From a whisper to a roar

Today I came across a short journal entry I’d written one morning years ago:

“I slept well last night, which I so needed, as my body has been fighting an illness. I thought I would feel refreshed this morning but instead, I felt discouraged and depressed. Not because of the illness, I’m sure (although one thing does add to another), but because of a different, ongoing situation very close to me that doesn’t seem to be getting better in spite of days, weeks, and months of prayer.”

Although written quite some time ago, this could just as easily be my story – or your story – today. Especially today – in 2020. Ongoing problems, seemingly yet unanswered prayers, weighted and worsened by isolation, COVID fears, lockdowns, and loneliness.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Is it happening now – at the end of 2020?

In your weakness, a voice speaks to you and it says, “God doesn’t hear your prayers. He isn’t answering your prayers. You might as well give up.”

I’ve heard that voice – often. I’ve come to recognize it, knowing it is not from God because it brings fear – fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear that God doesn’t care.  God doesn’t give me fear. His Word tells me He gives me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) So when I hear that malevolent voice,  I simply pray,

Thank you Father for the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

But sometimes it’s difficult to pray. Very difficult! I forget the words, the Scripture, or I’m too exhausted. It is then I simply speak to my Abba Father, pouring out my heart:

Lord, I know you love me and you love my family. We need you. 

When I speak, a single tear fills each eye.

Isaiah 43 19

Abba Father speaks to me through His Word:  “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

Yes, I perceive it Lord! Thank you!

Then I go to His Word to read more about the new thing He is doing. I read that He is making a way in the desert and the wasteland we have been going through. He is providing (Living) water so that we might praise Him. (We do and we will!) He reminds me that He has chosen me, made me, formed me, and will help me. He pours that Living Water and His Spirit out on me and on my children and grandchildren. And they will spring up! (Isaiah 43, 44)

I keep opening and reading His Word because I know that faith comes from hearing the message of Christ. And it is faith I need. (Romans 10:17) And the message adds to my continuing prayer today:

Lord, let me remember who I am, whose I am, and the territory that belongs to me. For the loss I and mine have suffered, take back that ground for us. Release the boldness of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah in my prayers – that my prayers will be fierce – that they will rise from a whisper to a roar.

And as my day progresses, my prayers become more fierce, intensifying from whispers to roars, knowing that He is making the way for me and for my loved ones through the desert and the wasteland.

Further Reading: 

Romans 10:17

Isaiah 43, 44

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My 2020 Christmas Letter

This is not your typical “Christmas letter.” Instead, I’m opening up, which isn’t always easy for me, sharing  a composition of my thoughts late in this beautiful Christmas season of this dreadful year of 2020.

First, I must clarify – every year is “blessed” – none can truly be “dreadful,” if one is alive to tell about it. But we all know what 2020 has been, and it is not at all pleasant. So, even though as a Christian, I find blessedness in all the Lord has provided and brought us through this year, I also find dreadfulness in the year itself. Why? Because our enemy has twisted and maligned, and – well, Jesus stated it so well in John 10:10, when He told us that our enemy, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That’s just what the enemy has done this year. Every heartache, trial, illness, death, separation, loneliness, divisiveness, turmoil – all fit in the categories of at least one of those three words: steal, kill, and destroy.

Woe! And whoa! This piece of writing is becoming dreary and seemingly hopeless.

But Jesus . . .

My friend, our Jesus turns this terrible year completely around – totally inside out – from darkness into light – from death to life. It started when He was born, it continued when He saved me, and it’s happening right now. He makes all things new. He is our hope. His promises are true. He is unchanging. He is all faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us. Never. He is with us now – at the end of this dreadful 2020 – in the midst of this beautiful Christmas season.

This is our Jesus.

He came to give us life. LIFE! Not just a sense of “living” but a LIFE abundant! (Also John 10:10) Jesus refers to that life as rich and satisfying (NLT) – as full. NIV).

This is our Jesus.

So at this Christmas time, we can rejoice in singing of Jesus as Immanuel, the Prince of Peace, the Newborn King. We can rejoice in singing of the hope and peace He brings.

Recently, I saw these pictures of the Baby Jesus and as our Savior Jesus, dying for us:

He came for all. He died for all. And He rose from the grave for all. But He is not yours if He is only your Christmas Baby Jesus. He cannot be your peace and hope if you have not trusted Him as your Lord and Savior. This year – this dreadful year – may you realize the fullness of His love for you. May you realize why He truly came.

