Friday, August 23, 2013

A Season of Eternity

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under Heaven--
   A time to give birth, and a time to die;
   A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 

We shared news this week on the Facebook pages of our lives, that brought sorrow. First, the passing of a teenager named Kody, a very sick young man for more than a year; even his disease was hard to diagnosis. The community rallied for him in prayer and family support. Second, another friend's husband whose heart surgery and complications ended in today's update, his passing into glory. Culminating with the end to my summer and my sunflower season, I share a re-edited poem I wrote a few years ago as today's post.

 I planted sunflowers in a new place, a new yard, the first summer after my son died. The butterfly comes to me, a God whisper to trust. I stand amongst the sunflowers to say, yes Lord, help me to trust you today. Each season in our life God can use for His glory. Solomon, in all his wisdom, tells us so as he continues to name the seasons. It is hard to understand in our flesh, how a season of sorrow is not an end. Trust God are the only two words I could think for awhile in my own season of grief. Praise God, for Kody, Norm and Tim, a new season begins. Praise God that in our grief, what God has planted, He promises to nurture and restore. Praise God, that the Season of Eternity is just that, forever and ever! 

Sunflower Lives

Out my kitchen window, planted to see,
Giant sunflowers, swaying so softly.
Rising behind the marigold plot
Up they grow, along the fence spot.

Harvesting seeds from last year's crop
The dried, crusty bloom, many seeds I did drop
A few to the birds and I gathered the rest
To plant this year, sort of a test. 

And soon they emerged, up and up with speed
Staked, planted firm against their own weight and need.
The bees gather 'round, more than before.
I spotted a mantis, praying for more. 

And in my observation, today God speaks.
Standing at the window thinking on summer weeks.
The first, the largest, now hangs it's head in grace,
For it served it's purpose, now the seeds take their place. 

Others stand by; multi-blooms on stock,
Watching over the fence, no hesitant balk.
Knowing they serve us with whimsy and purpose;
But their days are numbered; preparing to leave us.

I think of my son, (Kody and Norm); a shining short season,
So like the sunflower, deliberate with reason.
Planted and nurtured to bring memory seeds,
I'll continue to sow for as long as God needs. 

And my hope is that one will grow in your yard.
A bright yellow flower to always stand guard. 
A reminder of seasons, some short and some long.
But a memory of grace told in a sunflower song. 

My friend JB and her husband Norm 


Thank you Lord for the promise of the Season of Eternity. For in You alone lies our hope. Great God of Comfort, minister to these dear ones whose season of sorrow is upon them. May those who mourn know peace. I pray for these dear friends, for their own seasons of growth, bringing them closer to You. Father God, lead them through the valley off sorrows, to the place where memories exist, where the weeping turns to a season of laughter and smiles, where what's been torn into what You can build up from the petals of their heart. For other's Lord, for myself, teach us to speak and when and where to find You in our own  "sunflower sanctuary"  and just listen. Your season is now and God, lift our heads towards Your glorious face, a face that brings life eternal. Amen. 

In love and memory of Kody and Norm, Coleene 

P.S. Hey Tim, Kody loved to play soccer, shoot some goals with him and Norm...neither of you have nasty scars anymore, perfect bodies of glory, all of you now. Send extra butterflys to our friends this week, peace out Tim. Love you. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Keeping Hydrated

Psalm 36: 8 "They drink their fill of the abundance of Thy house; and Thou dost give them to drink of the river of Thy delights."

Thursdays, a kind of hectic day around here. It's payday which also means "we're-out-of-groceries-day" thus "go-out-to-dinner-and-catch-up-on-the-week-day." That is, after I wait for my hubby to come home from the shop. He waits as well, for meetings to end,  gathering pay checks for his workers, job discussions and resupply, and I know, a little lollygagging.  

(Just knew I would use that word sooner or later...) 

We do just that, and it's usually after eight by this time. Ted showers and shaves. I clean up a space for me in his truck, throwing away the wrappers and plastic cups, juggling the blueprints to the backseat, cringing at what's been spilled and if I can trust the seat I'm about to sit in.  

At dinner, we fill up on conversation, iced tea and sometimes share a meal. We talk about our week, the week to come. The waitress repours for Ted and I get to the bottom of my first glass. She comes again and politely refills for a second, a third time. 

Our thirst is quenched and yet the refills come.

Early evening yesterday while waiting for my husband to return home, I went out in the yard to take pictures, and look for butterfly sightings. My backyard roses needed watering after the first truly hot days of summer finally came upon So. Cal. I heard him arrive and returned to the house. While upstairs freshening up, the sound of running water in the walls, reminded me of my earlier garden chore. 

(mental note: turn the hose off before leaving for dinner).  

We got home, watched a movie with my son and then headed up the stairs a little later than usual. Closing the house down for the night, what did I hear? 

The sound of running water.   

Uugh! I left the hose trickling for several hours. My roses enjoyed refill after refill, as well as my neighbor's weeds. ( A parched mind, my only explanation!)

We get dry sometimes, thirsty for the spiritual, for renewal, to feel the splash of refreshment plump up our veins. Allowing our roots to dig deeper, the loosened clay saturates. Hydration keeps our organs working properly, our skin clearer and our mind sharper. Spiritual hydration of the Lord's Living Water of Truth and Promise does the same for our soul. Our heart and mind work together; wisdom and discernment calms the emotional fears when we hear the Lord's "running pipe," the turn of the spicket in our preparation towards growth (sanctification). The blemishes of our sin begin to deminish and our roots grab and take hold, a firm foundation. The joy of knowing we our loved, cared for, and purposed, blooms. 

