favorite hoop earrings trying to satisfy her desire to look pretty. But each time, a day or two later, the earlobes would swell and reject the cheap knockoffs, leaving a disappointed mom and frustrated me.

One item at a time – I watched her give up belongings she had enjoyed for decades.

The picture of her earlobes imprinted in my mind represent a deep level of trust to me – something I’ve never experienced. She fully entrusted her well being and her belongings to my care. It humbles me and pricks my heart with soulful examination.

Trust is letting go of our rights. Trading control for reliance. Trading shallow belief for deep faith.

It’s easy for me to confess trust with my mouth. It’s an entirely different matter to hand over my expensive earrings and live with the consequences of scarred piercings. The result usually isn’t pretty – but the act shines brighter than gold or silver. It’s pure. It’s holy. And it’s our blessed invitation as believers.

My mother’s trust pierces a deep place in my soul. I want to trust like that. I want to love like that.

Committed love depends on trust for sustenance and propulsion. Over time its scars become a sacred badge of honor. I hope that before my final breath – trust will leave its mark on me too.

“The things he planned for us, no one can recount. Were I to speak of them, they would be too vast to declare. Sacrifices and offerings he does not desire, but my ear he has pierced.” Psalm 40:5-6 (emphasis mine)

 

photo credit

Read More

How Do You Describe God?

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Faith, Life, Our Hope, Truth | 18 comments

elephant collage 2

 

Someone recently asked me how I would describe God. My mind immediately went to the ancient parable of the blind men discovering an elephant for the first time.

With great fascination they each grabbed hold of part of the giant beast in order to better understand it. As one man felt its large ear gently waving to keep pests away, the man described the elephant as a soft leathery fan. Another man held onto the elephant’s tail and deduced an elephant is strong and slender like a snake. The man standing beside one of the elephant’s large legs told the others the elephant was like a tree trunk, tall and stately.

The moral of the story of course, is each one was entirely accurate and completely wrong at the same time. Trying to describe God through my limited knowledge and experiences of him is also based on a very minute view of all that he is.

Whether through my comprehension of the Bible or through personal experiences – my understanding is limited at best.

Some days he is like a fan. I feel movement and breeze when I spend time with him. I sense his involvement and intervention in my life. While other days he seems distant and rigid – stately and hard to grab onto.

And just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, things shift and my firm convictions are challenged by what I read or experience. My hold on the tail of truth whips free and I’m left grasping for a better understanding of the God I love.

He is immense to me like the elephant was to the blind men. He is untamable, no matter how long I’ve known him. He will never be fully understood by my finite mind. And yet, he is approachable and within reach.

When I feel blind I choose to stand firm. I wait for his voice, for his touch. I stand firm on the truth I know.

I know his consistent love. I know he is trustworthy. I know him even though I will never fully understand him until I see his full person, when I am free of mine.

So how would I describe him?

He is large, inexplicably large. He is gentle and strong, stronger than any force known to man. He is ever-present, no matter how distant he seems to be – he’s everywhere. He laughs and cries, he speaks and listens. He’s tender and fierce, gracious and just. He’s approachable, reasonable, multilingual and fair. He does more than love, he is love.

He is creative beyond understanding. He speaks without a voice – and yet speaks with a voice every person is able to hear. He never turns his back on the hurting. He hears, heals and patiently waits. His nature is like nothing we have known – and yet we are created in his likeness. He is simply indescribable.

The pursuit of God can never be exhausted – I am convinced there will always be more to discover about him. The tragedy is feeling satisfied with what we already know or dogmatically declaring we know it all.

I can’t help but make an attempt to describe such mystery and wonder. But please don’t take my word – discover for yourself and never, ever become satisfied with what you find.

 

 photo credit – and acknowledgment the original version is much prettier

 

 

Read More

Back to School Days

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Children, Faith, Life, School | 20 comments

#67 back to school

 

It’s been five and a half years since I walked off my school campus for the last time. And it’s been almost as long since my stomach stopped the yearly churning of anticipation that comes about this time each year. I have to admit – I miss teaching.

Teaching is an honorable profession. It’s also a hard profession. There’s never enough time in the day to get it all done. And never enough money in the budget to accomplish the lofty goals set.

I still find myself thinking the calendar year starts in September and ends when summer begins to fade.