I’m sure this is a strange Christmas for many. It is different for me, too.

Ron and I were blessed to celebrate Christmas with most of our children and grandchildren in Michigan – early. They all had other plans around the actual “Christmas Day,” so my home was decorated early – and for just a short period of time. It was different. It didn’t seem like Christmas time that early, so I did not deck the house as usual.

Although the nativity was set in a prominent place, the remainder of Nana and Papa’s Michigan home didn’t change much from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Only the lighted church was set up – not the many lighted houses, the tiny ice skating pond the little ones so love, or the snow and mini fences completing the beautiful little village. No wreaths adorned my doors this year; no garlands embellished the fireplace mantles; only one tree was decorated instead of two. I’m not sure why. Was it the mindset of an altered year? Or was it because of an altered mindset?

On a Monday, nearly three weeks before Christmas Day, Ron and I “took down” Christmas and packed it away for another year. We headed south.

Once settled into our southern Florida home, we scouted the local stores in hopes of finding the perfect little Christmas tree and the most meaningful Nativity set. In hopes of establishing a new little tradition of Christmas with just the two of us. Because we must. It is different. Many of you know. More than I. You’ve been alone. Perhaps single. Perhaps divorced. Perhaps widowed. This year, isolated by the evils of a virus. It is different yet. And most often unwelcomed. You try. You bake cookies and place at another’s front door. You send cards and encourage others. You mail packages. Sometimes you cry. You often pray. You find Jesus sufficient. More so than you ever realized. You have found Christmas. 

You have probably learned what I am now discovering. The truth about Jesus. The truth of meeting him in the manger. The truth of looking ahead to His suffering and death and resurrection. The truth of peace and joy – that only He can bring. The truth of knowing why – why He came as a baby. The truth that we sometimes can only learn at the end of a dreadful year.

And it is a blessed understanding. One that needs not a lighted tree or even a beautiful Nativity. One that needs only the Word – the Carol – the Worship.

If Jesus is your Savior, as well as your Christmas baby, you understand. If you are uncertain, click here to read how to make certain – to receive Him as your Christmas gift – as your Savior.

Turn from thoughts and anxieties and pain and fear of the killing, stealing, and destroying brought by the thief – turn to the abundant, full life promised by Jesus!

Join me in the true celebration of Jesus’ birth. Together, we’ll sing,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

And His favor rests on us, His children,

because of our Jesus.

Treasures from the woodshed.

Daddy and Mama bought the big yellow house when I was 13 months old. Surrounded by red barns, white board fences, chicken coops, and corn cribs, the house sat on 80 acres of fields, pastures, and woods, bordering a creek. They paid $10,000 for it. Grandpa Nutt said they’d never live to see it paid! But he was wrong. They did! They paid the mortgage in full by mid life.

Daddy and Mama were hard workers, very frugal – didn’t charge, didn’t live beyond their means. As the years went by, they maintained the house and slowly made improvements as they could afford: a remodeled kitchen, blown-in insulation, aluminum storm windows, and baseboard hot water heat – typical 60’s-style upgrades But one aspect of the house never changed – the woodshed.

The woodshed was actually the large, attached back portion of the house, but it was rough and unfinished inside. From the north, a door led into a corner of the woodshed we called the milk house (a room where the milk was brought in from the milking barn). The big slider door (the one we always used) opened to the east. Hooks and nails covered the inner wooden slatted walls, and held garden hoses, rakes, and corn brooms (one good and several worn). Lofts stored empty coffee cans, out-of-season window screens, and “who knows what” treasures, hidden through many years. The basement door, which closed only by a hook, was in the southwest corner of the dark, often dank room – the woodshed.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

The years passed until limited social security income allowed no further improvements on the house or the property – and certainly not the woodshed . Dementia and crippling disease stifled all maintenance. As Daddy and Mama aged, so did the house. It cracked and creaked and sagged. Its outside became worn, sun bleached, and peeled. It forgot all of its glory. It lost its hope. But I loved it just the same. Aging doesn’t change love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Daddy left the house first – went to the nursing home. (And that’s another story.) Mama followed – joining him (or so it seemed) in the same nursing home.

The house was cold and empty.

Utility bills, property taxes, and insurance premiums continued to fill the mailbox every month. The social security income was now transferred to the nursing home. The yellow house was being deprived of its nourishment. It was slowly dying.

