My script of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.
A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.
~Frank W. Boreham
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Yet, there are always faithful reminders to encourage, to lift the eyes and the spirit.
"God's with-us-ness means that He has taken our nature upon Him to accompany us as friend and shepherd during the pilgrimage...." so Paul Zahl has written. Once again, footprints.
There is this too, lines from Dora Greenwell's wonderful hymn:
And art Thou come with us to dwell,
Our Prince, our Guide, our Love, our Lord?
And is Thy name Emmanuel,
God present with His world restored?
...The world is glad for Thee! ...And all is well,
And fixed and sure, because Thou art,
Whose name is called Emmanuel!
May our Lord Emmanuel, fill your minds and hearts, Dear Reader, with the assurance of His presence season.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
How did he know I needed this?
O yes, He knew!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
To slay their foes, and lift them high;
Thou cam'st a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
O Son of man, to right my lot
Naught but thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road the wheels are not,
Nor on the sea thy sail!
My fancied ways why shouldst thou heed?
Thou cam'st down thine own secret stair;
Com'st down to answer all my need,
Yea, every bygone prayer!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
This became a dramatic turning point in what became my pilgrimage. By nature, I am a nester. Roots are put down deeply and quickly. I love the land. All that is wrapped up in the country life is my ideal. At this time in our lives we were happily Mennonite, my parents lived on the other side of our barn, my sister down the road. The children's school was the best of all possible situations. All this to be traded for an uncertain life and ministry with rich city teenager? We went (in my heart- as a Mennonite missionary to the Baptists:) . Long story short: my heel marks can still be seen the distance up Oregon's old Highway 99.
Oh yes. It should also be mentioned that the private life is another aspect of my ideal. The public arena is for the brave, the outgoing sanguine sort of folk, not for those who hear the whispered appeal of the cloister life.
And so it came to pass that life as we knew it was turned on its head. Fortunately, a fixed pattern of devotional life had been established in my early mothering years. This became the most important ballast in my ever-rocking boat through all future storms and seas.
As we went to this new ministry, a passage of scripture was claimed never imagining that my Lord would use that selection, time and again through the years to humble, strip, and shape me bringing me to the place that with David and through tears I could to say "Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with his mother...." I did not yet understand John Donne's prayer to "batter my heart three-personed God." But the learning began.
Now, at the other end of those 40 years, and 8 ministries later, we come to the end of that road. This ending coming about as abruptly as the first. At months' end comes the final leaving a beloved Body of believers by resignation.
We leave this present place after 10 years. This is the longest ever spent in one location in 55 years of marriage. It has been a good and peaceful ministry and blessed in so many ways.
So there is the perfect ending. Now a new beginning.
This new trail will be oh so different, difficult as well, I have no doubt. The Man, the centerpiece of my life and life experiences has terminal cancer. We have agreed that there will be no extreme measures sought. It seems inconsistent to pour caustic chemicals into an already compromised body, and that body, incidentally being the temple of Almighty God's indwelling Spirit. Then too, what does that say to the watching world - a reluctance to see our Savior face to face?
Perhaps these are simplistic thoughts. But we also have before us the perfect example of how the righteous are to face death through the valiant example set by our precious son-in-law three years ago.
Now we shall see what we are truly made of..it is definitely 'show time'. All that we have taught, all that we think we have learned, all we have said we know is now laid bare and on the line. We truly set off into the Unknown. But we are not alone. Our children and grands journey with us as well as friend gathered through the years. Yet that's not all.
We do have our nails pounded in a Sure Place - the certainty of a Sovereign God, the experiential knowledge of His Faithfulness, the promise of His Presence. We have trusted Him in the past, we can trust Him with our future - He already being There.
Ebenezer...Emmanuel...we are Mercy covered and Grace sustained by His following Love.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
It was 40 years ago, minus one, that Himself came home and announced that he resigned his teaching post. The very next day he came home announcing that he had been offered a position as a youth pastor.
Yesterday morning Himself again came home and told me that this was the day the men of his board felt that his resignation from the pastorate should be given to the congregation.
So you see, Dear Reader, there has been yet another dramatic change in our lives. It is not one of falling into a dark abyss - that was the first time. This is more a re-routing of the journey.
Much is and will be changed. My posts will reflect this. Looking back does not reveal a life of chance but rather Providence - the Sovereign God's Hidden Hand - moving us through each day of that part of the journey. Bear with me as in this journey ahead I share frayed rags and pieces of thought that make or will make whole cloth.
For this new phase, I'm sustained by the fact of the nearly-here Advent season and the reminder of Immanuel - God with us. Isn't that grand? The God that has led in the past is still with us guiding the future days. Ebenezer!
For today I am leaning hard while embracing all the pain and puzzlement of the Eternal Now and the uncertainty of future days.
Today's Psalter reading begins "Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name...sing to Him...talk of all His marvelous deeds...."
That's a good thing...always is, was and shall be.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Regardless of His reasons, I'm so very thankful that in His mercy He has done it.
