Archive for December 2012

And It Came To Pass

There’s nothing like Christmas time for a child to learn patience.  There’s so much anticipation, hype, and expectation leading up to this day.  And then finally, the day is here and gone.  Or in other words, the culmination is:  and it came to pass.

Much hope abounds in these five little words – and it came to pass.  Reading these words in stories or seeing things come to pass in others’ lives gives us hope for our own circumstances.

These words are used repeatedly in the Christmas story told in the gospel of Luke (King James Version).  And it came to pass … and it came to pass … and it came to pass.  Everything came to pass just as prophesied and in the fullness of time.

I remember a time in my life when I was discouraged.  I was a mother of two little boys but wanted to complete my family with a third child, and I felt like I was under a time crunch.  I miscarried a baby, and many people thought that since I had two children, this little misfortune would quickly fade away.  They were wrong.  Even I was surprised with the grief that consumed me.

Why had this happened?  Was God angry with me?  I knew many others had suffered the same loss and more; but when acquaintances tried to console me with similar words like these, well, those words were anything but consoling.  Of course others had suffered more than I; and, of course, I had two healthy sons whom I loved and was very grateful for.  But I still ached and suffered loss.

I thrust myself into Gods love book of Psalms to remind myself that He did care and love me.  Each time that I came across a promise or statement of His love or concern, I highlighted it and re-read it.  And I re-read stories like the Christmas story and soaked in the words … and it came to pass … and it came to pass … and it came to pass.

And it came to pass that my hope was restored.  Faith arose again.  I was bold and declared, “I will have another child, a Christmas child.”

Well, maybe some thought I was really going out on a limb by saying that, but we all need a little miracle every now and then.  And it came to pass just like He impressed upon me and I declared.  At Christmas time the following year, my third son was born.  This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of my miracle child.Oh, I realize that some would question my use of the word “miracle” here.  But, you see, for me, I needed to believe again, to hope again.  He was my miracle of hope.

Whenever I reflect on this season of the Lord’s birth, I reflect on my personal miracle when He heard my cry and granted my wish.  And it came to pass.

Twenty-two birthdays have now passed, and I still need to be reminded … and it came to pass … and it came to pass.  Today’s needs and desires are different, but remembering yesterday’s miracle gives me strength to abide while I wait.

I will abide and hope today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and the next if necessary.  Just maybe this will be the year that I will once again say… and it came to pass.

*****

[You can read more about this story in Reflections, Chapter 10.]

Share

Oh Well, Again

What to wear?  In the scheme of things, it’s an unimportant decision we face every day.  It’s the Christmas season, and I hadn’t worn that red sweater with a tinge of sparkle yet.  Good, decision was half made.  Would I wear one of my black skirts or black slacks with it?  No worries, I could decide that in the morning.  Little did I know it would be an “Oh Well” week.

As I rifled through the hangers trying to select the lucky black skirt, my eyes caught you – that familiar striking print – bold red roses fully bloomed with green leaves strewn amongst them on a bed of slick black fabric.  Yes, you’re perfect with the sweater and for the season.

After all these years, you’re still an eye-catcher as I confess your age – 28 years.  I purchased you within a year after the birth of my first son.  A solid black sweater with a single red rose crocheted just off the shoulder of the v-neck accompanied you.  The scarf made from your same fabric completed the ensemble.

I wore you and wore you and wore you – year after year, baby after baby – until about ten years later when the sweater suffered a fatal hole.  You survived and sought out other tops with which to partner.  The elastic eventually disintegrated until it no longer gathered at your waist.  No problem though, for my waist had grown too.

O skirt of mine, who would have guessed that you would still be with me all these years later?  Why, when the flouncy godet skirt left me after only two years?  Why and how have you endured the stresses – the washings, the stretchings – time and time again?  And yet you gradually drip dry when I wash you and wait for your next opportunity.  This I do not understand and cannot comprehend.  But you are still here, and so you continue with a different sweater.  And others adore you.  They do not know what you have endured.

At the end of the day, I received sad news.  My great-niece’s and nephew’s 39-year old mother lost her battle with cancer.  My heart was sad for her and for them.  I don’t know about you; but in my earthly carnal mind, I try to understand life and times, reasons and whys, even though we’re not going to understand these things this side of heaven.  As I’ve said before, I can’t figure this all out.  So what do I do?

O skirt of mine – off with you!  Go in the wash yet another time.  Let’s see if you survive as I place you on the hanger to drip dry one more time.  I wished for my godet skirt.  Two days later, you were still in that spot fully dried.  You survived again!

And more sad, senseless news came later that morning.  All those young ones – innocent ones – are gone, executed in the comfort of their own school.  They are not guilty.  Why are they taken from this earth and yet I remain?

And so, I look at you, O skirt of mine, and know that you are still here and that I will wear you once again.  Why? Because there is still life in you.  I will step into you yet another time.  I will slide you up over my hips and gather you together with a safety pin.  And no one will ever know.  The sweater will cover you, and we will walk slowly at first – one foot in front of the other – one day at a time.

Oh Well, indeed.  We don’t understand why.  We pause, pray, and reflect.  And then, for those who remain, … life continues on.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12  (NIV)

Share

The Babysitter’s Babysitter’s Reflection

I am remembering my cousin Patsy who passed away unexpectedly a few days ago.  Patsy was born a decade before I was born, and I realize that she really wasn’t that much older – just enough to be my babysitter.  As I reflect on her, may I always be reminded to redeem the time.

I remember when she was babysitter for sisters and me when she was a teenager all those years ago in California.

I remember that she and my mother had a close relationship.

I remember that she was a talented dancer during those American Bandstand days in the early 60s.  She was smooth and had that gift of natural rhythm.

remember that she taught us to twist and that I attempted to do the mashed potatoes.  (I say “attempted” because I couldn’t do that dance very well, but she was ever so patient in trying to teach me.)

I remember that she was soft spoken.

I don’t remember when she left California and moved to Missouri; but when we moved in 1965, there she was!

I remember that powder blue, 1965 Mustang – a stick shift – that she drove.  (Wow, what a car; and I got to ride in it!)

I remember when she became a mother, and then I became the babysitter.

I remember how much she loved that baby and that she entrusted the supplemental care to me every now and then.

I remember that she remained close with my mother all through the years.

When I grew up, my life took me away from our hometown.  I missed a few decades of knowing her intimately.

On the day she left this world, Mother called me early in the morning and asked me to pray as Patsy headed into surgery.  I did.

I was shocked when Mother called me in tears with the news later that afternoon and said, “Please let your sisters know.”  I’m glad my mother was at the hospital with Patsy’s immediate family.

Although we don’t understand this timing, God was not surprised.  He welcomed her home on her appointed day.  We are left grieving but not without hope.  If Patsy were here right now, I wonder if she would say: “Love today, forgive today – for who knows if you have tomorrow except the One who knew I would not have tomorrow.”

In honor of her memory, may we all live, love, laugh, and forgive – not tomorrow, but today.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Share