The first time I touched heaven…

sky sunny clouds cloudy

Photo by Skitterphoto

The first time I touched heaven I was a five year old little girl who knelt down beside her parents and prayed to Jesus, who loves me…The faith of a child was heaven…I touched  the face of pure love. I prayed to Trust Jesus.

A twenty one year old college girl alone in the sand and sea with Hope renewed. I touched the King of the Kingdom and I confessed all my fear and failure… and we walked anew.

A thirty year old wife and mother…tired and scared of what I didn’t know. I touched the Spirit of God and he whispered to me that He would never leave me…I rejoiced in Peace.

A thirty-four year old woman who was breaking her marriage and her life and had depression and despaired of the goodness of God…but he gave me a man who would not walk away and I touched a Faith restored in God’s goodness.

A forty-five year old daughter I put my Daddy in his earthly grave and a light went out of me in this world but the Light of the World kept shining and I touched the Power of the Resurrection in Jesus Christ.

A sixty-three year old grandmother of five…I kneel each day in gratitude for every breath and every family memory…I touch Joy unspeakable and full of Glory…

When I leave this body to go to my Father’s house…I will go to The One who died for me and I will touch eternity and live forevermore in His presence finally touching my Lord who is Heaven…

Two Angels in Sodom

abstract angelic art blast

Photo by Sebastian Voortman

 

From the purity of Heaven’s halls

to the famous hedonism of Sodom

Two Angels obey The Master’s call…

The earth heaves and groans in it’s underbelly

hail fire scorches, giant stones demolish the walls!

 

Two Angels in Sodom save the only Remnant known

those who remain yours Oh Lord God

In the midst of unholy abomination

The Holy One will restore the Glory of His Name

Two Angels in America prepare for our rescue!

“Death begins with bad feet…”

man wearing military uniform and walking through woods

Photo by Specna Arms

The older experienced soldier watched as twenty new young men were milling about the base. He knew they had no clue what they were in for. The Korean “police action” at the 38th parallel between South Korea supported by the  United Nations  (largely the United States of America) against North Korea supported by China and The Soviet Union. The older soldier was still recovering from the unexpected and brutal Battle at Naktong River. That is where his best buddy’s feet went bad. The wet boots along with pouring down rain never allowed much time for drying out. His buddy didn’t even try to get his feet dry and by the time the battle ended his feet were black. Three weeks later he was dead. The Koreans have a saying, “death begins with bad feet.”

My take away from this wisdom is that I have learned to pay attention to where my feet are walking on this journey of life. The small things. My feet get soggy with the cares of the material world of what people think of me. According to scripture we are in spiritual warfare as believers who follow Christ…

For the follower of Christ Jesus  we are taught to put on the armour of God for the daily warfare with an evil , fallen world. Part of that armour described in Ephesians 6 encourages us to Shod our feet with the Gospel, the Good News that the Savior of the world has come.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…Isaiah 52:7

 

Kneeling at the idols of burning dreams…

man kneeling in front of cross

Photo by Pixabay 

No I didn’t worship as the pagans do or did I? That realization was a rude awakening for a girl raised in the knowledge of Christ and the Bible. Hey, those false, other gods had nothing to do with me or did/do they?

I have always been curious and believe I now know why John the Apostle wrote in the last verse of his book “children, be aware of idols.”

I have read and read that Gospel of John’s and that verse always convicted me.

After bowing down to man made works (supposedly for God), after walking many miles in my journey with Jesus I have come to know that everything and everyone put before God in my life is an idol. Sounds simple yes but it is gut wrenching because my idols come in the love of grandchildren, love of admiration, love of being right, love of caring for the sick, the love of (fill in the blank)…

As a young woman I believe my idols were rooted in the identity given me by birth. Later I believe my idols were turned to the insecurity of fitting in so I would do what everyone else was doing. Just to fit in. I could list them all but the one in my older years that finally got my spiritual attention like no other was when my first grandchild was born. Oh how God has lavished his love upon those of us who are given grandchildren!  It is a good reward undeserved but  I began to put that love above everyone and everything. I didn’t even realize how deep I had waded into that “good” idolatry.

But God… in his purity and fury thundered through to me one sleepless night as I was telling him that he felt so distant lately. I had taken a gift of Joy and great love and delight and turned it in to a god!

How could that be I said? I am following you Lord. I felt His Spirit say, “if you follow me then you must put no other gods before me…”

So I knelt down before my Lord had one of those snot slinging, sobbing moments of repentance…

Paul wrote, “for what do you have that you did not receive? If you received it then how can you boast about anything?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

 

The Keen Edge of Joy

view of outer space

Photo by Zain Ali

The heat hung in the air like wet cotton today
The Texas dance of August has begun

The manicured lawns will soon be parched brown
Even the humming of the cicadas has gone still

Venus burns ever so brightly racing me to dawn
The majestic Oaks stand still as centurion guards

At my core the keen edge of Joy bids me come
And reach for the poetry that lives in my heart

The Great Rescue

wrecked ship

Photo by Aneta Foubíková

To be rescued one must have a solid knowledge from what we are being rescued. In the case of humanity we need to be rescued from Sin. We do not like to admit sin. We do not like to talk about sin. We definitely spend a lot of time trying to hide our sin so why would we not receive rescuing? Because being rescued portends that we give up all of our own control and humble ourselves.