No matter what day school actually starts – whether mid August or September, it’s a special day. A day of new beginnings – a day of fresh starts. I don’t know another profession that gets to reset all over again every nine and a half months.

I love the first day of school. You can almost smell the fragrance of newness children wear – new shoes, new backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils along with new hopes and high expectations.

Classrooms also feel new. Lucky teachers get a fresh coat of paint on old cabinets and are welcomed in by the tangy smell of steamed-cleaned carpets. Bright new name tags garnish children’s cubbies and blank bulletin boards wait to welcome works of art.

It’s a time of fresh starts, new beginnings and all the stuff real life is made of.

School is a place of learning for everyone involved. But so much more than facts are learned there. School is our first exposure to belonging to a community outside our natural family. Each year teachers are faced with the task of bringing cohesion to a group of unrelated little beings for the express purpose of ending stronger, smarter and healthier than when they began.

I miss the first day of school and all the excitement that comes with it – but most of all I miss the community and the challenge of teaching.

Teachers are blessed to link with the mystery of life. It’s a high calling and a sacred trust.

The smell of new soon fades to the expected odors of sweaty bodies and lunch sacks with day-old bananas. Many tears will be spilled, feelings hurt and mended, more than a few skinned knees attended to. New concepts will be taught – some caught, some to be grasped later. Meetings will be held and scared little bodies too.

And in the end – there’s an indescribable satisfaction that can’t be compared.

My hat is tipped to the brave souls entering the wonderful world of school life this month. Know that your classroom will be fuller than you thought – not because of the state budget, but because our Heavenly Father promises to send angels with his kids. When you serve your children, you serve God. When you link into the community called school – you touch the mystery of life.

 

 

Read More

Do You Believe God Really Sees You?

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Faith, God Speaks, His Love, Our Hope | 22 comments

kyle skully 1

 

He sees you, in fact he never takes his eyes off you. He watches – and even prays for you.

 

Give your heart the freedom to believe this today. Take a deep breath and consider what it means to have the author and creator of all you see take note of you. Believing this fact will change how you feel about yourself and how you live.

He sees your thoughts and your dreams.

He sees your good days and the not so good.

He sees your pain and your celebrations.

He sees your past.

He sees your future.

 

And the One, who sees you, loves you still.

 

In a world that constantly evaluates our performance and grades us accordingly – it can be difficult to believe God really loves us – scars, bruises, deficits and all. But he does. His love covers our shame and also lifts us from it.

The scripture says he loved us with a complete love – even before we knew him. Can you imagine?

His visible and tangible presence all around us opens our eyes to see him back.

There’s comfort in knowing he sees, but there’s power in seeing he knows.

 

He loves us in order to commune with us.

 

Picture the most powerful person in the world today. Odds are, you can’t imagine having an audience with that person – much less an intimate two way conversation.

The truth is, the God of the universe knows the exact number of hairs on that powerful person’s head and waits to listen to both of you.

Can you imagine.

We are wired for relationship by the one who fashioned us after himself.

He enjoys interactive conversations. He listens and doesn’t leave us for a better ear.

 

Yes, God sees you. He loves you. And He waits to be with you.

 

photo credit

Read More

The Door of Hope

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Faith, Hope, Love | 24 comments

european door 2

 

The door of hope is available to every living, breathing soul.

Unlike other doors it’s uniquely fashioned without a latch or handle. At first glance there’s no obvious way to open it. It’s sturdy frame rests on a threshold of love. It is hinged with strong brackets of grace. And although it’s a thing of beauty and a necessity for entrance, many weary travelers worry it’s too difficult to open. But it’s not.

No knocking is required – or doorbells to ring. With a light touch, a tap of faith – it opens, welcoming guests to peace, joy and spectacular glimpses of His face.

I urge you – reach toward it with confidence and marvel as you watch the door open. Receive with gratitude whatever waits for you on the other side. Take pleasure in the mystery. Rest in your personalized claim. Destiny triumphs. Struggling cease. Your arrival is expected and sacred gifts will be released.

Worry, frustration, self planning and defeat will be forced to flee. Rejoice in the relinquishment. Recognize sovereignty and the better plan. Walk boldly into your story –

beyond the beautiful Door of Hope.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” Romans 12:12

 

 

 

Read More