Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Precious Collectibles

Tears are words the heart can't express.
~ Author Unknown

There is a sacredness in tears.  
They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. 
 They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. 
~ Washington Irving

God loves you so. He cares so much about you and I, and what we are going through, to collect all of our tears and keep them in His bottle. Like an adoring mother watching over her infant and recording all his precious moments, God records all of our shed tears. 
You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? - Psalm 56:8

Don't ever be ashamed of your tears. They are most precious to our loving God, Who sees and knows all - even the tears we cry in secret.  May you be comforted in knowing your Heavenly Father cherishes you so!




Monday, October 24, 2011

Food for Thought

President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural speech to our nation: "Ask not what the country can do for you. Ask what you can do for the country." His statement caused a shift in American hearts and it was a game-changer for our nation.  

So, with a twist on President Kennedy's words, I say to you:
Ask not what The Lord can do for you.  Ask what you can do for The Lord.  
It may cause a shift in your heart and be a game-changer, once again, to our nation.  You never know how God will use you. 

Because of Him and Unto Him

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn's Reminder

It's about this time every year that I think of him.  The changing hues of autumn brings the memory up to my consciousness. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The crisp air fills my lungs and my attention gets diverted to all the magic of fall around me. This time of year marks the anniversary. It's 46 years this fall and so I honor a sweet, tender-hearted boy who impacted my life as no other has.

It's the anniversary of two 12-year olds. Two 12-year olds - each of who finds a different way to escape the torment and humiliation of bullying.  I chose to walk the two miles home from school everyday instead of getting on the afternoon school bus.  A few weeks later, Danny made a different choice.

I have no recollection of Danny and I ever conversing. He wasn't even a classmate. Usually, I would be on the bus first and through the dirty, smudged windows my eyes would follow him as he trudged his way carrying his heavy load of books onto the bus. Selfishly, I would think, "Oh, good, I'm glad Danny is here today". That meant the brutality would be shared. Danny would sit on the opposite side of the bus isle with his head down, as did I. It was self-preservation not to have eye contact with anyone. But, I do remember the one time our eyes and souls met.  It's a moment in time etched on the tablet of my heart. For a brief moment, with our eyes locked, each of us in unspoken anguish, pleaded with each other for help. But, we were helpless. So, we turned our eyes away and endured.

From the time I began walking home from school that fall, I never saw Danny again. I never even thought much about him.  I was just glad the torture for me on the afternoon bus was over. Now, I only had to contend with the morning bus ride.  A few weeks later, I came into school and found out twelve-year old Danny committed suicide. I was horrified and scared. In my own 12-year old mind, I was a coward - I never fought back; I left Danny alone to take the brunt of our peer's anger and sadistic pleasures when I started walking home; I was a coward when the school was a buzz with gossip about why Danny would do such a thing - I still didn't speak up; and I was scared that I may do the same thing. I grieved in silence and anguish for a very long time and became more and more introverted by my secret, guilt, selfishness, and shame.

Secrets are to torment, what truth is to freedom. Truth will set you free, secrets will torment you.  I was finally set free from the agony of the secret about 30 years later.  Joe and I were high school youth pastors.  Jesus cradled me with courage as I told my concealed story to our teens.  As the secret was expelled from my lips, Jesus began His healing process. The teens gathered compassionately around me and prayed while I dissolved in tears. I knew that I knew I was forgiven and that God had just used our story as a powerful life-lesson to our teens. There were cleansing tears and sobs all around the room. Hopefully, life changing for some - whether they be abuser or victim.  For all those years, I envied Danny because he was free. On that fall Sunday morning with our youth group, I was finally free. And I could feel that soul-bond with Danny once again.  This time as victors rather than victims.

Danny and I are both champions of anti-bullying.   May God, once again, use our story...


