Fixing the Broken

My dad was a pastor for over 50 years so we moved almost as often as military families. I still remember arriving at the new parsonage and surveying my new home. There was usually a crew to help us unload the truck and trailer that contained all our earthly possessions. The next thing that happen was Dad started fixing everything that was broken. It may have been a loose bracket that held the curtain rod up; a stopped up toilet, a leaky faucet; a door that would not lock and many, many other things.

My dad could not stand for anything to not be working. It was as annoying to him as a seed under one’s dentures. The older I get the more I see him in myself. For example, my non-working clock. It is actually a clock that hung on mom and dad’s wall for many years.

I found a place in my RV to hang it and it ticked away for awhile then quit. I changed the battery in it and gave the pendulum a swing but all to no avail. So last week I called a clock repair man to see if he would work on it to see why it would not run. No, he only works non-battery clocks.

Then I had a brilliant idea this afternoon as I was looking at the new clocks at the store. I have level wall in my bedroom where I could hang it and then put the clock I had there in the kitchen where I was needing one. I gingerly hung the clock up, made sure the pendulum had a free swing and wa-la-la!!!! It is ticking away as pleasant as possible.

My point in telling this story that finally the non-tick-tocking clock is fixed after months of laying around taking up space and I have a real sense of satisfaction that the broken is fixed.

I read recently that clutter can be a cause of depression. For me broken things laying around are a source of depression particularly if I don’t know how to fix it. The other satisfaction is that I did not have to spend money on another clock.

Anticipation of having an unfixable broken whatever is usually worse than the problem itself. I try to remember that when broken things  start swarming around me. My dad had a drive to get things fixed and wouldn’t stop till the house was in working order. I’m different. It takes me time to fix things one by one. But that is ok because it works for me.

So I’m going to make this a year of getting the broken fixed — one by one!

I’m a Mother — But I’m Other Things, Too

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Mom and I in Logansport, IN

Mother’s Day is one of the most precious holidays because it is wrapped up in so many emotions. A mother is all about love and nurture and patching up what gets broken.

I became a mother on July 20, 1990  on the birth of my daughter, Ruth Sharon Largaespada. It was a wonderful event and as my mom used to say the pain of childbirth is the easiest pain to forget.

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Ruth and I in Houston, TX

Everything changes what you become a mom. I learned a new meaning to the word “worry”. New responsibilities sudden present themselves. I was responsible for a helpless infant. She depended on my for everything.

Now in 2017, that one time helpless infant is now a grown woman and experiencing her first Mother’s Day. So now I’m a grandma. I gave my daughter a Mother’s Day gift on this important da

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Ruth & Killian in Round Rock, TX

y but Thursday before Mother’s Day , I took a flowering plant to her to put on her desk to celebrate her new office and new position at Capitol KIA.

There may be few other things that compare to being a mother but  all of us mothers are also women, daughters and some are wives. Women have an important role to fill at home, at work and in society in general. Daughters fill another awesome place in their mother’s heart. A wife has a huge and valued place to fill for her husband and in the home. All of these roles may compete with each other in real life from time to time.

But for me I want to celebrate this Mother’s Day for ALL the roles we as women are called on to fill. To all the women I know today including my sister, Marilyn Weese and my daughter, Ruth, my Aunt Miriam and all first and second cousins I have as well as a great host of women friends, congratulations on all the roles you have filled as women in life and how many people you have blessed through the years. May God reward you and multiply His favor to you.

“Steadfastness” by Ruth Emrick Finch

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My mom in the Dominican Republic.

It is the season of Mother’s Day so we are all remembering stories, events and happenings related to our moms. My mom was a preacher’s wife so when Dad was gone in meetings at other churches, mom filled the pulpit. While going through the notebooks that contained dad’s sermons, I also found a notebook of my mom’s Bible studies. So at this Mother’s Day time, I’m sharing one of them which she used when filling the pulpit in New Philadelphia on November 5, 1961.

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem……” Luke 9:51-62

Steadfast means to be steady, constant, set, fixed, lasting. Jesus knew what lay ahead when He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. There would be cruel mockery and an ignominious death. He knew the scourging and the opposition from friend and foe. God today is looking for steadfast souls — those with their faces set like a flint regardless of the opposition.

Men will purpose to do something in the natural and wade through all kinds of opposition. Yet when it comes to eternal issues they are unsteady and unreliable.

