Archive | September 2014

Doors….some open, some closed

Open the Door

So I was at our local Sheriff’s Office yesterday getting my concealed weapons license and while I was waiting for the processing of my application, i was taken back somewhat by the stark, sterile sense of environment.  Everything was brown, with one-way mirrors and buttons you push to talk to someone through a speaker.  Policemen and women exit and enter, and the heavy security doors shut hard, echoing down a stairwell nearby.  There are no plants, no warmth, and no laughter.

Various people enter and exit.  The lady waiting to be bonded. The boyfriend, speaking into the intercom about when he can pick up his girlfriend for bond. The young man attempting to get his arrest record for impersonating an officer and having his car impounded for evidence (yeah, I wondered) and his girlfriend, quiet and soft spoken and obviously encouraging him that it’ll be okay.

What struck me as odd was the emptiness of it.  It definitely resounds…confinement, boundaries and the only words on every door…Authorized Personnel Only.

It made me think, “the Father has surely opened and closed many doors for me and others.”  Some of the doors are figurative, like the door to choice.  Unfortunately, we don’t always choose good.

The door of the Ark before the flood was closed by God to save a few in a world of bad choices.

Yeshua says, I am the door, if any man enter in, he shall be saved.  He says He stands at the door and knocks and if any man hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in to him, eat with him and the man will eat with Yeshua.

Hebrews 4:15-16:  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The above passage stresses the attitude with which those who have chosen Him can enter in…With Confidence, knowing you will receive mercy and grace when you need it.  The other verses speak of a man entering in, but he must first hear and by hearing, I believe follow the One who opened the door for him.

What an amazing opportunity!  God asks us to come to Him, Yeshua knocks at the door, hoping we will open it.  An offer of life.  He says ANY man who enters shall be saved.  Not just authorized personnel.  The door is open if we will walk through it.  How many times in our lives do doors open and we walk through without thinking of where we’re going.

I assume in the above scripture that if we’re knocking on a door, we know where it leads to just as those who exited and entered the doors within this jail, knew what was behind the door.  There is usually not mercy or grace behind those doors. This place is a place where justice is dealt out routinely.

But there is still a door you must open, and behind it is the One who is Justice, Mercy, Compassion and Love.  It’s not too late.  Open the door to your heart and believe that life is greater than where you are right now and someone is offering it to you so come in confidently knowing another has given you authorization, has paid your bond and waits for you.

Open the Door

Be Still…and Know

Be still and know that I am God

These past few months, with the loss of my beloved, I keep searching for the wisdom of God in the loss of life.  I have been in the Lord for 24 years and He has always been faithful to speak when it’s important.  My heart is still in a broken place, even though my spirit, perseveres.

So yesterday, I returned to an old favorite scripture.  My knowledge of Hebrew was not was it is now and so I found a new perspective in the letters I saw with new yes yesterday.  The Hebrew word, for ‘be still’ is “rapha”.  Rapha is one of the covenant names of God, Jehovah Rophe, the one who Heals.  It reads in the literal like this:  the healing or be healed, be purified or complete but can also appear to have the opposite meaning, to be sunken down, powerless…in need of healing.

Perhaps, the rest of the verse will lend some insight.  Be still, and KNOW…this word know in Hebrew is ‘yada’. It is used in knowing someone, but this knowing is a deeper knowing of intimacy, sexually.  Knowing and experiencing with another a connection that supersedes the physical, perhaps.  Be still and know that I AM GOD.  He uses his name Elohim here. The strong, mighty plurality of God.

So let me offer the possibility that He KNOWS you both in your weak, powerless moments of life and that He will complete, heal and purify you because He is a God not too mighty to reach down and touch you, love you, remember you.

I was a nurse for years and my kids would tell you that unless you were broken or bleeding to death, you were going to get a butterfly bandage and all would be okay, as far as I was concerned.  But I remember, always saying these words, “Be Still!”  or “Hold Still!” while I bandaged them up.  I knew if they kept moving, they would injure themselves worse and make it harder for me to finish what I needed to so that they could go on and play and stop hurting.  They would ask me other times, “Is it gonna hurt?”  I said, “I’m going to make it better, but if you don’t be still I can’t finish making it better.”

God may seem slow, but really He’s patient.  So today, be still and wait for the healing that is coming.  He knows it hurts, but if you’ll rest in being powerless and let the One is all Powerful take over, life will be better.  Whether it be a broken heart, a broken spirit, a broken body, or a broken down car…He is there beside you…wait…be still and you will know Him better and that He is a God that will be active in your life and He will prove Himself trustworthy and take His rightful place in your life, lifted up and praised for His goodness and strength.  So…Be still…the Healer is doing His work! You can participate in Your own Healing today by Being Still.

Be still and know that I am God

Waiting…for her, the power of forgiveness

motherchild

It’s been a decade now since my mother-in-law, Lourdes, passed away.  I married her baby son 26 years ago in November.  It was never a great relationship.  She was the ‘matriarch’ of her family but had grown up the baby in her own family.  She had grown up in a large family of Spanish/Taos Indian descent and being the baby she had grown up used to having her way and being the center of attention. Her baby son had always been a treasure for her. She was pregnant 16 years after his birth and being older found comfort and love in his attentive care.  He had married when he was 20 and divorced about 6 years before I met him. I found myself constantly being told about previous memories from his marriage and everyone was “civil”, but it was one of those families where the elephant’s under the rug and everyone walks over it like a speed bump near their favorite shopping place.