Because of Him and Unto Him,
Diane
~~~~
This post is linked up to Tell Me A Story

Saturday, October 15, 2011

God's Hello

I've been stuck on my couch for two days now.  I injured the muscle behind my right knee. It's excruciating to walk, so I lay here on the couch with ice as my companion, bored out of my mind. But, my living room is aglow as the sunbeams dance across my hardwood floor.  It is as if joy is streaming in through the large picture window and two french doors of my living room to brighten my spirits.

This is a stained glass piece
I have on my dining room window
Today is a beautiful, crisp, clear, breezy - typical Long Island - fall day. The kind of day that makes me want to go for a walk and bask in the sights, sounds, and smells of fall; the kind of day that can set my soul free. But, here I lay.

From my couch-view, I've watched the trees outside begin to change hue since yesterday morning. Every now and then a yellow or orange leaf, gently spiraling and swirling to the ground, catches my eye. My attention is drawn to the leaves waving in the breeze. It is as if God had Creation wave hello to this lonely, couch-bound soul, letting me know I'm not forgotten.

Thank You, Father, for sending me this beautiful day and your note of hello. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Imitator Series

"Imitate me, as I, also, imitate Christ."  The Apostle Paul wrote that in his letter to the Corinthian church, in I Corinthians 11:1.  It is also written it to you and I.  Is there someone you "imitate" because of their Godly walk?
Once a month I'm going to share the heroes of my faith - those who have helped shape my faith and my Christian walk; those I have chosen to imitate because I see the character of Jesus Christ in them.  Jesus Christ is, of course, my Hero above everyone else. But, He has brought people into my life who were imitators of Him, that I may learn, in practicality, from them.

April 15, 1892 - April 15, 1983
Imitator #1


Corrie ten Boom (also known as The Tramp for The Lord) was the first hero of my faith as a new Believer of Jesus Christ 28 years ago, and someone I still seek to emulate.  I read her book, The Hiding Place, and it set my life on it's course.  Reading her story caused me to decide what kind of Christian I wanted to be - a casual Christian or a radical one. Because of "meeting" Corrie through her book, I chose to walk in radical faith, love, and forgiveness.

The "hiding place" in Corrie's
bedroom
Corrie ten Boom and her family were Bible-believing Christians in Harrlem, Netherlands (Holland).  During the German occupation of Holland in WWII, the ten Boom family made a small, secret hiding place in Corrie's bedroom where they hid Jews who were being rounded up, tortured, and sent to death camps.  They would move the hidden ones to safety whenever they could through the underground railroad.  Corrie, her sisters and brother - Betsy, Nollie, and Willem - were arrested, along with their 84 year old father, and nephew, Peter, after a friend betrayed them to the Gestapo.  At the time of their arrest, there were 6-7 adults concealed in the hiding spot in the ten Boom home.  After many days of living in that tiny space, each finally escaped to freedom.  However, the ten Boom family suffered mercilessly.

While each was held in solitary confinement, their father, Casper, died in that horrid, lonely place ten days later.  Nollie, Willem, and Peter were eventually released. But, Corrie and Betsy were moved to various concentration camps, ending at Ravensbruck Death Camp. Forced to do hard labor, Corrie and Betsy endured the most horrific of human conditions and torture.  Their faith, smack in the middle of the eye of evil, led Jews to their Messiah, Jesus Christ, sometimes just moments before being put to death.  Betsy, finally succumbed to the horrific conditions and died, leaving Corrie alone.  As atrocious as it was to be a prisoner in Ravensbruck, to have lost Betsy was a most crushing blow to Corrie.

Men's barracks at Ravensbruck
Hatred consumed her heart.  But, God held onto her, and through her grieving and her struggle to forgive, she became a beacon of Light  and Love in a pitch-dark, evil place.  On the evening before Corrie was scheduled to be killed in the gas chamber, a "mistake" set Corrie free. Alone, Corrie ten Boom, age 53, walked out of the Death Camp, and kept on walking for 33 years through over 60 countries bringing the message of God's love and forgiveness to all who would listen. Her radical faith and love caused her to be a "Tramp for The Lord", as she lived out of her suitcase and traveled all over the world with no home to call her own.  She authored 26 books and numerous books have been written about her life.

Corrie ten Boom "tramping"
around the world declaring
God's love and forgiveness 