Are some people naturally more steadfast than others? Possibly. But it will take discipline for any and all of us. THose who have had it from childhood up find it much easier to yield to God and His demands. That is why it is so important for us, as parents, to administer discipline to our children and not only discipline but the right kind. Law alone will never do.

The spirit must yield and be conquered. Discipline plays a big place in our walk with God all of our lives. We cannot make it to Heaven without it. We will face it someday out in the world maybe.

Opposition — Why was Jesus opposed? Because of where he was going? What opposition did Jesus have? The Samaritians refused him entrance into their town. How is the world going to treat us? Don’t look for approval. “This world is no friend of grace to help us on to God.”

Jesus’ pathway was filled with opposition. So will ours be. We must go on in spite of the obstacles. Those who have overcome the greatest obstacles have obtained great grace and have been rich in their souls.

The world hated Jesus and He warned His disciples that it would hate them and as his followers today it will hate us. So who is going to be able to stand? Where is that steadfast soul? Lord, give us a few souls with their faces set steadfastly in one direction!

God’s Words says, “Marvel not my brethren, if the world hate you.” I John 3:13. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16

Notice James and John’s attitude. They were jealous for their Master who them had come to love and adore. But Jesus had to rebuke them. We cannot fight even for right in a wrong spirit.

“Come out from among them and be ye separate.” I Corinthians 6:17 Jesus drew a sharp line and made a clean issue. Men have tried to do away with that line of demarcation but it is as clear today as ever between evil and wrong vs love and compassion.

Our standard must come from God and His Word. Jesus says in plain terms what will be required of anyone who wants to follow Him. An emotional desire to follow Christ will not translate to steadfastness. A true desire and determination to follow Christ will carry us through the storms and battles of conflicts.

Who has heard Jesus’ call to steadfastly follow Him? A steadfast choice to follow Jesus will not question the outcome, count the cost or be overcautious. The faithfulness of Jesus will repeatedly call even after we shrink back in fear because He continues to woo us to Him.

God wants all of us to follow steadfastly just as the farmer who puts his hand to the plow and does not stop till the field is plowed and planted. Steadfastly following Jesus leads in the end to the Gates of Heaven.

 

Journaling Has a Purpose

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Lighthouse South of Port Orange Florida

When I was a little girl, I kept a diary. It was a cute little book that had a lock on it. It had a space of about 5 or 6 lines to write on about my day. I do not remember what I wrote because those precious little books are gone. With more than a dozen moves and 2 extended trips overseas, they got lost.

So because I do not have them anymore, does that mean writing each day served no purpose? No, I do not think so. The purpose of writing is immediate. It may be the way to get a load off my chest and thoughts out of my weary mind.

I found my mom’s journals recently and was debating the use of them for me now. I have multiple notebooks of my dad’s sermons. Yes, those are different than traditional journaling. But think about it. My dad would sit down in his office at his desk and write page after page after page of truths, thoughts and compelling points that he planned on using for a sermon one day. He had a particular purpose for his writings — to minister to others. My mom’s purpose in writing in her little notebooks was more as a way of keeping track of life.

So why do I journal? I write so I don’t forget. I write to get a better perspective on what’s happening in my world right then. I write to get my anger  down on the paper and out of my head and my heart. I write because some days what I do needs to make sense in the bigger picture.

So the next question is how are my mom’s journal relevant to me today or did she write for her life in those years? When my dad wrote from the fire burning in his spirit were those words for his audience in his day alone? If I knew the answer the these questions definitely, Dad’s sermons would not still be part of what fills my storage spaces and my mom’s journals would not still be laying out on the table.

The 3rd question is are my journals going to mean anything to someone in the future going through my things after I’ve passed on.

I remember my mom saying that she liked to write about the trips she and dad made because then she could look back the next time they traveled that way again, she would know the route they took, the places they stopped to eat and if it was good or not and how long it took them to make the trip. Her journals were for her benefit in her life but probably are irrelevant to my life now.

My dad’s sermons were relevant in his day and are still relevant now. I have attempted to preserve and share his message in various venues because his sermons are timeless being built on the Bible, the most timeless book there is.

My writings today are, more than likely, for me today. They will be tossed one day but that does not mean they are useless. For me, they are important and give perspective, hope and strength the day I journal and maybe even in some days after and that means my writing serves its purpose.

Why Write?

