He’s Alive

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!

This is a song this blessed Sunday celebration is incomplete without for me.

Listen, sing along, and rejoice with me!

He died and and He rose again for each of us to be free!!

Hallelujah!

Blessings and prayers to you today and always, dear friends! ❀

“”Prepare Ye” ~ Godspell (1973)”

Hey, there! Not a lot of spiel. Just a song I adore and that seems so right for today.

I was first introduced to Godspell as a kid. My mom cringes at musicals but my dad and I could watch them all day.

He knew this one had its fair share of imperfections in fully retelling the story of Jesus but he also knew the music and the enthusiasm would capture me. And so it did. Hope you enjoy. Blessings and prayers this Palm Sunday. ❀

In the Light

Hello, there, dear friends! I have been continuing on, digging deep into my heart, searching the Word, searching my soul.

Listening to a lot of tunes, one of which I will share below when I am done rambling. πŸ˜‰

Anyway….really, essentially, I am working a lot on who I am in Him and what He has for me…

I turned 43 last month…and I feel it-if not significantly more.

No…you didn’t miss it.

I purposefully did not disclose the day here or with many in my offline world. No offense, but I just didn’t feel like it. πŸ™‚

It’s not a tragedy or anything. It’s a testament to how far He has brought me, really.

Yet…I have found myself less than thrilled with it.😏

Now, I hestitate to deem this a typical “midlife” crisis though it has many of the earmarks.

I find myself wondering often if I’m enough.

Am I doing enough?

Am I being enough?

Despite my rep for cooking for and hanging out with our little youth group, I am also famously reclusive here in my little town.

A big part of that is due to the physical limitations…

And other parts?

Mentally, emotionally, socially?

It’s just…who I am.

I dearly, dearly love people. I care from the depths of my soul.

Empathy is a major component He has placed on my heart, as is intercessory prayer.

Yet…I really intensely struggle to be around many people for very long. Some folks I feel downright uncharitable about. And it’s getting more profound the more years I add.

And that is just being around them. Forget engaging in conversation!

It’s disconcerting. I waffle between feeling the need to apologize for myself and to defend my oft-noted, very introverted territory.

And, sadly, I am just as well known for the list of “I can’ts” or “can’t anymores”, as the case may be.

Driving.

Traditional employment.

Being on my feet too long or on any uncertain terrain.

Climbing.

Running.

Dancing.

Lifting things of any significant weight.

Opening jars.

Sit-ups.

Being in a crowd.

Holding an infant in my arms.

Wrangling toddlers.

Selling books.

Selling myself. πŸ™„

And that is but a partial list.

I’d write more, but that’d belabor the point.

It can be a tad depressing to read, to be sure.

And, yet…lately, I have begun to ask myself: do I use it as a crutch?

Oof.

Dare I admit it can become an… excuse?

A way to not have to push myself beyond comfortable bounds?

I don’t know.

Perhaps.

Can lingering on my fears and tucking myself in tight to my limitations become an actual…sin?

Oh, dangerous territory indeed, especially to an ex-charismaniac!

So much of the belief system prescribed in the name-it-and-claim-it crowd depends on only talking positivity over oneself and calling all sorts of things that are not as though they are. As if the power rests alone in my little, feeble hands!

I don’t want to go back to those places in my mind that displace a sovereign God. Ever.

Too often did I browbeat myself for not “stepping out” in some things-certain it proved a severe “lack of faith” not to believe I was going to be absolutely in divine health and prosperity because God told me to declare it so.

Never mind some thorns in our sides are not necessarily meant to be removed.😏

But, in that, Paul still went out and did what God had for him to do.

So…it stands to reason God asks me to do so, too.

But exactly what?

There were times in my life I thought I knew.Now? Everything, every wheel turning in my brain, every joint in my body feels…rusty.

So…the search for the what goes on, if a bit slowly. I have ideas in baby form, but are they mine or are they God’s?

Well…

I guess I’ll know it when I land on it.

But, to land on it, I will have to keep venturing, even with the protest choir crying in the back of my head.😏

Because if there is one thing I want, it’s to pull away from these hinderances that bog me down in sin and self-loathing.

I want to be in the light, as He is in the light.

And I have to learn to accept the thorn in my side at the same time as I seek the ways He has for me to live in His light.

And this introduces to the promised song, straight from another beloved 90’s Christian Band, DC Talk.

