Monday, July 29, 2013

Marrow for the Bones

My heart was beating and my eyes were crying, for I had no control over either. I heard someone say he was glad he'd be going to Glory with the likes of us. The entire church seemed to be in full worship, undivided attention focused on Praises to our Lord as needs were being met among the pews. We were all standing, singing a hymn from the old red book which lay open in the palm of our hands. My eyes looked at a pair of crystal sea blue eyes which looked back at me. I didn't smile at the child, just looked at her with tears rolling from my eyes. She normally turns away in withdrawal to hide those beautiful bashful eyes, but today, she just looked back at vulnerable old me. Her blond streaked hair fell around her tan face and she looked down at the hymnal she held, pretending to read the words that correctly fell from her lips. She knew the song by heart and I took a deep breath and looked at my book, knowing I need to see the words.

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I couldn't get the children off of my mind as I walked to the old cabin. I walked past a single footprint left in the dirt by my own child. I knew HE had something special for me, and I began to cry heavily knowing HE could feel me coming HIS way as one foot managed to step in front of the other until I reached the wooden steps. Already in prayer, I asked what HE would have me do today. What could I give the children, I asked.

A man had stood before us at church and mentioned that when people are lacking one sense, another one gets stronger. When my own children can't hear, they see. When the day falls dark and they can't see, they feel. Being deaf, The Lord gave them a deaf ear to listen with, and a body of good bones and heart to feel with. The sun was blinding and I closed my eyes and continued to pray. A smile came across my face as I realized what HE was giving me but tears released with a steady flow. I could hear baby birds screaming for more meat as their hunger cried from atop a nearby tree. I prayed harder but their screams were so loud. I dared not open my eyes. I placed my hands up over my ears and squeezed as hard as I could to drown out the hungry birds and I was still asking The Lord, what could I give the children, not just my own, but the ones I am blessed to teach from time to time, the ones that watch me with sea blue irises.

My heartbeat pounded through my ears as I prayed harder. I could feel the warm sun burning the flesh of my bare legs. My smile kept growing as I knew HE was listening to me, little old me sitting on the cabin porch right in the Bible Belt of Alabama. When I finished, I opened my eyes and uncovered my ears. I could hear the birds again and I saw the mama frantically pecking the ground below as she searched for more meat. She came up short so she dug a little deeper. She flew up to the fence post where she shouted from her chest that her mouth was full of meat. Her children quietened and she flew up to the tree where they were fed. My own bones no longer felt brittle and dry and I became acutely aware of the marrow...the marrow to the bones.

I knew I needed to provide good "meat" to the children. That's all they need right now. They need some marrow for the bones. Feeding them, clothing them, providing shelter alone can be hard enough in these trying times many of us are facing...but providing the "meat" they really need to sustain them cost no money at all. I must dig deeper if that's what it takes. I must close my eyes so I can hear and close my ears so I can feel. HE has always provided us with what we need exactly when we need it. Today, we feast on meat because the children are hungry, all of the children are hungry. I hope that I have the discipline to continue digging when I fall short, because HE will provide.

I am so Blessed to be going to Glory with people who inspire me, people who try to pray without ceasing, people who want to take of the "meat" for strength to cross one more day here, to be next to HIM. "How beautiful Heaven must be, sweet Home of the happy and free, fair haven of rest for the weary, how beautiful Heaven must be..."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Returning Home (part 2)

It is just a Thursday. The Bibles I no longer posses haven't crossed my mind in days. I ventured up the hill to the old cabin, determined to speak to HIM, and then listen when He speaks back. I sat comfortably in an old wooden chair and watched, and waited. Distant lawn mowers could be heard in the background of the sunniest of days we've had in weeks past. Rain has soaked the land and this is the first chance I've had in a while to just look out at crisp clear beauty.

