The Women Taught Me

When I worked as a secretary and encourager at Having the Courage To Change with women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction as well as many released from prison, one of their sayings was about not quitting too soon. “Sunday is coming.”

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15:58)

“If you stop one hour before God is done, you will miss the blessing!”

I love Danny Gokey’s line that “God had the answer before you had the problem.” Reminds me of Isaiah 61:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Yes, He is more powerful than we are. He is NOT surprised by what occurs in our lives.

Have you been praying and you still have no answers?
Have you been pouring out your heart for so many years?
Have you been hoping that things would have changed by now?
Have you cried all the faith you have through so many tears?

Don’t forget the things that He has done before
And remember He can do it all once more

It’s like the brightest sunrise
Waiting on the other side of the darkest night
Don’t ever lose hope, hold on and believe
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
You’re closer than you think you are
Only moments from the break of dawn
All His promises are just up ahead
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it

He had the solution before you had the problem
He sees the best in you when you feel at your worst
So in the questioning don’t ever doubt His love for you
‘Cause it’s only in His love that you’ll find a breakthrough, oh

It’s like the brightest sunrise
Waiting on the other side of the darkest night
Don’t ever lose hope, hold on and believe
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
You’re closer than you think you are
Only moments from the break of dawn
All His promises are just up ahead
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it

He is moving with a love so deep
Hallelujah for the victory
Good things are coming even when we can’t see
We can’t see it yet, but we believe that
He is moving with a love so deep
Hallelujah for the victory
Good things are coming even when we can’t see
We can’t see it yet, but we believe that

It’s like the brightest sunrise
Waiting on the other side of the darkest night
Don’t ever lose hope, hold on and believe (Don’t ever lose hope)
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet (Just haven’t seen it yet)
You’re closer than you think you are (Think you are)
Only moments from the break of dawn
All His promises are just up ahead
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet
(You gotta hold on, hold on)
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet (Hold on)
Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet (Just haven’t seen it yet)

Holy Week – What is A Christian To Do?

I have spent most of my life following Jesus. One of my greatest Christian teachers was Francis of Assisi. He chose to be stripped of possessions and riches and to follow Christ unhindered by things. For several years I was a Third Order Franciscan through the Episcopal church. Recently my friend, Bonnie, reminded me of a quote from Francis on his deathbed. He is purported to have said, “I have done what was mine to do. May Christ now teach you what you are to do.”

How might we go about doing that? The Book of Common Prayer Morning Prayer Rite 2 in the general thanksgiving says “…show forth Your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to Your service ….”

On Monday and Tuesdays when I do not “feel” like writing I am reminded that I give up myself to His service by writing this blog. It is mine to do. I pray what I write will encourage others to follow Jesus. I pray the things I tell about will inspire others to pull down strongholds and walk on with the Savior of our souls. I pray I might amuse others and help lift them from the doldrums of the daily grind. I struggle to put into words my relationship with a Holy God through the power of the Holy Spirit given as a result of the life, sacrifice, resurrection and then ascension of Jesus Christ.

So what is Christ asking you to do?

I have found over the years that if I feel stuck spiritually I need to go back to the last thing the Lord asked me to do, and be certain I did that.

Francis also said, “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

So there were things like: volunteer at the homeless shelter. Try to help organize the shelter donations. Set up the construction of a new donation out building. The Church carried that out.

Bonnie also quoted these steps:

  1. Do what is necessary.

2. Do what is possible.

3. Let God take care of impossible details and do as He leads.

Carry on!

But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

Hey, Mom?

The kids were sitting at the dining room table doing their homework. I was standing at the kitchen sink, doing dishes and singing aloud in my prayer language.

Suddenly Jeff asks, “Hey, Mom? Is that how you sing in cursive?” I answered, “Yes, I guess so!”

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” 1 Corinthians 14:15 NIV

In some respects I did okay raising our children. In many respects, I failed raising our children for Paul goes on to write in 1 Corinthians 14:16-17

Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. 1 Corinthians 14:16-17 NIV

I did not realize at the time that I should have prayed for and then sang out the interpretation. I was simply at the sink worshiping.

May the Lord lead and guide our now adult children to a deep fulfilling walk with Him. Perhaps by my examples I did expose them to helpful cues for their journey.

Ellie

Seven years ago Ellie was ill one day when her parents both had to go into work. My daughter asked if she could some sleep on our sofa. We said certainly. She inspired this prayer poem.

Watching Ellie Sleep© 2014 Molly Lin Dutina

As I sit here watching you sleep, 
my heart melts 
you are so sick 
not even wanting anything to drink
so ill you cannot stay awake

Eyelids that dark shade
that declares you are unwell
your lovely long eyelashes 
are enchanting
just like your mother’s were

I just want to make you well
though I know I cannot 
you sleep on
under your olive-green throw
and I pray over you
 
That Christ will heal you,
that there be no long lasting effects 
of whatever ails you.
Rest, my dear Ellie, 
and be made whole.

Eleanor Grace

My middle Grandgirl is a darling girl. As a very young child she was a handful, at times VERY difficult to cope with. (Would love to post her young pouting photo here, but the older ones are packed away.) As she grew older she has become more and more pleasant and extremely kind.