Recently I came across the thought in an old record concerning our Lord's bequeathment to his disciples and so to us as well. Christ's last will and testament, His bequeathment to His beloveds was His peace! The peace that kept Jesus as He faced Gethsemane, the cross and His earthly end, is the peace that will keep us. It's a promise! It is a peace that gives rest amid the constant changes of life and certainly through all the uncertainties of our earthly pilgrimage.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
and sometimes beyond the delight great spiritual truths are seen.
Our Little Lad is most often very much a man of action. From his greeting as he enters the door, there is a path of activity that resumes from his last visit. But he is also given to quiet in both his play and his person.
A favorite point of action, and one for which he is always reprimanded, is that of scaling the sofas and walking their ridge. This is easy and made fun by the fact that they do not sit against walls.
This last week he was lying, his small person spread the length of the love seat. He was still, contemplative, looking out the window. Momma spoke, reminding him that was forbidden territory. Laddie turned and quietly said: "I'm waiting for *Truck". Equally quietly, momma left the room and made a phone call to the one awaited.
The thing is, the Lad had no way of knowing if Truck would come or not. He only knew that often he does come. Laddie was waiting in quiet anticipation. [In response to the phone call, Truck did shortly arrive.]
Pondering this scene reminded me of all those scriptural admonishments to wait..to wait on the Lord...to wait for His salvation...to wait for the Holy Spirit...to wait for His appearing. Most often the waiting meant is that of quiet, hopeful anticipation.
As adults we must fill all our moments with busy and alas, busy drives away quiet and anticipation. Busy sidetracks, busy clutters.
Lord, may we re-learn quiet. May we be willing to settle down, looking out the window as it were, in anticipation of your presence in our lives that we may not miss the blessing of the arrival!
*Truck was the title given to the Patriarch of the clan. This is the second generation to call him so.
The lovely photo was taken from the BBC some time ago. How I wish I remembered the name of the photographer in order to give proper credit. But I do thank him or her anyway.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
I marvelled how it might last ; for methought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding,
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
One of the lovely aspects of old age is to look back down the years and see how our faithful and Sovereign God has answered prayers, and those specifically. There have been direct answers to direct requests. There have been those requests that Grace has denied.
Then there are those surprises, where in one case, my request was switched from this daughter to another. (But yet, the story is not yet over, is it?:) Of course the most amazing thing which should never surprise but always does, the way in which prayers have been answered above and beyond what we could have imagined by our limited and faulty minds and vision.
Today there is an anniversary. It is not yet quite one of those that is stated as a significantly marked and celebrated one. Yet again, in this day and age or any age for that matter, solid, stable, loving marriages are of great significance and each year given is a year to celebrate in every way.
I am so grateful for the young woman that the Lord by His own surprise methods, brought into the life of the son of my heart. Did she measure up to my carded requirements so long ago? Oh my. Beyond the beyond. Forgive, Dear Reader, a silliness but like Mary Poppins, she is "practically perfect in every way."
These two of my Beloveds have not had an easy journey. They have weathered unbelievably harsh storms. Their challenges and testings have been such as to bring tears to the eyes from the heart whenever spoken out loud. They have lived through 'crucible' years. But as Job knew, from the Refiners Fire comes pure gold, and a love of the finest, truest, shinning sort.
So This Day I find my heart rejoicing with thanksgiving, first to my God who hears a mother's prayers in the form of an amazing daughter-in-law, and to Them for their example of lasting love before the watching world.
Happy Anniversary, Jeff and Suz-our-zanne.
With much love and continued prayer for your years yet ahead.
May they be blessed beyond all imagining.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
With heartfelt thanks to Isaac Watts:
While I am in no way a political creature, I am drawn to accounts of those lives lived with integrity and Christian authenticity.
"If Christians in political life cannot be witnesses in [the] most basic manifestations of the living Word on a day-to-day basis, then the whole concept of public service is a mockery...it is a deep desire of my heart to be a reflection in the flesh of the living Christ...."
Hatfield compared his Pro-Life stand to Wilberforce's stand on slavery.
"I am persuaded that the parallel issue in the twentieth century to slavery in the nineteenth is this very cluster of issues that flows from our present day manifestation of the 'grand malady':selfishness...How is it that we dare commit the sin of the ultimate idolatry of seeking to rob the Creator of His creation...Only focus on self to the exclusion of all others could possibly bring us to this disobedience."
History judges openly the lives of those lived in the open. History is not the final, nor always the correct judge in such matters. But all must stand and give an account of the life lived before The Great Judge of Heaven.
There is no doubt in my mind that in the case of both these men He will say "well done, good and faithful servant."
[quotations by Sen. Hatfield from his forward to Real Christianity by William Wilberforce, pub. Multnomah Press, 1982]
Monday, August 8, 2011
The two phrases one from Deuteronomy and one from Nehemiah's journal were 'as thy day, so shall thy strength be" and "the joy of the Lord is thy strength."
The word 'strength' has continued to haunt me. It brought me through that wilderness and yet I wanted more. So this morning I dug a bit deeper.
