Easter Then and Now

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

Indeed He did redeem the nation of Israel as well as those of us adopted as sons, daughters into the nation of Israel.  When we stress about the sufferings of our days we can remember that the Lord is with us, redeems us, and will come again in glory for us all because of what happened one Easter morning long ago . . . .

These words encourage me during the most wretched of nights, which come every night.  These words encourage me as I witness the life that has drained out of my brother’s body since his stroke this past weekend.  These words encourage me as I ponder all of the loss and heartache during my half-century on this earth.  These words encourage me as I see His grace and mercy in the loving eyes, the comforting touch of my intended beloved who loves me so.  These Words are the Living God made real in my heart;  transcending this life and drawing me to my life everlasting with my Savior.  Because of Him I can see the blessings around me which hint at the life, the hope beyond.

No matter where you are or what life is handing you, Gentle Reader, be assured that His love extends to you too.  Easter Sunday is a celebration of the Lord’s perfect love.  He came from the utopia that is heaven to live as a pauper, suffer a tortuous death, and returned in glory when no one was expecting it.  We would not and can not do what He did for us.  And as we believe in the living sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are redeemed.  Sorrow is replaced with joy from deep within our hearts.  All things are made new.  While my “outer man” is wasting away, my spirit is renewed day by day and will continue forevermore.

I look forward to the part of this journey beyond this life.  In the meantime it is my honor to say to you:  Happy Easter Gentle Reader.  With love, Just Julie

Cave Dweller That I Am

Yesterday I found out that my cousin, Lisa, has a tendency to keep the blinds in her house closed when times get tough.  Yeah, that’s me too.  Until we reunited over my brother’s illness, I did not know that she too battles fibromyalgia and a host of “female,” medical issues.  She is at the beginning of her search for treatment options.  We talked quite a bit about these and other family matters while sitting in my brother’s private room on the Telemetry floor at the Detroit hospital.  And so it goes at weddings, funerals and the markers of life in between:  catching up on relationships we are too busy to nourish when busy with the tasks of life . . .

Steve and I got home around midnight after our whirlwind trip to see Mike in the hospital yesterday.  (Steve had to work today and I’m allergic to hotel rooms anyways!)  I am both depleted and grateful for so much today.  Steve drove us the 6-hours round trip so we could see Lisa, Mike, and his fiancé (Lisa) while I endured seizure attack episodes in the car.  Our departure was a few hours late due to the same.  Divine timing superseded it all as we were able to see a physician familiar with Mike’s care during her evening rounds and before we had to leave.  As of today he has been cleared of any infectious disease cause to the right CVA; he continues nothing-by-mouth yet is getting his “Pepsi” substitute via IV glucose.  Pepsi is all he kept asking for . . . in addition to asking his fiancé to wish me a “happy birthday.”  Yes, I got to see my brother for the first time in years yesterday and on my birthday.  Strange but true.

Today I am back in cave-dweller mode.  The grief reaction of seeing him so debilitated is taking its toll so I am just lying low for now.  I tried out a new ceramic frying pan to make my Candida diet/mold-free/low oxalate blueberry pancakes and kept the beast of a skillet on the stove long enough to make lunch this afternoon too.  Perhaps I will shower before my husband comes home this evening and perhaps not.  The extra (stress?) seizure attacks and post-travel fatigue probably contributed to me missing the very chiropractic treatment I needed to relieve my sore back.  Oh well.  The Lord has given me the time and space I need to clear my head from the events of this week and that is good.  Catching up with other relatives today while sharing the news about my brother is good too.

My relationship to one cave dweller in particular is making a difference right now.  So poetic that all of this is happening in my life during the week that the world celebrates Easter.  Our Lord, Jesus Christ lain in state in a cave after dying a tortuous death on a cross for the sins of me and you.  We can point to Easter Sunday with hope that the suffering of our lives (the consequence of living in a fallen, sin-laden world) will be redeemed when He comes again in glory.  He who has victory over death both knows the cries of our hearts and holds them in the palm of His hand that reaches out to us in grace, in mercy, in love.  He is with me here now and goes before me no matter what the next moment may bring for me or Mike.  I am strong in this belief despite the weakness of my broken frame.  Nothing can take this away for those in Christ.   Nothing!

Cave Tomb of Jesus

So if you are feeling weak, vulnerable, fearful, doubtful, or sad this day:  take heart.  The Lord is on the throne of grace and weeps for our suffering.  He will come again in glory and make all things new someday.  In the meantime I hope that you will reach out to Him and let me know how it goes.  We all can be brought into the light of His amazing grace to dwell in His presence if we but believe.

Where does your heart dwell Gentle Reader?

Psalm 73

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.