There would be many heartbreaks of their disapproval of me or probably the thought that no one was good enough for her son.  I was determined I would prove that wrong.

My own mother had some pretty awful mother-in-laws.  My mother is Korean and both of them were pretty vocal about mixing of white and other ‘races’.  I was described by my own grandmother as that little ‘porch monkey’s children’. I didn’t really understand what that meant but that hillbillies in West Virginia had their own sayings. I would learn. My stepgrandmother referred to us as my son’s wife’s children…ugh!  My mother always held her head up and was kind. When my stepgrandmother broke her hip  and couldn’t get to the bathroom by herself, my mom was the one who wiped the trail of pee from the bed to the bathroom.  She had just been widowed that year but she found pleasure in serving.  After helping her thru breast cancer and the hip injury, my stepgrandma changed her attitude.  I remember still today her telling me how sorry she was as she lay in the hospital bed about her treatment of my mother and how much she loved her and how we truly were her grandchildren and she was blessed to have us.

My story would end much the same.  My mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and went into remission with treatment a year later, but in 2004 after my own mother’s stroke during a procedure, we were informed Lourdes had cancer in her spine and brain.  They both lived in Florida and while I went to rehab for my own mother, now paralyzed and without speech, we took care of Ken’s mom.  I drove from the East Coast to Orlando for a few weeks and then I moved in with my two children.  The other daughter-in-law, Bonnie, lived down the street and between the two of us, we kept her healthy and her spirits up.  I would lay with her at night as she retired to bed and she would stroke my head and thank me for being there .I just cried.  My own mother was withheld from me after weeks of going thru rehab with her.  I raised the youngest brother and the middle one had always been jealous because he lived with my grandma and dad after our parent’s divorce.  In an Asian family, number one son is #1.  My mother always struggled with that issue.  So I was pretty broken when I went into my mother-in-law to tuck her in one night and she asked how things were going and I broke down sobbing. She kept patting me on the back and kissing the top of my head while she lay there and spoke a wonderful gift into my life.  She said, “Cheryl, I pray God blesses you the way you have blessed me during this time. I am sorry for anything I did to you, but I want you to know how much I love you and until you get to see your mom again, I will be your substitute mom.”

I would help care for her for 4 months. I taped many conversations and prayed she would live until her next wedding anniversary which was Christmas Eve. She died December 10, 2004.  The week before we sang praises in her room. My son read her favorite psalms. I finished all the tapes and gave them as a Christmas gift.  Each family member received a recording of her speaking about how she felt about them and their favorite picture of her in a travel alarm clock.  I knew how important hearing her voice might be later.

My mother cannot speak anymore and is paralyzed on her right side. She is not the energetic, servant heart  she was before, but she is still with us. I got her back about 7 years ago.  It’s not easy. I also have my two grandsons and daughter living with me.  But, there are times when I lay next to my mama and tell her how much I love her and forgive her for all the pain we endured together.  She cries, strokes my head and kisses my face and we weep that things are not as we hoped but we love one another.  She was the first one who changed my diapers and now we change hers. She came to America hoping to have a better life and raise a family and she did. She can’t read and write and now there is no voice, but I hear her still. I hear her in the love she gave and that I also followed as I loved others that were many times, not lovely; I pray for her deliverance but I am always grateful for her presence.

So to all mothers, both stay-at-home and working.  Don’t think your children don’t see and learn. We’re watching your offerings of love, your perseverance, your willingness to serve and we will be going forward doing the same and remembering what we learned as we weep, hold you, and await the day we must walk through this life and do the same.  Your voice will always be there as it was the day we took that first step and you celebrated our step into the world and nursed us when we fell.

Do not grow weary in doing good, the Word says, for in due time you shall reap a harvest if you do not lose heart.  One mother’s gift of life would bring us our Messiah and He would bring eternal life for all who desire to walk loving, giving and serving purely for its own sake.  May He bless you today.

Love Abides (In Memory of My Beloved)

In the end, there were no words, no walk down memory lane of all that we shared and loved. Only a last embrace and your spirit surrendering its last breath to the Lifegiver.

Then the blinding dawn crept in, the beginning of another day, where love seemed but a whisper and time eroded into a slow motion of every day events that wound down to coveted sleep, only to awaken to an empty cold where once love covered me like sunrise over the mountain.

Perhaps you lingered as you passed between this world and the next. I prayed and yearned for the pressing of your kiss to my cheek, but found only another tear, seeking its way into hands clasped tightly in desperate hope that it was surely a dream and not the fulfillment of my greatest fear of being left alone again on my own

Love hoped for a better finish, a sweeter moment, when we could embrace entering home together, finishing the race stronger. Yet now, I find myself yearning for the love you gave that made life exciting, challenging, and precious. Your laughter, your smile and the fearless embrace of all we were created to be.

Memories erupt and I’m drowning in a pool of tears filled with disappointment, pain and impenetrable darkness that has no form but veils me like the caterpillar that inches along and weary finds itself within its cocoon…quiet and alone.

But beneath this veil, the smallest trickle of life beats and dreams of the days of flight ahead and the eventual landing on the hand of the Beloved who brought life, healing and love within my reach.  The journey was not long, but it was ours and it will continue for love has a life of its own and it will bear its beauty on the wings of a butterfly that will find its rest in the Hand that is awaiting its return.