Oh, how many days did they inspire my soul!

Would that I could just share their entire catalog.

So, so many of their songs resonate from The Hard Way to Jesus Freak, from What if I Stumble? (That long, long ago in a galaxy far away I sang as a duet at churchπŸ™‚) to Consume Me.

But, this week, In the Light and its raw, powerful lyrics stir me in particular. This is my heart’s cry, in fact. May it be all of ours. Have a listen and draw near to His light. Blessings and prayers. And I thank you for yours. ❀

The Chase

Hey, there, friends! I thought it was time I chimed in for a moment to reassure you I am in the land of the living.

Doing the wife and mom thing 24/7, doing the cooking for an amazing passel of youth on Wednesdays, and doing an awful lot of introspection in- between.

On things like purpose, God’s plans, and the circuitous way life can often go when desperately chasing those things.

Or, when you just think you are. 😏

It gives me a laugh, albeit a slightly rueful one, to realize how often He has to show me He is not done with breathing the breathe of life on me, nor equipping and encouraging me.

And, yet, I often seem to take a little breath of my own, ruminate on the vision He is placing in front of me, and shake my foolish head. And then, I dare to petulantly remind Him of my tattered rags, my awkward ways, and do what I do best….

Run! (Figuratively speaking, of courseπŸ˜‰)

How easily I forget what He has done before and what He can do again!

The lists of “look what He’s done for me’s” stretch behind me like parchments curling for miles!

Redemption of family.

Healing of hearts.

Breakthroughs and bounties beyond imagination.

Sure, there were looming anxieties pursuing me then and new ones cropping up now…

BUT-there is STILL Jesus.

He never abdicates the throne nor neglects His precious own!

He is the joy-giver whatever the world comes at you with!

And I know this. As in, have ample experience with this!

Yet, how quickly do I dismiss leaning on this joy that abides despite circumstance!

How often do I find myself bogged in a fretful state instead of seeking solace in His arms!

Far too often, friends!

That said, I do find myself in recent days swapping thoughts with the Lord.

Feeling His delight and finding dappled moments of my own.

And, perhaps, finally beginning to reawaken to my sense of purpose in Him.

Now, I’d still characterize myself a “functioning” depressive. It’s hard to face many days, yet facing them I am.

But not alone, mind you! The sweet Lord is there, handing me the key.

For, in Him, I am realizing that, yes, there is a somber shadow cast on my soul that is just there. And just going to be.

But, that is not necessarily bad.

For, strangely, it is one that is not without a purpose of its own.

For, in many ways, the shadow is really just a piece of how it feels to rest in His wings.

In them, He reminds me we need the deep thinkers in this world, the grievers of our times, the ones that recognize where we’re at and why.

And He counts me among them.

Not to be superior nor to scold without tempering in love.

Rather, to alert us these are grave days we are in. We are nearer and nearer to His return by the day.

Salvation is at hand. And it is imperative we both take it to heart and share the truth with others while we yet may.

Now, risk of walking in this shadow comes in allowing satan to twist the reasons for the weeping, to become distracted from the cause God has in mind, and to be lured away from the protective cover of His wings to the true darkness beyond.

For, then, we are prone to surrender to the assaults the world flings at our souls.

Not to mention there is the temptation to chase our own tail in the process!

But-the rewards in the shadow? Ah, the rewards!

Life and life eternal in the presence of our most Holy Lord!

For He alone is infinitely worth every moment of the chase; all the rest the heart clamors for is merely temporal!

And…

Speaking of chasing…

The following song has been known to me a long while, but only recently popped back on my radar.

I first heard it at a concert Andrew Peterson was opening for. The simple honesty of it resonated in my aching heart then and it still does now. Perhaps, even more so.

Have a listen and be blessed, dear friends! Thank you for the prayers! I can definitely feel them! Know that you always have mine, too. ❀

At the Well

It’s been a long while since I really spoke of my hurt.

It occurred to me recently that many of you newer readers may not even know that much about it beyond snippets still given here and there.

A dig through the more distant reaches of my archives would enlighten, of course.

And I can make it more convenient by indicating that you may click here for perhaps the best rundown, if so inclined.

But, overall, there are reasons I resist touching too much on it.

I haven’t wanted to feel as though I am eliciting sympathy or sinking down into the past and staying there.