Old Tree-1For almost 20 years I did writing to make money. It provided money during the years of Ruth growing up and into the beginning of college. But first I had a love of writing that one has to be born with, in order to be a really good writer. Yes, you can take courses in high school and college to mature that talent, but you still have to have in internal disposition to put words on the page creatively and effectively.

But the uses of writing are more that doing it as a career. Therapists often use journaling as a means of healing from trauma, loss or grief. It is effective. I’ve written letters to individuals who have hurt me deeply then tore up the letter and threw the letters away. The effective part is getting the pain out from inside, putting it on paper and then tossing it.

When I start feeling overwhelmed with many things to do on different days and different times, I get a piece of paper out and start making lists. Now it is all on paper and my mind is not experience “atmospheric disturbances.”

I write in a MS Word document but sometimes I need to write the old-fashioned way, pen and paper. I experience more emotions when I physically write with pen and paper and sometimes that is the more effective way to benefit from your writing.

Write something today. It doesn’t have to be about the days activities, it may just be about some thoughts you have, something you want to do one day or maybe a pain that just will not leave. Write all about it and leave your pain on the paper at the tip of your pen.

The Victory of Easter

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This is a Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher in South Texas on one of the oil lease ranches I worked on.

When Jesus burst through the rocks that served as a sealed door to His earthly tomb, He claimed victory over sin and all sorts of evil that Satan would like to bind the entire human race.  He died on Calvary and shed blood that was to serve as redemption for every soul born for all generations to come.

But it did more than that. Yesterday while pondering the power of addictions and how common and deceptive they are, as well as the many forms in which they present themselves, I saw and understood there was victory over them, too. Commonly we think of alcohol and drugs being the two most common of addictions but then there are sexual addictions and even addictions to the all powerful dollar.

There is an addiction to a past of emotional dysfunction that may be just as hard to break as any other addiction. Most of us have dysfunction in some form or other connected to our childhood, our parents, a religious upbringing and many other situations which we cling to as a worn comfort blanket.

Christ died to bring victory in ALL aspects of our lives and to give victory no matter what the addiction. His purpose for us is to live in victory today, tomorrow and each day that follows. But I must reach out in faith and accept that victory just as I would receive a gift someone handed to me.

It is a choice to live in victory rather than the defeat of sorrow and a rear-facing perspective. I choose to live in victory.  I choose strength over weakness; joy over sadness and laughter over weeping for mistakes and sins of the past.

Victory is mine today and tomorrow.

Jesus, in His Passion Week

Jesus walked through Passion Week touching many people when they were alone, when they were in a group and to each of his twelve disciples. It seems like a crowded busy week but He walked it alone. Only He really knew what was at the end of that week. As he ministered each day, His heart was heavy because even though He was the Son of God, He walked through this week as a human man.

He joyfully drank the cup His Father gave Him because He knew the entire human race depended on it for their redemption. But He suffered each day knowing the weight of the cross he would carry with a crown of thorns pressed deep into his head on Friday on the way to a hill where 3 crosses would stand. He gave words of courage, instruction and promise while He felt the pain of the nails through his feet.

He taught them to render to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s and unto God the things which be of God as He perceived their craftiness all the while knowing the drops of blood that would mark His prayer place in Gethsemane. He had time and compassion to bless a poor widow who cast into the treasury her last two mites all the while hearing the soon to be jeering in the streets as the mobs yelled, “Crucify him, crucify him!

He gave warnings to those closest to Him to not be deceived as many would come in His name. As the Passion Week neared its end, He gave them comfort of His second coming in a cloud with power and great glory just hours before He wept in the Garden and asked His Father to removed the cup from Him but “not my will but thine be done,” He said in resignation.

When we walk that crowded path with a pain no one sees, understands or knows, remember, Jesus walked alone through Passion Week also. He suffered a deep pain because He was our Savior but in a human body.  As tears roll down your cheek as you lay a precious child in a casket, gone too soon, Christ walked that path of pain, sweat and tears as a human man alone.

Although alone, Jesus knew His Father and knew the plan of Redemption that he was sent to consummate. Not my will, but thine be done,” he sobbed with a quivering voice but a steadfast will and heart.

Whether my pain or your pain, remember Jesus’ walk alone through Passion Week. Remember His tears and His steadfastness. For that our Redemption was bought and paid for. Remember, not my will but thine be done.