Reality set in: The house faced it and so did I.

Daddy and Mama wouldn’t be coming home. Daddy passed first; Mama shortly after. The white hearse had driven each of their coffined bodies around the circle drive, pausing near the front door, then across the road, down the long lane to the cemetery to be buried within sight of their big old yellow house.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

Because I loved the house, I wanted to feed it and nurture it and revive it. And I knew that Daddy and Mama had wanted the house to live on and be filled with young, new life – with family.

So the time came to once again renovate, upkeep, and maintain the old yellow house. 

Builders, plumbers, drywallers, painters, electricians, and furnace installers began slowly reviving the old structure. Three coats of paint moisturized and refreshed its outer surfaces. Its foundation received a “tuck” and a “lift.” Its walls and its floors were recoated. But the most drastic revitalizing came in transforming the woodshed. Now the house felt complete, as the woodshed became a true part of its body and soul. And in the process of rejuvenation, a few hidden items were discovered up on its dusty lofts: a white rubber boot, a couple of antique pulleys, a Michigan Stove Co cast iron stove flap, a child’s red plastic wallet, and a pair of black and white saddle oxfords.

The oxfords revealed their age, just as the house and the people within it had. I wondered who had worn these shoes. I took them home and placed them beside sympathy cards and death certificates.

Then one day, browsing through mementos, I saw the photo, and in it, Mama was wearing the saddle oxfords.

She was young then, as were the shoes.

I remembered the setting: Lake of the Clouds in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – an annual summer vacation to stay at my Grandpa’s cabin – obviously an autumn one this particular year.  Browsing the other photos brought back fond memories, and I realized that I was wearing saddle oxfords in those photos, also! The year was 1955; I was four years old. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to that time – to those years – to that life in the big old yellow house. 

I imagined the shoes on the floor of her bedroom, under the metal clothing rack.

I imagined her taking them to the backroom and polishing them from time to time with both white and black shoe polish.

And I imagined her one day, placing them on the upper loft of the woodshed, assuming she wouldn’t be wearing them again.

My upper chest hurt to think of that day – the day she went from young to old.

She’s gone now. But I have her shoes – her old shoes – her saddle oxfords – those she did not intend to keep. Perhaps others would throw those old shoes away, but I won’t.

I’ll get some leather cleaner.

I’ll enlarge and frame the photo.

Then I’ll set the shoes besides the photo,

I’ll place this little grouping somewhere in my house – will probably move it from one place to another – from time to time.

 And as I’m moving through my house, cleaning, or rushing, or multi-tasking, I’ll pause when I see the photo and the saddle oxfords. Sometimes I’ll cry. Always, I’ll smile. And I’ll think of my Mama who once was young and then was old and lived in the big yellow house.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

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I’m weary.

I’m weary. You know how it is.

It’s not just one thing. It’s more than one. It’s more than two. It’s one thing upon another. Stacking. Compounding. Until that one more thing, no matter how small, seems just too much.

I’ve been aware of the stacking – the compounding – for quite some time. I’ve dealt with it in the past, and I’ll deal with it again. But for now, I’m weary. It’s like a compounding pile of rocks. Some light. Some heavy.

Today, as I write, my brother in law is in surgery, having a lung transplant. This rock is a heavy one, and it’s been on the compounding pile of rocks for a long time. Its very presence on his stack, and on my sister’s stack, causes it to accumulate in diverse sizes on my own rising pile. It makes me weary.

Facebook and Instagram photos look lovely, but we all know, there’s quite often pain behind the smiles. My family is no different.  I’ve encountered those heaping rocks many times, repeatedly, and have pushed them off, one by one, turning them over to the Lord, trusting those issues to Him. Oftentimes, when I do,  I figuratively wipe my hands and smugly say, Take that, you cursed enemy. By the power of the name of Jesus. But today, those same stones – or rocks, as they’ve become, aren’t moving as easily.  Because I’m weary. Sometimes it’s a recurring pebble that pops up – with my spouse’s name on it. Sometimes an entire little bag of pebbles – you know, like the bag of marbles we had when we were kids.  Sometimes it’s huge – the loss of a child – or of a parent. It’s the grief that permeates and changes your life forever. It’s your child’s middle-of-the-night fever or her wicked diagnosis. It’s a learning disability or a mental illness. It’s a daughter’s addiction or a son’s waywardness. It’s the pain on your grandchild’s face and the tears in his eyes when his daddy yells and leaves the house. It’s the pain of your daughter’s singleness when she yearns for marriage. The problem burdens not just one in the family; it burdens all. You hurt not only for the burdened one but for each one who suffers – physically, mentally, emotionally. The rocks seem heavier than they once were. And they’re all stuck together. Sometimes they seem cemented. I’m weary from it. And I know you’re weary. I can see it behind your smile.