And God's business runs on refills, paid for once at the Cross. 

His abundance gushes an unending supply, a hydrant of holiness, washing over me to bring me to holiness, a flood to both, the rose and the weed. 

Lord, Your pitcher overflows for my delight. You water me with Your spray of forgiveness, and soak me in Your grace. I am baptized in Your death and rise up in the waters of Your ressurrection. Please allow Your redeeming river to drench me in Your glory. Thank You for Your abundance and my ability to share Your overflowing, never-ending cup with those who thirst. Amen. 

Are you thirsty my friend?  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Life and Love Make...Crumbs!

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said,  "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Have you ever purchased a pumpkin scone at Starbucks and tried to eat it in your car? Even of you're not driving, they kind of make a mess. A little on the drier side, definitely crumbly. 

There's an old fashioned cliche' that says: "That's the way the cookie crumbles!"

I take it to mean, it's bound to happen, it's in the DNA, 
Maybe even...get over it, clean up, move on.

It seems one business owner this week had an issue, a different approach.

Proprietors with their children in tow, sat in her cafe, picked from the menu, and socialized, while their children sat happily, well-behaved, enjoying the pleasure of a scone and all its crumbly fun. 

Oops, a few crumbs fell on the floor. 


The cafe owner complained to the mom that she didn't appreciate her messy children, just having cleaned her carpet.  She (of course) posts a video of the mess.


And so it goes...the cookie, the scone...the children,...her business?

Jesus taught us a different approach.

Bring them to Me, the kids, the rug-rats, the criers, the whiners, the tantrum throwers in public places, the biters, the mouthy, the sneaky, the shy ones, the gigglers, the climbers, the huggers, the daddy's girls, the momma's boys, the milk spillers, the spaghetti throwers, with their bad report cards, their straight A's, the over-achievers, the under-developed, the dancers, the athletes, the Gate kids, the orphans, the abandoned, the hungry, the abused, the forgotten, the neglected, the spoiled rich kids, the dreamers, the doers, the cancer-stricken, the college bound, red, yellow, black and white, the one's knit together for My purpose, whose every hair I have numbered, whose name I know for all of Eternity. 

 All the little children, for I love them. 

I died for them. They are precious in my sight. 

And I gather their crumbs and I sweep them away and I will do it again, and again, and again. 

For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children.

Look at a child, and see God. 

Father, thank you for the children in our lives, whether ours, someone else's or the one screaming in the restaurant. Thank you for loving us when we throw tantrums, demand our ways and act childish.Thank you for cleaning up after us and doing it because You love us! May our words and deeds concerning Your children honor You. Teach us to discipline wisely and to accept Your discipline in our lives. Help us to be gracious and forgiving, patient and compassionate, to see through Your eyes. Thank you for loving all the children. Amen. 

P.S. How many of you think this woman needs to bake cookies and scones and serve them to the children in the hospital and the nurses that take care of them? 

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Certain Credibility

Hosea 6:3 "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth." 

Today, the news tells us of a "credible threat."

Intelligence decipherers and purveyors of Homeland Security extended the warning to the media, remitting to the public. Reinforcements begin, closing certain embassys for awhile, travel restrictions to"unfriendly"areas, more security checks, and heightened alert for our military. "Chatter" increases; we hunker down and wait it out.

Can the murmurings of evil, of lies, of resentment and discouragement shut you down?  

In all does at times.

I'm not Jesus.

My brain has too many thoughts and words and just like "chatter," I think fearful things, say words that confuse or point to ME instead of God, fail to forgive because I think it's justified, cry sometimes, stress. My heart gets clogged up with my own agenda. I'm a work in progress; thank you God for loving me anyways and seeing the end result.

I took that filter off quite a while ago; the one that used to just say the nice prayers at nice times for the nice people.

I'm in the trenches now, the Lord rules as the C.I.A. of my soul. Real life soldiering as one belonging to Christ, I press on. Praying continually, my communication pleads and praises and He assesses and blesses. He definitely hears my chatter, but I must receive His intelligence and act upon it. Christ teaches in His Word, we must pray for the people we'd rather forget, endure situations inconvenient and frustrating, live this life in all its difficulty and do it under His grace. I must bring my tears to Him. He's got them all counted anyway.

Without my Savior, I am toast!  Burnt toast at that!

What's so certain about it, is that the Word of God so easily comes into focus. Reading His Word, I feel the enemy back down. I get clarity, a heightend sense of spiritual alertness.

 Angel armies, HOMEland Security, Peace.

God does not give us a "credible threat," but an INCREDIBLE PROMISE!"

He, my Father God, goes before me, and He promises to refresh my soul, despite what threatens to disrupt my world.  My only instruction is to surrender...

and the blood rushes through, and the promise of rain, CERTAIN. The Rain/Blood washes stuff away and sustains life.

Heavenly Father, I press on. Hear my "chatter" Holy Spirit. Interpret, and fill me with your wisdom to counter the enemy of this world. Allow me to be a Peacekeeper, not a deal breaker. The enemy is sly and waits for the cracks in the armor. I stand in Your spring rain, sustained by Your Word. This world will one day know that You are Lord, Lord of All. Amen.

Do you have a certainty about God in your life?  He's ready to listen to your chatter.