I looked past everything and saw nothing. The shadows moved rather quickly as the sun peeked out in full from behind a pillow of cottony clouds. Suddenly everything my eyes had just scanned past, looked different. The tree in the field just beyond wore golden highlights not seen before. Leaves twinkled as they waved goodbye to the old tree and they fell in groups to the land below as if it were the middle of Autumn. I tried to turn my head but my eyes were fixated on the tree. I looked at the thick bottom of the trunk and my eyes lifted to find that the trunk was actually split right in two as if it were two separate trees, living as one at the base.

I offered the tree a smile and tried to turn away but just as my head began to move, more leaves fell grasping my attention. The sun shifted again I could see how many limbs grew in all directions from both sides of the tree and I wondered how the thing stayed balanced all these years when my eyes fell back down to the base of the tree. Of course, I thought...the foundation. Just like was mentioned in church. I began to think of the family tree again, the blue-eyed one rooted partly by the little lady that sits right behind me each Sunday. Her other half has long been gone having returned home some years ago...I never knew him.

I tried to turn my eyes from the tree but more leaves fell and the sun shifted quickly and I looked back to the limbs which now held branches. The branches held sticks and these sticks clung to the remaining leaves. They all began to dance in one accord, for one purpose and it was the most beautiful sight to see. My mind filled with images of the old lady's Bibles which I had returned to her family, she was a strong tree. I thought of the blue eyed-lady, her kids and their Bibles. I thought of how barren my own Bible might seem if it were to land in the hands of a stranger. I knew I used it but I became aware that it might not be apparent to others so I jumped to my feet and found my own child looking at me and then at the tree. I knew the child would always wonder why Mama stared at trees so much, but I scurried off the porch with immediate purpose and ran as fast as I could to my Bible. I opened it up and with a highlighter, I marked this verse:
Jeremiah 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
I wrote carefully underneath it with a blue ink pen Thursday 7-25-13. I hope that one day, after I've returned HOME, that my children will remember me watching trees...and know why I did.

Returning Home (part 1)

The Bibles have been on my mind. Ever since we received a bounty of the used books as a gift, I knew that four of them belonged with someone else. A lady's name was clearly visible on some as the eight letters had been bound within the leather cover across the front. Her entire family tree was inscribed within the pages of another in her own handwriting, dates of births, marriages, deaths, even hospital stays with room numbers next to the names of the sick. Dates were written beside certain scriptures, sometimes several dates marked a single verse and I wondered what made her go back over and over again to the same one.

I found an heir of the family from one of the names inside and last week, I returned them. I carefully opened one of The Books to show her great-grandson the inside. His first words were, "Wow. That's her handwriting." He gazed in amazement at the history of the tree, rooted from his mother's mother. He thanked me over and over but I was Blessed more than he'll ever know from a lady I never met, that has lived with The King for over a decade now. I touched The Holy Bible one last time, and my job was done. I left them with him, to do what The Lord instructs him to do.

I walked into church Sunday wondering what my Lord was going to do next. A touching Sunday School class led me to tears by the time our actual worship service started. There seems to always be some sort of unexplainable comfort when the blue-eyed lady makes her way to sit behind me on her pew of preference. As soon as she sat, I again thought of the Bibles. Several of her children, grand-children and great-grandchildren filled the church this Sunday morning and I wondered what they would do with her's when she is living with The King. My eyes looked at her grown son on the front pew and wondered the same about his Bible. I looked down at mine and saw that it was beginning to show signs of use. A semi-worn cover, marked pages on the inside by ribbons and bookmarks filled my book but the pages remained clean. Little did I know, that would soon change.

A daughter of the blue-eyed lady walked on painful knees to make her way to the front of the church where she stood by her husband to sing next to the old wooden piano. A familiar song passed over their lips just as soft as the first time I had heard it. Every word created a picture in my mind as I slipped in and out of prayer with every verse. As the beautiful song was about to see end, I heard a sweet little voice from behind, sing the last few words along with her daughter. A tear formed in my eye as I thought about the blue-eyed tree...

