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Braking Points

Pausing in the midst of Life to ponder, pray and find footing to continue.

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September, 2016. A Touch of Fiction

lifeinthesilverriver

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For September, I encourage those of you who have ever considered writing a story, a novel, a memoir to write.  It is scary, but fulfilling…every person possesses within stories, either real or imaginary–which by the way contain reality.  I find sharing fiction harder than writing my blog.  In a sense they expose a person in ways essay type writing does not.

But taking a big deep breath, I have chosen a few mainly Flash Fiction Shorts [250-750 words] that I have written over the past few years to share. I hope you enjoy some of them, but even if you don’t, I hope YOU will try writing down some of those stories you have inside.  Let’s start with:

Curiosity Nips Cat

I am a curious person. For example, while watching PBS News recently, I asked my husband if he thought I looked as old as the woman being interviewed…

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Post Christmas Ramblings

Perhaps you are a little bit like me.  No Christmas is perfect, especially when our human expectations meet the human actualities.  Almost like a hangover…in some cases, a real hangover…the day after all the festivities can become a downer.  Which gives the devil a tiny little foothold.  Joy is fragile during times of attack.  Looking at the scattered paper under a Christmas tree and looking for the manger with the baby under the scattered paper, I could not keep a melancholy from settling on me.

Knowing I needed to turn the focus away from myself, I read my devotional, found scripture that spoke to my current feelings, and wrote the following.

Perhaps it will speak to you, too, if you are a little bit like me.

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Distracted,
Disappointed,
Disillusioned,
Disheartened,

These tools of the enemy
Threaten DESTRUCTION.

Gifts stacked upon gifts
scattered remnants
paper and bows,
Expectations and emotions


Unable to make the gift that was wrong
Right.


Unable to clear mental clutter in the midst of

all the debris  

Reminders of yet another

Christmas barely past.
Weary, worn travelers congregated
Then scattered


Where is the manger?
Where is the Baby Jesus?

Where is all that promised joy, peace, love, and grace?

Time to reflect

Dig deep

Refresh, remember, reflect

PRAY!

I will trust

I will not allow 

Inadequacies, stilted moments, grief or 

Selfishness

Become the big “D” tools of an enemy

Whose only goal since I belong to Jesus

Is to promote self condemnation,

Critical thoughts, sin in my life

So that I feel unworthy of the Savior’s Love

So I doubt His love for me

And fall into the Post Christmas Blues

I will trust in His unfailing love

I will seek His face, 

Believe His grace

And Rejoice

For unto US a Child is Born

Unto US a Savior for all the world

Unto US  a Purpose and Plan

So I dig deep

Reflect 

Pray

Hope for tomorrow and Hope for today.

 

 

Christmas Without or Christmas Within 2015

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It is just not Christmas without…
You fill in the blanks

Snow or at least frost in air

A spouse, parent, a child, a friend, someone you loved

Who is not there

Health, wealth, or just enough money

to put presents under the tree

or maybe not even a tree

being home to celebrate with family and friends

without clothes to keep warm 

or a home in the storm

You fill in the blanks…
It is just not Christmas without. . .

Yet the truth of it all, it is all those with outs 

That speak to what Christmas’s about

The broken places in our lives and hearts

The empty spaces at the Christmas table

The health issues, the presence of sin

Christ came to a world filled with doubt

The promise of love, peace, hope within

In spite of all the with outs

It is Christ that Christmas is about.

I pray the world, especially the ones that I love take time to figure that out.

When I am Weak: Advent 2015

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If you have never been weak, never been hurt, never lived…read no further.

Advent leads us to Bethlehem’s Babe, but Bethlehem’s Babe leads us to Life, not without pain, sorrow, or despair, but Life that can make a difference.

When I am weak

From his birth in Bethlehem to his death on Calvary, Jesus experienced the weakness of the flesh. Restricted by the structure of human mind and body, he exemplifies the power of weakness.

Consider a few of his weak moments, perhaps fellow traveler, you can relate:

  • When I am sick
  • When I am hungry
  • When I am without clothing
  • When I am dependent on the good will of others to supply my every need
  • When I lose family and friends to the old enemy death
  • When I am homeless, seeking shelter, shower, and space to call my own
  • When I am despondent, depressed, sweating blood and my prayer warriors are sleeping
  • When I am betrayed
  • When I am abandoned by my friends
  • When I am arrested, in prisoned, insulted, lied to and subjected to the judgement of a crowd that wants to destroy me.

When He was WEAK, for the sake of our salvation, He WAS STRONG.

Whatever thorn you have in your flesh, Christ feels your every pain.
In Him that THORN can witness to His Grace better than all the gifts of the Spirit, all your human talents, and all the strengths you lean on.

Ask God HOW HE intends to manifest this promise in your life:
“My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NET‬‬

 

Fear Not: Advent 2015

imagePlaying it safe is not faith nor is it following the One Whose path on earth led to a cross.