I also don’t want to dip into any unfair comparisons from past to present.

Insecurity has a way of painting everything in dark, foreboding shades.

What may, in fact, be unintentional on the part of a loved one now looks like the same heart-shattering experience as before when glimpsed through the lens of an oft-wounded soul.

Still, I am nothing if not honest here.

The fact is, though I speak often of “Be still and know that I am God”-something I am truly striving to live in the light of every day-there is a growing melancholy weighing on my heart at present.

A deep-seated sadness settling in that is stealing at my ability to rightly express it.

Depression has long been with me, mind you. We are certainly not strangers.

More than once, it nearly snuffed the life out of me, in fact.

Now, it is something that hovers in the background and makes itself known by turns.

Right now? It’s a “making itself known” season.

I fight to go to sleep with this heaviness these days, reawakening frequently, an unidentifiable fear cloaking me in the midslumber haze.

Where it is coming from, I can cast about a few ambiguous notions, but, where there are some aspects of my life to definitively point to as a source, I can’t necessarily call too much of it concrete.

Is it all rooted in my past, so littered as it is by abuse and abandonment?

Or is it my ever-present anxiety over signs that such pain, real or no, is or is about to revisit me?

Angry shouts do ring in my head long after they have ceased and have an unfortunate tendency to visit me in my dreams.

It’s quite the challenge to rest my soul in any “it is well” feeling, even when life is managing fairly pleasantly, let alone when it is not.

For there is the nearly constant question mark in my head:

“When’s the next time the wounding will come?”

How will it come?”

And-“Will I be able to sustain myself following it?”

Now, there are days I can rightly shove this aside and recall to myself just Who my sustainer is.

Most days, in fact.

But, other days?

Ah, other days, I find myself forgetting.

Perhaps, it is the old recordings in my head getting louder, stating in dismissive tones how try as I might, I’m still just no good.

A loser.

A wimp.

A tramp.

Unwanted.

Unworthy.

Unable.

And I know that I know that that is most emphatically not true-not in God’s eyes!

But…circumstances make my hands slow to switch off the tape sometimes.

So…what do I do?

Dig myself further in one way or another.

Either into deeper wells of sorrow, cranking up that ugly noise and feeding upon the slow death of it.

Not a good thing!

Or…the better part-

I dig in deeper to prayer.

To worship.

To His words-to me and for me.

The far superior well to spend my time in by far!

Full of Living Water ready for the drinking in.

Bread of Life to feed upon.

Brothers and sisters that come alongside and nourish you even further in encouraging words.

And, of course, The One who intimately knows sorrow to carry the burden of it beside me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t still feel what I feel.

There’s a funny little truth about hurt.

It does not disappear in a snap.

Painful memories are long and thoughts often remain reactionary.

Trust is a shaky rope bridge at best.

Time to heal is key and, even then, some scars are prominent.

But, in that gift that is time, wounds can be eased, joys resurrected, trust finds firmer feet, and life continues on…

With all its seasons of delight and grief, smooth planes and blessed bumps alike.

Not absent of hurt by any means.

But, perhaps, richer for it.

Whatever season you find yourself in, dear friends, may you find the well full of the riches of life in the Lord! Blessings and prayers! ❀

Watch “Sonicflood – Holiness (feat Wilshire)” on YouTube

Yes, back to share another song.

What, Marisa?

This quickly? You usually space them out…

Ok, yes, I know. But, I was honestly in a soul searching sort of mood this evening.

Everyone else is busy. So, I turned to some music from my early twenties.

And I recalled why this song meant so much to me then and why it is still so significant today.

For holiness, faithfulness, and brokenness are far too absent in us right now.

Seeking His will above our own is missing in action as well.

As a world.

As a nation.

As those who profess the holy name of Jesus.

We have forgotten how to take up this cry for much too long in our brash, shoot-our-mouths-off-as-we-please, push-and-shove-for-our-way society.

May we learn to take it up again, Lord!

Have a listen, dear friends, and feel inspired by the simple words and lovely melody to seek His face.

Blessings and prayers. ❀

Watch “MercyMe – Greater (Official Music Video)” on YouTube

Hello, there, dear friends!

I just realized I kind of unintentionally halted my song sharing here.