(to be continued)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Like a Servant

The word servant has been on my mind. No matter how hard I try to shake it, I see the word in everything I do lately. People ask me about my new job and as much as I want to describe it as being a servant, I choose other means, other descriptions because I don't want to be misinterpreted. I do actually get paid to be nice to people, to help people, to provide people with the best service I can possibly provide...so really my job is no different than what most people do, but I do often feel as a servant when I clean a toilet if it needs cleaning, wipe down tables in the lobby or pick up after people who might leave a mess. I've never had a job like this before but I have to say, it really is quite rewarding. Most people are kind that I come in contact with. Those who are not, make me a better person. They boost my efforts to be extra nice to others, especially to those who serve me in grocery store check-out lines or the drive-thru when I drop by for coffee.

Exhausted from long late hours of work, I sat on a pew Sunday morning as usual, just Blessed that I could be there. Every song we sang was about serving The Lord. The children even came from Sunday School wearing paper headbands that read, "Speak, for your Servant is listening." I began to realize why the word Servant had been on my mind. HE was showing me something. I have the opportunity to be a servant in the flesh at work to hundreds of people on any given day. I also have the opportunity to be a Spiritual servant for HIM in front of all of those people just the same. Though it's not my calling to preach to those who walk past me, there are other things I can offer from a genuine smile they might need to see, to a prayer they have no idea I'm lifting for them after they've gone on their merry way. There are things we can do without being actual servants in the flesh, sometimes that just isn't enough. Being an actual Servant of God will help people much more than a fresh set of towels and I need to remember that...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Within the pages

I sat down in the floor where The Bibles were all spread out in a large display. A neighbor dropped The Books off hoping we could find them a good home after running across them as they were out shopping for antiques. They couldn't dare sell them knowing the importance of the content so I sat down on the rug, and my hand reached out for the one which looked most interesting.

In my palm, I held history. I could feel the treated leather which bound the pages and my fingers gently ran down the worn spine of The Book which read Holy Bible References with no words on the front or back of this Book. The golden edges of the pages were faded and only a hint of color was left near the binding. I was careful not to move the ribbon bookmark still oddly bright red after all these years. I placed my fingers near the marker and gently opened The Book. It was the end of Colossians and the beginning of Thessalonians, and the first verse at the top of the page read, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

The pages had tanned over the years and words were underlined with green ink and the date 11-25-81 was marked on the page, also in green ink. Verses were grouped in parentheses in blue ink pen with the date 12-11-96 also scripted on the page with the same blue ink. I knew this person had read these pages more than once in a fifteen year span. The aged pages smelled reminiscent of a forest, pine or cedar maybe and I flipped through more pages of history.

I could tell the reader of The Bible had just begun to show age as well during ownership of this Book. Several pages in the front marked births, marriages, and deaths of generations surrounding her. I saw her name, her husband's name, the date of his death and their children's names. I knew right then, I was holding The Bible, of a Godly women, who was now with her Heavenly Father.

As I flipped through a second Bible, with larger print than the first, her name printed on the cover of this ragged edged Bible, I knew this one had to follow the first one I held. There was less family history noted in the front of this one and the handwriting looked more concentrated, older, and had the look of a quaking hand that was no longer steady. I opened The Book to a page that had been marked with two (now dried) four leaf clovers. I smiled and placed them carefully back down, right where she too had smiled and once placed them.

I looked through all of these books and I knew exactly why the neighbors couldn't (or wouldn't) sell them. Though many were in excellent condition and probably were gifts to her from family or friends, she reached for the same ones over and over, year after year. There's more for me to see within the pages. She has something more to say, more to teach though she's been long gone from this earth I'm sure. She could never write down the date of her death in that Bible, along with the rest of her family and in a way, she's living on. She's been a Blessing to me already and she could have never known she would be...but HE knew all along! Thank you for the Treasures!