Playing it safe is not the Advent road, there are risks involved, but the greater risk is to avoid the trip, hunker down, hide out….God does not lead us anywhere his hand cannot reach us. God is good, but he is not safe at least not in the finite understanding we humans have of safety.

When I choose my physical and mental safety over following Christ, I choose an illusion of the devil, because outside the will of God, aside from the manger, aside from the Cross, there is NO SAFE PLACE!

Don’t let the world squeeze you into a fearful ball of jitters and edginess! Hear the admonition of God spoken 365 times in the Bible, “FEAR NOT!”

Fear shuts down our ability to Love, don’t allow Satan to do that to you this Advent.

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭12:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Clear: Advent 2015

 

Navigating the road to Bethlehem’s child requires vigilance on the part of the believer. There are thieves, who lie in wait to steal and even destroy your joy.

You may have been one who has been blindsided and robbed.

There are fellow believers, so broken and crippled by the circumstances of the past year, that the tiniest bump in the road causes them to stumble and despair.

You may even be one of the wounded.

There are hills, potholes, and thorn covered paths caused by fear, doubt, and a sense of unworthiness. Thousands of obstacles from within and without, all designed by the one who will do anything to make the road to Christ and the road of Christ treacherous and undesirable.

So be vigilant, be of good courage, and remove as many obstacles as you can AND THEN ask God to level the path.

Clear the Way!
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Thanksgiving Day Twenty-Two 2015

 

 

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This scenerio is making the rounds on Social Media.  What I am about to write will probably get me some flak, maybe even from my family and close friends.  Like all one sided views, there is some truth here, or should I say there are some who when presented with questions like these with the “enlightened solutions” [yes, that was tongue in cheek] would respond this way.  But let’s start over:

I am terrified of Muslims.  I don’t want sharia law in America.

Ok, in the United States, we have the freedom to worship as we choose.  The rule of law in the United States is based on the Constitution, so Muslims can worship freely but not enforce sharia law in the USA.  You can worship freely, also.  Or, not at all.

Yeah, but I believe in Jesus and want the country to be more Christian. I don’t want anyone taking that away from me.

Ok, how do you propose to change the country?  What about veterans, homeless men, women, and families, children in crisis, and what about the refugees fleeing war zones?  How can your Christ change their lives for the better through you?  Government programs??

No, No we don’t need more taxes, more dollars thrown out there into programs that don’t work?  I am not sure how I can help.

Ok, did you know that a hundred years ago, Churches were the chief caregivers and providers for the needy, the orphans, that most social programs began in the church halls not in congress.  Have you looked around to find out what other Christians are doing to help those in need, both here and around the world.  One way to have a more Christian nation is to live among the people of all faiths or lack thereof showing respect, kindness, and sharing your faith in your actions.  Find where God is working in your community and join in that work.  Pack a shoe box for Samaritan’s Purse for a child in other parts of the world.  Adopt or foster a child.

But what about the state of families, folks having kids only to end up on the Welfare rolls or having to be put into foster care.  And don’t talk to me about Planned Parenthood, because I am Pro-Life and they provide abortions.

Ok, let me suggest you get involved with your local abortion alternative group.  They provide counseling, alternatives, physical and material support, mentoring, and a variety of other services for women and families in reproductive crisis.  Most of these services are free.  Also, most schools know which students need assistance with clothing or supplies.  Adopt one anonymously or take part in afternoon tutoring for struggling students.

I just don’t want socialism.  Big Government pumping money out like they can take care of us all.

Ok, but you know all of us have gotten used to government hand-outs.

WHAT?? Not me. Not my family.

Ok, what about the pubic school system,  the public health system, subsidies for medication for those with life threatening disease who cannot afford medication…?

Well, I guess there are some needed programs, but I want to reduce them and get back to the Constitution.

Ok, I think that brings us back to your quest for a more Christian nation.  It begins with the individual Christian and the Churches.  In 1985, there were over 800 homeless individuals  in the City of Tulsa, OK.  One Shelter Representative pointed out that there were as many churches in the area.  If each Church sponsored one homeless person or family, shelters would be emptied. 

But what about the Muslims?  I am terrified of Muslims.

Well according to Holy Scripture ‘perfect love casts out fear’.  How can the gospel be shared if we are afraid of sharing it with the people who need it most.

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Thank you, Andy McClure for making me have to think this through as a Christian.  I am thankful to God that He continues to bless the United States of America.  I am thankful to the military who both stay and go to protect the freedoms we hold dear.  I know there is blood shed coming and that violent actions will be required to keep us safe.  So I pray for those on the front lines and for their sacrifice.  I also know that fear kills love and compassion and sometimes we express it in ways that are not very Christian.  Help us, Oh Lord, to see as you see our neighbor and our enemy.

