Been away. Saying farewell from this world to my step-mum. Loved. Missed. Always remembered.
In gentleness you spoke and thought
In quietness you moved
In otherness of focus
Was the path you oft did choose
In jest, your laughter hearty
In grief your focus set
In cheeky shifts of humour
Work with diligence was met
In children, love rejoicing
In grandies, care and pride
In family, time well-spent
Love with husband from on high
You saw beauty all around you
Brilliant colour from the rose
Form of mankind in all seasons
Adorning cakes and walls along your road
Determined, gentle battler
Crown of persistence on your brow
Hopeful, enduring constancy
Now complete and wholly sound
I love you
Though refinement will go on until I leave this earth, the last eight years have been especially hot. In the heat of the furnace of refinement, the last five have been particularly scorching. The last two – three…white-hot!
The scars are not yet healed over completely and are still easily pried open. I am still who I am, and more who I am meant to become, because of so many who have held me up; or cradled me; or stood beside me; or battled with me; or battled for me; or battled with and for my children; or protected me; or clarified for me; or waited for me; or directed me; or even rebuked me (very gently).
It is my desire to share some of this love and community with you. My hope is that you will find some encouragement and direction from those I consider family, and not all are my relatives.
This from my sister, AZ:
…but when everything around us fails to give us what we are looking for or need, we need reminders to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, the Lifter of our head, the Guardian of our soul, the Beginning and End, the Almighty, Most Powerful, the Defender of our cause, the Source of our peace and joy, our All in All…We need to be able to stand in Christ alone, without needing anything or anyone else, that everything in Him is sufficient for me and for you, even though we may feel sad and hurt and lost. And then to be found in Him, to be restored, to be healed and hidden in Christ through the blessed blood of Christ Jesus our Lord. You are hidden in Christ! He surrounds you with His whole being, with His love He has already enveloped you, He fights for you every single second of the day and night. He never falls asleep or grows weary, though you do. He knows that you struggle, that you struggle so much and you are tired, your body and mind are exhausted. His love for you is all that matters, when everything else falls away, you still stand with Him, and He enables you to stand, because your legs can’t hold you up any longer. Keep fighting the good fight for your reward is in heaven. Don’t let the devil get a foothold for he prowls around looking for someone to devour. Stand firm then in the mighty power of God and put on the full armour of God, then you will be able to stand, rooted and established deep in the soil of God’s marvelous love. And even though you still cry, God our Father will count all your tears as He wipes them away. Your prayers to Him will be like sweet smelling offerings. He will hear them and He will receive them. He will honour your faith. He will make you strong and you are worthy of His love. I love you and I pray for you, so that you have prayer even when you cannot pray yourself. Stand firm and God will deliver you.
The one constant is the Creator of all things. Things happen to us, and around us, and because of us as a result of our choices. Trouble is not the Creator’s fault, but he will allow it and use it to make us who we were designed, redeemed and restored to be. In this process we are delivered by him, which may not mean we get everything we want or everything we lost or destroyed. But we will get much beauty and peace and joy, as well as white-hot fire, throughout this process of refinement. Who wants to hold on to anything that can be destroyed with fire anyway? Only the gold, the pure gold. This will remain, this I will hold on to.
Can you see some of the gold? Focus on those things because they are here to stay, they are what makes you who you are, what makes you beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made.
Repentance is the means by which one accepts forgiveness already offered.
Not the means by which forgiveness is earned.
Forgiveness is a gift given; not a right deserved; nor a commodity bought.
Repentance is the way in which one holds out their own hand to accept the gift of forgiveness offered freely.
Forgive. Repent. Accept. Be changed.
His comments directed my thoughts to other individuals and groups whose communities and families may or may not approach them, or may unintentionally offend or wound through ignorance.
Social media and other communication mediums are replete with those who have endured war, abuse, rape, disability, pain, physical and mental illness, job-loss, moral and financial bankruptcy, child-loss, widow-hood (I could go on), all looking for others who have shared in a similar experience and/or a place to be heard and valued.
My simple hope is that we each would take an interest and the time to discover what another’s experience has been like, and share our own experiences so that someone else may not feel alone in theirs. Talking about our lives is healthy for the speaker, the listener and our social connections. Not talking, asking or listening only breeds our sense of isolation, negative identity assumptions (of ourselves and others), and disconnection from each other when we all have a desire to belong – somewhere.
Oh, mother of mine
Whose love, so divine
Was comfort to all
Whenever we’d call
Inviting us in
After thought or at whim
Grace and mercy all round
Loving arms to surround
Providing tastes to delight
Waiting up in the night
Home and clothing so clean
Diligence gone unseen
Growing gardens of flowers
Beholding beauty was ours
Grace was personified
In your life, now glorified
A piece of us left with you
When to Christ’s feast you flew
What joy it will be
When greets us, Saviour and thee
I love you Mum, my mum
Mum, I know that I’m not talking
To you as I used to do
When I was so much smaller
And I used to hug you too
But if you can just be patient
Till my brain and body grow
Once again I’ll want your wisdom
And maybe kiss you as I go
I know that when I’m angry
And you don’t know what to say
That I make you quite unhappy
So it’s hard for us to stay
In our home and be together
When I’m sad and all withdrawn
Staying in my room, behind the door
Even with the curtains drawn
But one day I’ll emerge from all
The darkness, out and in
Our communication slowly
Will no doubt begin again
I’ll be thankful that I have you
In my life to walk beside
Now I’m grown and we are family
And as friends, to love in life