The enemy throws a lot of political rocks onto my stack, more as the last few years have progressed. My “friends” and community members have called me names – well, not me personally, but in general, along with anyone who has my political view. And I create my own stones on my stack, as well, having zero understanding of  those who view the political issues from a different perspective. It’s all so heavy. And I become weary.

This COVID thing is just  plain weighty in this pile of rocks. The COVID rocks keep appearing in various sizes and weights upon the stack:  Isolation. Sickness. Death. Fear. Hate. Divisiveness. Anger. Exhaustion. Loneliness. Separation. Anxiety. Suicide. Grief. Poverty. Judgment. Depression. This is not a bag of rocks. It’s a truck full of boulders that have become ever present month after month, enveloping our birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, travel plans, elections, and now our holidays. We boldly and bravely  knock one COVID rock off our pile; another related rock appears. We’ve all become weary from it.

Here’s the thing: 

On the other side of my weariness is Jesus. He’s waiting just like always. He whispers,

Kathi, I will refresh your weary soul and replenish you when you are weak. I will give you pleasant sleep. My Word sustains you. Keep it fresh in your mind. Come to me. I will give you rest.

So today, in my weariness, I go to Jesus, the one who came to give me abundant life. I turn my burdens over to Him. We know He doesn’t bring any of the burdens that are making me weary. But He gladly takes them and brings the victory – some that I see today – some that is yet unseen but promised.  Either way, I have the promised rest,

What about you?  For all of these things we have Jesus. If you’re a Christ follower, go to Him. Place each burden, big or small, light or heavy, on Him. Until your weariness is gone. If you’re yet uncertain if you have Jesus, turn to Him. We needn’t remain weary!

Click here to learn more about following Christ.

Further reading:

Jeremiah 31:25, 26

Isaiah 50:4

Matthew 11:28

John 10:10

It’s your heritage!

The gift has been offered.

It’s your heritage!

Have you received it yet?

Some of you have read about 1946 AZ June 23my heritage – the amazing heritage left by my parents, a godly man and a godly woman, who, together,  honored the Lord and prayed for their family – their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren . . .

Perhaps you didn’t have godly parents. You might feel left out.

Well, don’t!

Consider the extent of your “family tree”:

Gr and Gr. LockeYou had two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents . . .

Most of us only really know (or knew) our parents. Some of us know (or knew) our grandparents. Very few of us know anything about our great-grandparents or our great-great-grandparents or . . . you get the picture.

How do you know which of them were down on their knees, day after day, praying for YOU – their child – or grandchild – great or great-great! You are one of those grandchildren! Your godly heritage, if not from your own parents or grandparents, might have come from your great (or great-great) grandparents! Take it and receive it! Then pass it on to your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It’s not coincidental that you are reading about your heritage right now. God planned it that way!

 

Your grandparent might have prayed God’s Word for YOU. Can’t you just picture him (Grandpa) or her (Grandma, sitting at the old kitchen table, Bible opened – or kneeling on that hard wooden floor, pleading for YOU in a prayer, something like this:

 

I  ask you, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give my family the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know you better. I pray also that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which you have called each of them, the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:17-19a) Jesus, please save my family.

Farmhouse 2Very likely the heritage began with him – or her. With Dad or Mom. With Grandpa or Grandma. But if not, it needs to begin with you. God has planned it. He has chosen you! (1) He has adopted you! You simply need to accept Him. The Bible tells us about your heritage:

God wants you and your sons and daughters to be taught by the Lord.

He wants your children’s peace to be great.

He wants you to be established in righteousness.

Farmhouse 3This is your heritage! (2)  

The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. (3) But those parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents can’t claim the gift of your heritage for you. You have to accept that gift yourself (4)

194- B Grandma Locke Dad, MomHonor the prayers of your grandparents: Read about the Word that is near you:

It is in your mouth and in your heart. Confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,”‘ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved . . . ” (5)

Claim your prize – your gift – your heritage!