And me with so many more on my list that this sort of thing could go on for many years to come! 😏

Anyway, looking to knock another one off my list starting now…

The one I chose this time around is another favorite of our little youth group. We have recently been able to get back to gathering in person (Yay!). This was definitely high on the request list.

Oh, my, what an extra sweet joy it was to listen to those kiddos raise their instruments and their voices in praise this past week! It was like a warm blanket wrapping around us all, securing us to Him in an insecure time.

I think we all need that right now, that reminder there is One who is greater.

To remember He is there to equip us broken with more than we can dream…

Anyway, hope you enjoy.

Blessings and prayers! ❀

The Monsters Are Still Due on Maple Street

Hello, dear friends!

Still gathering my thoughts lately and leaning on His presence all the while.

Hope you are feeling Him near to you as well.

It occurred to me this morning that this piece from a few months ago remains very apt for where we are right now. As such, while I am still in the gathering thoughts phase, I figured it was worth a reshare.

Thanks for reading. May it remind us of He who holds the truth and the salvation we all need. Blessings and prayers! ❀

https://alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/the-monsters-are-still-due-on-maple-street/

Christmas My Favorite Things Tag

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a tag. What a great idea this one is! Such a joy to concentrate on a few of the things that mean so much to me this time of year!

Many thanks to dear Bethany at Flowers on the Dashboard!

The rules are as follows:

Share the original post, which I see comes from another dear blogging friend, Matt at Jesus Luvs All:

Christmas My Favorite Things Tag

Then:

Use any Christmas theme picture:

Perhaps one of the best moments of any Christmas moment. The reminder from the wise little Linus of what Christmas is all about.

Share your favorite things for each category.

Tag whoever you wish.

So…ok. First up:

Food:Ah, food, glorious food! I have so many loves in this area! Being a baker, cookies, brownies, and breads of all sorts are high on my list. Fudge is also a major love of mine. Add cashews and I am even happier! 😊

Decorations:

Ours are not elaborate, by any means. But, there is great sentimental value. I’d call them a happy mishmash of things collected and made from childhood on.

This is one of my favorite areas. Our beloved Nutcracker collection.:

My oldest boy fell in love with the Nutcracker ballet when he went to a production for a Kindergarten field trip and we started collecting.

It has long been his job to arrange them, but, being in college this year, he passed the mantle to my youngest. This is what he came up with. He added several friends, as you can see. 😊

Song:

Ah, another beloved area! So many…”O, Holy Night” comes to mind, as well as “O, Come, O Come Emmanuel”. And when they start up “Hark, the Herald, Angels Sing” at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I never fail to shed happy tears. πŸ™‚

When to open presents:

Oof. Believe it or not, a mildly sore point. Let me explain.

When I was growing up, I seem to recall the whole idea of surprises faded away rather quickly in favor of taking my brother and me to the store to pick out our own things early on in the season. My mom maintained she never knew what to get us and saw no sense in us waiting.

I guess it had its merits-very few icky sweaters to unwrap and try to give a convincing smile for. Lots of things I knew I’d use and got to enjoy right away.

Yet, there was also that deflating feeling on Christmas day of waking up to nothing to open and no thrill of someone else knowing just what I wanted, or at least making the attempt to know. A killjoy in many ways indeed.

So…ahem.Enough of that. This is supposed to be a lighthearted post.

Suffice to say, surprises for my kids are really important to me. And I admit, I still look forward to one or two myself. πŸ™‚We stick to traditional buying for one another in secret, wrapping them up, and opening one on Christmas Eve, the rest on Christmas Day. Such a joyous thing!

People to visit:

Well, of course, this year, much has changed. But, then, I have weathered a few changes in my day. There was my single mother days of playing Santa to my little sprouts on my own. We usually hung out quietly with my mom and dad. They were still in Kansas then, in an apartment about 40 steps from ours, in fact. Beautiful, peaceful years of forging new joys beyond the times of hurt.

Then, there was the year of inviting a new member to our little group when I remarried and discovering he came from a family of cousins upon cousins, aunts and uncles galore. Over eight years later, I still don’t know the half of them. Now, we typically do Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas with (at least a chunk of) my husband’s large family. It was quite a jolt those first few years and still a somewhat daunting task for a very shy, retiring sort like me.