It's interesting to note that having survived Ravensbruck, Corrie traveled and ministered for 33 years (the same lifespan as Jesus Christ) and that she went Home to her beloved Jesus on the same day she was born, 91 years later. The very last five years of Corrie's life were spent in silence and confined to a bed due to several massive strokes she had.  It has been said that more people accepted Jesus Christ in those last five years by sitting at her bedside, than all the years she ministered. Up until her last breath, Corrie was a Vessel of Honor (II Tim. 2:20-21) unto her Lord.  I know she heard Jesus say to her upon her arrival Home, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".

One day when I've completed my journey Home, I will hug and thank Corrie.  And may she be standing by to hear The Lord say to me, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".  After all, I am just an imitator.

Life Lessons Learned:
  • To apply God's Word to my daily life by believing the Scriptures and applying or doing that Word
  • The ascendancy of God over my life
  • The efficacy and glory of forgiving
  • No situational "pit" is so deep that the love of God cannot reach me and through me
  • Even when I don't "feel" I am being used by God, I probably am
  • To have a grateful heart in spite of circumstances
  • To take a stand for righteousness sake
  • The extraordinary power, ability, and willingness of our God to transform us
  • God's grace truly is sufficient to get me through
  • God will cause good to come from even horrific, life-altering circumstances 
  • God will lead and direct a life completely surrendered to Him
  • God can still use me in the latter part of my life  HALLELUJAH!
If you have never read The Hiding Place, it will be my privilege to send you a copy of the book.  Just leave a comment that you would like the book and I'll be in touch to get your mailing address.  You never know how your life may change by getting to know Corrie ten Boom.  If you've already read it, please share what Corrie means to you.  

Because of Him and Unto Him

Saturday, October 8, 2011

QUIRK!

d

D

d.

D.

When I'm in a hurry while emailing, I sign my name with just my first-name initial.  But, I seem to have an odd quirk:  For the most part I'll type "D." (Capital D with a period) because it's the proper way to write the initial for my name.  But, the creative side of me just wants to sign off with "d" (lower case d with no period).  So, after I type "D.", I always want to change it to "d", but rarely do.

The teacher/writer/lover of written words in me knows correct grammar is important, but the creative flow from my heart wants to just be that - creative. Quite the quandary this initial-signing thing has created for me. Who really cares anyway?  

It's simple to rectify my dilemma.  I have three choices: do not be in a hurry when emailing so I can type out my full first name or be in a hurry but take the extra second it would take to shift plus type a period and not think twice about it. After all, how much time am I really saving by just typing a "d".  Or I could stop being quirky and just type "d" - a "d" with no regrets!

Well, I hope you're having a good laugh, because I am.  I can't believe I'm even posting about this...

Someday, I'm going to ask my Heavenly Father about the quirky side of me.  Hopefully, He will not give me a long narrative on some deep psychological reason why I am the way I am, but just laugh and say, "I love that about you".  And, hopefully, you do, too - no matter how I sign my emails.

Because of Him and Unto Him

Friday, October 7, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

I read this question on someone's FB page and It really struck my heart in a powerful way.

What if you woke up today
with only the things
you thanked God for yesterday?


Thank You, LORD, for speaking to me and letting me know I need to be more (much more!) grateful to You.   


Because of Him and Unto Him

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Wondering

When life gets difficult, what do you do?  Please share.

Because of Him and Unto Him



Monday, October 3, 2011

Merciful Tomorrows

I sigh when I think of Anne of Green Gables - "Anne with an 'e'."  I never read the book, but I love the movie.

Sigh...

One of my favorite quotes from the movie is: "Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

A new day.  A new day with no mistakes.  YET.

Mistakes are inevitable.  But, we must remember God's compassion and mercy is waiting for us in that new day - it's already there to cover our mistakes.
Through The LORD'S mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassion's fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.                              ~ Lam. 3:22 & 23
Yes, mistakes are inevitable, but so is God's compassion and mercy. Don't forget that when tomorrow comes!

Because of Him and Unto Him