I remembered that the first was part of the blessing given to the tribe of Asher, [Deut. 33.25] and it is a most amazing promise. But Nehemiah has always been a hero so to his account I went. The cupbearer to the King turned engineer/architect was a man who knew about the stress of duty, of Life. And as he wrote his daily story before his God, he spoke often of strength and experienced God's hand in his life enough to become an authority on the subject to my mind anyway. He clearly knew his source, the God of all Strength and with that came the certainty of his faith enabling him to encourage others. [Neh. 1.10]
The Hebrew word here carries with it the idea of binding, the bonding together that makes all firmer and stronger still. "Then I told them the hand of my God which was good upon me..and they said: 'Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for the good work.' [2.18]
Nehemiah, as we too, found difficulties in the way that can deplete strength. It is 'rubbish' as the AV calls it. What constitutes rubbish? Anything that interferes with getting the task done, and I was thinking boulders, . Looking it up in the Hebrew it states it is only "dust, ashes and etc." Seems easy enough to sweep aside, to get through. And yet, isn't is just that, the small things that break our focus and cause us to break stride? To lose heart?
Then Nehemiah encountered the ubiquitous 'they', the naysayers that come along and plot and undermine. At such times I try to remember the line from Amy Charmichael "they say? let them say!"
Good counsel but sometimes hard to employ. Then the workers prayed "Now therefore, O God, strengthen our hands." Again a calling out to God to bind with them and so strengthen them enabling them to finish the job at hand.
It is when the task was completed that the promise "the joy of the Lord is your strength" was given. What came for Nehemiah's wall builders was weeping at the reading of the Law. So came the admonition: "Go your way...for this day is holy to our Lord; and be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold." [8.10 amp.] So often at the end of a task there is the conviction, false or true, that all was not done as well as it might have been. There is often a sudden attack of the What-ifs and If-onlys. When what should take place is merely going on the way in joy.
The last words of this very personal journal written before a very personal Almighty God is as follows, again from the Amplified translation: "O my God, earnestly remember me for good and imprint me on your Heart!"
When all is said and done,when I come out of any wilderness, or to the end of any difficult task I can plead Mercy for the efforts done, feeling confident that I truly am imprinted on my Father's heart who weighs my efforts and lifting them out of the dust and ashes.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
My blogs title and the accompanying poem by Sir W. Raleigh were selected because of the imagery of pilgrimage to be sure. But it was also a favorite of my mom's as well as mine. My initial introduction to it was through the writings of Frank W. Boreham who has been a companion through many years of my journey.
What I failed to do when I began blogging - and here comes the good part - was to give details about the individual aspects of the pilgrim as Sir R. mentioned.
Recently, a charming young woman - English but blessed to live in France - stopped by my site and then on her own blog beautifully wrote what I had failed to. So Dear Reader, I encourage you to visit her. You won't be disappointed. Her blog is charming. She is, as you will discover, a very gifted and delightful lady. http://trocbroc.blogspot.com She will enable you to fully appreciate what we pilgrims carry on our journey. [you will need to scroll down to her July 30 post entitled "Pilgrimage II".
(She even reads Brother Cadfael, another personal favorite:)
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Then the Comforter brought to his mind words about his Lord's sojourn in the wilderness...and he saw that no child of the Father was asked to walk where the footsteps of his Lord were not clear on the road.
He saw also that there always was a coming out of the wilderness....
No dwelling place was ever built in any wilderness for any child of God."
These words left as waymarkers by Amy Charmichael so long ago, have been quietly, repeatedly ringing in my ears these last weeks. A "coming out of the wilderness" - what bliss.
We are now on the sunny side of the recent wilderness for which we thank our God.
Of the many things learned in these weeks, most clear is that all wilderness experiences are to test our mettle [an allusion to the temper of the metal of a sword blade..quality of honor, fortitude, ardor..see courage:) Eng. dict.- smile face, mine]
Well, our mettle/metal has been tested, and while often we have been found wanting, the Faithfulness of our God?, never. Then too, the continual prayers of the saints on our behalf have graced our days in ways beyond telling. We are humbled. We are most grateful.
Just as we continue on the other side of our wilderness, others of our family are facing wilderness times ahead. Fortunately for all, the promises of God are not depleted by the usage.
He will continue to show Himself mighty on behalf of His children who call on Him, who trust in and rest on Him.
Praise His name.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The feet are leaden. The days and nights as well. The spirit doesn't soar too high.
Blessings are noted. Truly.
These, the prayers of others,
the thoughtful and loving ministrations of daughters,of grand daughters.
The garden's beauty just now also fills the dark hollow places of the soul.
Looking, thinking about this lead, this word, made me realize it is just like another English word with a different pronunciation and very different meaning. And in that word there is hope.
Another penned the words long ago but they are also scribbed on my heart.
All the way my Savior lead(s) me,
What have I to ask besides?
Can I doubt His tender mercies
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell,
For I know whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
I am comforted.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Just the word 'oncologist' strikes terror. I hate to admit it, but there it is. How humbled once again by the Mercy that breaks in blessing. How could we have even imagined, that once again our great God would place in our pathway one of His choice servants 'for such a time as this'?