But, this year, it’s back to a more intimate gathering of just our little family. A bit of a melancholy due to the reasons this day and age presents us and a pang at missing members. And, yet, there is that joy of sharing together as a family that remains and the loveliness of peace in the quieter atmosphere. It reminds me of the stillness I imagine there must have been that night the world awaited the birth of a Savior. πŸ™‚ Which leads me perfectly into…

Celebrating Jesus:

Ah,the pinnacle of this whole season! This whole life! Without His momentous arrival, there would be no joy, no light, no peace.

We have a Christmas Eve service every year with the younger Sunday School groups presenting a play to share the great joy of His birth and the miracle of salvation through His death and resurrection. I rejoice that through a lot of innovation mixed with the necessary caution, the way has been paved for a version of this tradition to go on. It is one of my supreme joys in this season to watch our young share the Good News.

We also sit down and read the Christmas story from Luke as a family before tucking in for the night. I love the reminder of what all this celebrating is about. May we ever remember. 😊

And to all this, I can think of one category I simply must add, as this is an area I look forward to each year:

Movies:

Well, obviously, I have a fondness for Charlie Brown Christmas, but the movie that ties is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

No movie so captures the struggle we can have in this life with feeling a failure or the shock and the joy of knowing the unexpected impact we can have. It reminds me yearly of the intense value He sees in us, in spite of us. 😊

Ok…so…nominations:

Linda Lee at A Blog About Healing From PTSD

Alan at Fuel for the Race

Mandy at Blue Collar Theologian

And, really, anyone that reads and feels so inspired!

Thanks for reading my sizable spiel here and Merry, Blessed Christmas, my friends!

Updates

Hey, friends. A quick update. Our little community has finally felt the effects of this virus and we are back in remote land at least through the beginning of next year-all except our IEPers, including my sweet daughter. She will be able to continue on site with her para so she can get that personal attention that helps her succeed. Very grateful-as is she!

My college boy for his part has continued to do so well, constantly defying the stereotypes around his autism. He also has been able to continue in person, a rather important consequence of the hands-on learning in his engineering studies (can’t transfer use of 3-D printers to online schooling, for example.😏).

This leaves two at-home kiddos for me. One 16-going-on-42-year old boy who will likely regale me on his breaks with the latest oldie he’s learned on the bass guitar and one infinitely creative 8-year-old boy who could spend all day building and drawing me cool stuff, but will likely need a lot of mama coaxing on the paperwork side of things. So…there’s that. Again. Sigh.

In addition to that, we have been consumed with a lot of tough family business.

This prevailing illness finally hit not just our community but also brought my husband’s grandmother’s time on earth to a close.

She was 93, with a scrappy reputation for so long, but, in the last year or so, had been descending into a dementia we’d anticipated would take her soon as it was.

Where I would never dream to call such a thing as dementia a positive, it amazingly proved the way God could reach her heart.

How, if her mind was going? some might rightfully ask.

Well, you see, she spent most of her life not merely scrappy, but also bitterly anti-faith. A church had burned her once long ago and that had effectively shut down any thoughts of God.

Yet, as her mind had begun to slip, something in her countenance changed.

She became receptive to the family’s “Jesus Talk” as she once disdainfully called it.

She talked of the joys of being a child and remembered better Sunday School days learning of scriptures and salvation.

She became that child again in lots of ways and, in so doing, the door opened so she could receive Jesus as such, the resistance she harbored all those years melting away in recognition of His infinite goodness to her. I truly believe she was resting in that truth as she went.

We are no less sad to have lost her to this world, yet…

Now, we know we have not lost her for good. We will see her on the other side. The comfort of this lifts the sorrow and reminds us of the joy to come.

And that we should never stop praying for our loved ones to come to salvation!

His ways are so far above ours it defies description!

I guess that about sums it up at this point as far updates go.

I tend to come and go as able these days, anyway, but fair warning-I will be fairly silent on here for an extended time as I place my energies into guiding my youngest.

As well as helping my husband with the business, which has hit some huge time crunches in the last few weeks. That could certainly use some prayer…not only that we can see the work to completion, but also that a) my body stays cooperative to the task and b) I can be of some level of use to him.

It is safe to say being married to a handyman has expanded my vocabulary enough that I know what a flange and flashing are, but it really hasn’t changed my aptitude. 😏

Still…I can always hand tools as long as I know which doohickey he is after. 😁

Well…hope this finds you all well in your respective worlds, my friends. Keep the faith! Much love and many prayers! ❀