I have always wanted to pass along my faith to my grandchildren. Difficult to know how to impart that without disrupting family dynamics. St Francis said, “Preach always. Use words if necessary.” Nicole C. Mullen was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She published this song in 2000. She speaks truth about God’s children. Hebrews 1:14 says “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

I often sang this as a prayer for my children and grandchildren to know God. One person said they would each learn by watching how Bob and I live our lives. Before middle school each Grandchild knew we loved Jesus and live for Him.

The oldest Grandgirl, Lizzie, blessed me when she went to Christian Camp in 1994 when she was in Middle School and got baptized. Her Mom invited Bob and I show up at the pool for the event! I was so tickled.

At Christmas this year our second Grandgirl, who has never liked jewelry, was wearing two necklaces. I knew she and her Mom had bought one together a few months earlier. The necklaces were inside her sweater. I asked her if it was the necklace that she and her Mom both wear. She said yes, and showed me the other one she was wearing. It was a tasteful gold cross. I was stunned. When I found my words I invited her to come into the living room with me alone. Through our masks I asked her about her cross necklace.

She said, “Mommy bought it for me.” I asked if that was a piece of fashion jewelry or if it meant more to her than that. Put on the spot, she stammered, “Well, you know, Jesus.” I refrained from jumping up and down! I told her I was so glad she believes in Him. I asked her if she would like me to get her a Bible and underline my favorite verses. She said yes, her eyes twinkling.

Many years ago I got frustrated with the concordance in the back of my Bible. I decided to make my own concordance, gathering up all the verses with special meaning to me. That is my major remaining project before we move. Marking two New Testaments for the Grandgirls to have as their own with my favorite verses highlighted.

They have their own angels assigned to them now. I am beyond delighted. It was a Christmas surprise I continue to rejoice over!

“Holy” Cards

Death came early in my life as so many relatives were much older than me. My mother gave birth to my sister and I late her life. In childhood the “holy cards” from funerals became some of my cherished possessions. I remember as a teenager pinning them to the wall near my bed. Even today, I have a few to help me center during my prayer time.

We are not only packing, but as we were readying to show the house we stripped away all sorts of things from our lives. Molly, do you really need all of this stuff? Is this part of that 2021 ‘Transform’ word now being experienced? Less and less of me and more of You Lord! Had to put away those cards.

Now I need to hold fast to my Lord without those images to center me. He is love and grace and mercy. There is no image that can comprise all of His attributes. I must simply let Him guide me and keep hold of my hand.

Lead on, O King Eternal.

Likely ten weeks until we are moved, unpacked and beginning to settle again. Lord, continue to keep us well, I pray. Over 500,000 deaths in the USA due to Covid-19 and still counting with new variants looming.

Talking with Tony about packing made me realize anew how many open containers of cleaning agents I have and I need to pack. Will we really leave things for him to do or go into a frenzy doing packing ourselves? And then our energy runs out. Help us pace ourselves for Your work and kindness towards each other.

Language Humor 3

When was the last time you ate Basketti?

When I was a nanny one child I kept used to rub the sauce in her eyes every time we served it to her! Yuck. I would think that would burn her eyes! That habit required a head bath after lunch in the kitchen sink while she laid upon the kitchen counter!

Have you played with a babbloony lately? Kate loved them!

When Emily was small she used to sing, lots! One of her favorites was “Hallelujah to the Wham!” Yep, the Lamb was Jesus. I loved that! Always reminded me that Almighty Jesus packs a punch!

Rhythm or Melody?

Grandma Snapp played the piano most of her life. My Grandfather was a preacher. Grandma played the piano. My mother, their only daughter for 21 years, was made to lead the hymns standing on a soapbox.

In her last years Grandma Snapp drummed her fingers on the table. That made my mother crazy! I always imagined she was perhaps playing part of a piano piece?

When I turned 65, I found myself unconsciously drumming a rhythm with my fingers. When I realized what I was doing I wondered, do I do it because Grandma did? Is it hereditary? I am not a pianist. The rhythm seems comforting.

iPhone will let you set your vibration signal. I have mine set for incoming calls. Guess how I set mine? Yep, same rhythm! Find it under ringtone, custom vibration.

In the Gap of a Stone Wall

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal;  but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

-Luke 12:19-21 New Revised Standard Version.

When I was a child my mother collected Betty Crocker coupons points from flour and box mixes. When we had saved enough points we could order things from the Betty Crocker catalog. Researching this article I realized that is likely where she ordered my baby spoon from!

When I was a young teen we had a Home Economics class. The teacher told us to to choose an everyday flatware pattern based upon our preference of design and how easy it would be to keep the pattern clean. My mother let me use her coupons to order this spoon.

Yep! I still have it. The design is great to get frozen hard gelato out of the container! 🙂

When we were in Ireland we were fascinated by the multitude of stone walls. The land is so rocky that those smart people used the stones to build with. Walking in a village one day the roadway was lined with stone walls on either side. I noticed something shining out of the wall. I pulled on it and much to my surprise was the item below!

At first glance what does it remind you of? I could not have been more shocked!

Side by side you can see they are not identical, but I was shocked to see the similarities! Was someone walking to work eating and finished their food? Decided to store the fork for later? Then forgot where it was? I will never know, but it became one of my found souvenirs. The tines are a little bent but I treasure it. I do not value it over my Lord. Unless He fills me and guides me with His Holy Spirit I am as useless as a fork stuck in the gaps of a stone wall.