As a child growing up in a Christian home and church I was taught often that I was a sinner. I did not however understand the nature of Sin nor did I understand  The Fall of human kind that occurred one black day in the Garden of Eden. I did not realize I was born an enemy of God and that I hated God and was in rebellion toward God!  

The good news of God’s grace is that he loves and came here for his enemies. He did not wait until I was all cleaned up outwardly. He did not wait for me to pray the “sinner’s prayer or walk down the aisle of my church. He did not wait for me to study theology or memorize the Bible.

The point of the Cross of Jesus is that on that Cross hung the vehicle of my rescue. The man of Jesus would provide the greatest rescue of all time. Understanding and receiving the Cross of Jesus is not so  we can congratulate ourselves for solving theology or religious formula but that we may understand the cost and the humility of the Great Rescuer in it’s heinous, bloody, awful Glory. We have not been rescued from sin so that we can be great thinkers of abstract ideas or to make sure everyone around us is doing what they should be doing. We have been rescued by being put right with God and becomin part of God’s family and God’s plan to save the whole world. That is how The Great Rescue works. Once we are put right with God we then go and share with kindness and compassion how while we were sinners and enemies of God he still loved us.  There is a Rescuer and His name is Jesus! His rescue is final and perfect.

 

Summer Sun

selective focus photography of grass

Photo by Jens Mahnke 

 

The summer sun is baking the side walks and streets.
The Texas horizon looks like a melting mirage.
Summer solstice has arrived and a few things never change.
Even in the shade it is one hundred degrees.
My grandchildren have begun their love affair with the sprinkler and popsicles.
In the backyard with their parents.
And wonderful cool sheets for an afternoon nap.
And all is right with my world today and I am grateful.

Louisiana June

white cotton flowers in vase beside clock

Photo by Irina Iriser 

I saw the first bloom of cotton

White and puffy like a cloud

it made me grin.

 

Mama Mae’s deep well water

Tasted like the honey of heaven

It rested my thirst.

 

My daddy had a smile

An umbrella to my world

it covered my heart.

 

The Night Heron

grey heron reflection on body of water

Photo by Leigh Jeffreys

She said what she first noticed was that images were spinning around her frontal lobe like those old 1950 children’s lamp shade night lights. As the lamp would spin around different nursery rhyme stories would glow in the dark. This is what she noticed first.

These scenes of life from childhood to ancient-hood would spin in her mind but then she would immediately forget what she saw. She said it was tremendously frightening at first.

She said with in a few months the the children started coming more often. Telling her what she should do more often. She just smiled and ignored them and worked in her garden. She managed dozens and dozens of tulips and daffodils around her large home built with field stones.  A beautiful home that once was in a country meadow but with human progress was now in the middle of a large city neighborhood. She said she loved to prune the bulbs and separate them each year. She used her little garden mat for her creaky knees and wore the hat which was her Mother’s. She said her Mother bought the hat in China where her family were missionaries until the Communist kicked them all out of the country.  The hat was perfect for long days in the Texas summer and was constructed so well that it looked as good as new instead of forty years old.

I would drive by her house every day on my way to work or to the market and everyday she could be found in her garden. I often stopped to chat.

One day we were talking and she said, “you know children can never know their parents young. That is why it is so hard for them to understand them as adults. They have never seen me run a relay race like a gazelle or fight with my sister. They have never seen me with skinned knees and pigtails. They surely cannot picture me as a lovely teenage girl going on her first date much less enjoying a healthy sex life at least until they were born! I also think they have forgotten that their Father always brought me tulips and daffodils our wholes lives together.”

As fall approached I would see her out there tending the bulb garden with her head bent over and her knees on her mat. It gave me a sense of comfort I think.  Then, of course, that inevitable day came when I did not see her for a week or so but had been too busy to stop by. The next week I saw a for sale sign in the front yard and stopped.

I was surprised when a nurse aid let me in and I knew this must be a bad sign but she was actually looking quite spry. I noticed when she stood up that her back was a tiny bit bent like trees whey they finally wear the shape of the wind. We sat together in some worn but comfortable chintz chairs by the front window. The gray-blue light of winter slanted through the stillness. She said, “Death’s cruel pluck is coming.” She was right.

By spring she was gone. By summer the children sold her house and the lot behind it. The new construction destroyed every single tulip and daffodil. All the lot taken up by a McMansion. They didn’t tear down the beautiful stone house but to me tearing up the garden was the cruelest act. I wonder if the children had no idea what it meant to her. I wondered why they did not see the hours she labored and loved in that garden. I wondered a lot of things.

The last time I saw her she talked about how the night Heron with it’s silver soft plumage was the most beautiful in all the marsh. She said she that the Heron had been visiting her each evening in the shadows of dusk. She said she was stuck in a memory of growing up on the Bayou of Houston and couldn’t remember a lot of things about being an adult.  The last thing she said to me with a gentle smile on her face was, ” thanks for coming to visit me Mama. I will see you soon for good.”  I just smiled and told her goodbye and thanked her for the beautiful tulip and daffodil garden.  She waved and I was gone. She was gone too.

Every time I drive by the property I go through a run of emotion from anger at her children for what seems carelessness to realizing I am not their judge. I feel sad that the beautiful tulips and daffodils no longer dance there in the breeze. I remember her smile and think of the Night Heron. I picture her in heaven with her Chinese hat on bent down on her knees with her mat working in God’s garden.

You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of the aged, and you shall revere your God. Leviticus 19-32