If you’ve been uncertain of your heritage in Jesus Christ, say a prayer, something like this:

 Lord, thank you for revealing my heritage to me! I know I’m a sinner, but you’ve given me the gift of God  – eternal life in Christ Jesus. I believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. Thank you for saving me!

1) Ephesians 1:4,5,11

2) Isaiah 54: 13-18

3) Romans 6:23b

4) Romans 10:9,10

(5) Romans 10:8-13

Further Reading: : Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-13; Isaiah 54: 13-18; Ephesians 1:4,5, 17-19

Dear Mother (in purple crayon)

IMG_2982I almost tossed it away – it looked so insignificant, written with a purple crayon, personalized with my favorite drawings: a tree on the front and a swing set on the back. But evidently it was not insignificant to her, as she had written on the back, “Had been away over the weekend when Kathy made this,” then tucked it away in the cedar chest, along with Valentines, newspaper clippings, and report cards.

I’m wondering where she had gone that weekend, as I don’t remember my mother ever being away from home!

She often baked macaroni and cheese – using those big chunks of colby and large elbow macaroni. Homemade bread.  Sunbeam Rolls. Beef Roasts with potatoes. Warm custard when I was sick.

She laundered my clothes.

She tucked me in at night with hugs.

She held me and sang soft sweet songs like “Go Tell Aunt Tabby”and “Bye Baby Bunting.”

I knew her unconditional love. I never questioned it. I was enveloped in comfort and security.

It’s no wonder I missed her, wherever she had gone that weekend.

And it’s no wonder I miss her now.

I wish it was just for the weekend, but now it’s been eight long years. I miss the macaroni and cheese, her soft hugs, the sound of her voice, and a thousand other things.

IMG_2979Since that note to my mother so long ago, I’ve changed the spelling of my first name, and now I always use a blue, medium point pen instead of a crayon. I never draw trees on my notes or letters any longer, and I prefer writing on lined paper. But I might just write another purple crayon message on plain white paper, fold it, and on the front, write,  “To Mother.” The message will be simple. Only a few words will change:

Dear Mama,

I will be glad to see you again. I am lonesome for you.

From,

Kathi

Then I’ll tuck it in the same cedar chest and hope that miraculously she’ll receive it up in heaven.

IMG_2980

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Papa, can I lie in your bed?

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart:

I put her to bed, as usual. Well, really, with a bit more tenderness, a bit more time–reading, laying, singing, snuggling. But she is still quite unsettled when I leave her bedside, and shortly after, I hear her behind me in the living room.

Quietly.

“Nana, can I lie in your bed?”

“Sure, honey.”

I follow her down the hall. She steps up onto the little white stepping stool and up up up on to the big, soft mattress. And then I see the tears.

“I miss my mommy.”

I wipe her tears.

I lie beside her, cherishing her soft hair rubbing my cheek, breathing in its sweet, innocent scent.

Later, after she is sound asleep, Papa carries Kaylee back to her own bed.

I awaken in the night. My heart aches. I miss her mommy too. And I know a bit of the pain my precious daughter is going through. She shared it with me months ago, shortly after the arrest. Now I know that tonight, she lies on her cot, in her cell,  cold and lonely. My throat makes a foreign noise. I try to hold back the sob, knowing that when it starts, it doesn’t stop for a long time. I pray for her in a whisper – a whisper I know my Papa hears.

Months ago, after the arrest, on the 9th day, we brought her home–from that cell, from that cot–for one night before recovery began. She wanted her own bed– her old bed. The comfort of home.

Now I want the comfort of my Papa’s bed. I want that comfort for my daughter, and for her daughter, Kaylee. I want that comfort for all of us and for all others who are hurting.

I find it. I find it in the Word that is near me!

He gently tends me like a shepherd tends his flock. He gathers me in his arms and carries me close to his heart.

I might be unsettled for awhile, but I know that as I rest in his arms, close to His heart, I’ll find that comfort.

Further Reading: Isaiah 40:11; Psalm 91:1; Matthew 11:28; Romans 10:8

As you read the above post, you might connect. Some of you have or are presently raising your grandchildren. Some of you have or have had a son or daughter incarcerated. Some of you agonize, watching your own little ones unsettled and distressed, often unable to sleep. Take a verse or two and personalize it for yourself. Speak it over and over and over .  . . His Word is powerful. And it’s near you.