Thanksgiving Day Twenty 2015

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Dear Lydia Elizabeth,

Today had you lived you would have been eighteen years old. I have watched your bothers and sister grow up, have celebrated their birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgiving and even had mini adventures with them.  I often wonder how the dynamics of siblings would be different if you had survived that kinked cord in your momma’s womb.  Would you be close to your sister Abigail and to your brothers, Jordan and Graham?  Would you be the blue eyed grandchild among our Foster grandchildren or brown eyed like Jordan and Abigail, or hazel eyed like Graham?

Days before your silent entry, your Mother, my daughter, sensed something wrong.  You had become motionless, at least she had not felt your waving hands or kicking feet.  In her OB doctor’s office, no heartbeat–a heartbeat she had heard since you were only a few weeks old–could be detected.  Two ultrasounds later we knew.  Medically speaking, my precious Lydia, the diagnosis was fetile demise, but our hearts were breaking because every dream we already had for you died with you.

Through it all, as we waited for your body to be born,  your parents held each other up and tried not to frighten your older brother Jordan.  They planned your funeral and ministered grace to all of us in our grief.  Your Mom told me God would use your brief life and your death for good.  Eighteen years ago today, your parents checked in at the hospital.  Your Mom took her crochet hook  and created small Christmas wreath pins, which she shared with the hospital staff.  That night as labor pains demanded “push”,  your body slipped into your mother’s arms.  Of course, your spirit already was in heaven.

Your death changed us all.  I was bereft, but I no longer took for granted that once a pregnancy reached a certain stage, a healthy birth was guaranteed.  Months later at an evening prayer session at Pembroke Christian Church, a few folks gathered as was our custom on Monday evenings.  One of the prayer requests was for a couple who had just learned via ultrasound that their unborn daughter had an anomoly that was not compatible with life.  They had chosen to continue the pregnancy over protests from family and friends, who undoubtedly thought to do so would lessen their pain.

I burst into sobs, shaking in my seat, praying outloud and passionately–not me at all, Lydia.  Why? because YOU my precious granddaughter impacted my world, gave me a heart for  pregnant women, their unborn babies, for expectant fathers and especially for the value of the lives of those babies like you who died way too soon.

I am thankful for your short life, Lydia.  I am thankful for your legacy of love expressed in the love your parents have for each other, in the lives of your siblings, and for teaching your Papa and Mimi that prayer for the unborn is prayer for the world.

Love Always –Hold you one day in Heaven,

Mimi

Thanksgiving Day Eighteen 2015

 

For those of you who may not recognize the flying rodent in the imagepicture, let me introduce you to Mighty Mouse, no relation to the other cartoon Mice  with initials M.M. other than both were all conceived in someone’s head and born on a drawing board.

Saturday mornings were not complete without this fellow’s antics, adventures, and in the nick of time interventions.

‘Here he comes to save the day, You know that Mighty Mouse is on the way.’  from Mighty Mouse Theme Song

I admit it.  I have a ‘Mighty Mouse Complex’ which is a desire to sweep in, clear out the bad guys/gals, and rescue the perishing. In my fantasy I always know just what the best solution is for any and all situations.  Alas, the reality does not support that fantasy in the least.

As a child my mind entertained me with stories of outlandish villians determined to do harm only to be thwarted by my quick thinking, courage, and superior fighting skills.  Or stories where everyone was about to be swept away by a tornado, only to have me grab them at the last moment, cover their bodies with my own, providing protection from harm.  All my life I have wanted to protect the people I care about, especially my husband and children.  I would have gladly taken Terry’s cancer into my own body, but all I could do was walk with him through it.  I wanted desperately to fix every problem my children have encountered even though some were decidedly in the hands of God.  I have wrung my hands, prayed, experienced gut clinching pain every time one of them was hurt or in need, but I have not to my knowledge fixed any thing.

I want to be a hero, but at best I am support personnel.  I want to feed the impoverished, bring healing to the injured and sick, and love like Jesus loves me.  I want to turn sorrow into joy, weeping into laughing, weapons into plows…..

BUT WAIT A MINUTE….Only God can do those things.  He can guide me and teach me, but

He knows my cape is tattered,

my mind scattered, and my body bruised and battered

None of that matters.

I doubt my basic instincts to be a rescuer will change, so I count on God to hold me close, help me wait to see how his plan unfolds and to fold me into it where He can use me.

Today I am thankful that the God of the Universe who sent his son to die for all creation is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has the world with all its brokenness in his hands and heart.  He knows the homeless on the streets in the USA by name, he knows the name of every refugee anywhere in the world, and he will fold me and you into his plan where we can serve him best.

I don’t have to save my children, grandchildren, siblings, friends or enemies….IN FACT I CANNOT.

God Can and will use those willing to be bent a little to work with his plan.

 

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