If you’d like to read my story about facing our daughter’s addiction and her subsequent arrest, you can order When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers by clicking here. 

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I Remember Mama

Thursday

Yesterday was a tough day.

Last night was agonizing.
I can’t imagine facing a day of my life without her . . .
or a day without sobbing.
This evening is sad – seeing her, my Mama – lifeless and still upon pink satin lining the silver box . I don’t want to see her like this.
I close my eyes and remember her in the kitchen, making her yellow rolls; I remember her tucking me into bed at night; and I remember her dancing down “Main Street” on our first trip to Disney World!
Then I open my eyes and look around the large room of this funeral home, a place I don’t want to be, facing what I don’t want to face,  where earlier, alone, I couldn’t stop crying.
Now the room has taken on a different countenance. Instead of the parlor of death, it has become a playroom, filled with my young grandchildren. Their voices, full of animation, and their healthy little bodies, full of life, make me realize that Mama lives on in me, in my children, and in my grandchildren. As I reflect upon it, I realize that life is truly amazing. My friend, Connie, told me that today. “Life is amazing,” she said, “and we are a part of it.”
And I am a part of it because of my precious Mama. And now I will pass on the tradition of baking the yellow rolls and I will tuck my little ones into bed, and I will dance down Main Street.”
Tomorrow I must say goodbye – I know it’s just her body – that her soul is in heaven and that she will receive a new, vibrant, healthy body, but it’s her old body and her touch and her voice that I will miss. It’s the smell of Ponds Cold Cream and of yellow rolls baking in her oven.
 

The Poppies of the Field

Passersby stopped their cars. Some actually drove in the big circle driveway, walked up the steps to the porch, and knocked on the kitchen door.

“May we look at your flower garden?” they asked.

Daddy’s and Mama’s garden was massive, stretching  between the mown lawn and the corn field, its woven artistry of greens and reds and yellows visible from every south window of the old yellow house. It abounded with fruits and vegetables – strawberries in June, green beans in July, sweet corn in August, and pumpkins in September. But at a distinct time of the hot Michigan summer, the garden was amass with papery-petalled blooms: beautiful red poppies.

Daddy’s and Mama’s lives paralleled that garden. Like their garden, their lives were brimming with ever-bearing vibrancy – of honor and service to God!

Those seasons were  times of sunshine and rain. Of planting and reaping. Although well-remembered, they were summer of times long passed. 

Today, nothing remains of the beautiful flower garden or of the vivid red poppies. For a few years, a little stem, here and there, popped up, but now, withered stubble covers the ground where the poppies once bloomed. And like the garden, nothing remains here on earth of the vibrant lives of Daddy and Mama.

“All men [and women] are like grass, and all their glory is like the [poppies] of the field; the grass withers and the [poppies] fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:6,8)

Yes, His word stands forever. It is powerful. It is mighty. It is beautiful. It does not die. It withstands every season, every storm, every fire, and every trial. It is permeated with vibrancy – the vibrancy of life.

So again today, I will open the Word and let it fill me with its unending message.  I desire the Word to reflect in my life such vividness that passersby stop and stare, glimpsing God’s glory in all of its beauty. 

They asked Daddy and Mama, “May we look at your flower garden?”

I hope they ask of me, “Please tell me about your Jesus I so vividly see.”

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Chapter Seven ~ Whispers of Promise

Heartache is hearing her sentence . . .

Heartache is seeing your beautiful daughter handcuffed and taken to jail . . .
 

Heartache is not being able to hug her . . .

Heartache is answering your grandchildren when they ask if Mom and Dad will be with them for Christmas: “No, honey.”

And Jesus Whispered ~ 
Although the mountains around you are shaken, Kathi, and the hills are broken down, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor will my promise of peace be removed. I am the Lord who has compassion for you and your precious grandchildren.
 
 
 
The evening of the sentencing was especially difficult for all of us. After the children were sound asleep and I had knelt by their beds and prayed, I went back into their bedrooms, checking on them all through the night, whispering one word prayers to the Father: Bless. Comfort. Touch. Heal.  Moving about our home throughout those unsettling nights, I felt the presence of the One who never slumbers or sleeps.
 
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(An excerpt from When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers ~ Chapter 7 ~ Whispers of Promise)
by Kathi Waligora .