Easter quotes

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A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

~Mahatma Ghandi

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.
~Dwight Moody

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living and a home in Heaven.

~Rick Warren

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

~St. Augustine

The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
~Basil Hume

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

~Pope John Paul II

Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.
~Ravi Zacharias

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Mercy

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A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.   ~Pope Francis

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.    ~Abraham Lincoln

God’s mercy and grace give me hope – for myself, and for our world.   ~Billy Graham

#rethinkchurch  #Lent2015

Winter of discontent

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It happened about 3:00 every day that winter…well, after we brought the baby home. Just as the winter light shifted directions from midday to midafternoon, the panic set in. When the sun crested the top of the sky, my mood peaked as well, and as the day faded, my hope did as well. It was the winter of my discontent…the winter of my postpartum depression.

It’s been five years ago…right now my darling daughter is asleep on the couch, worn out from playing in the snow today. But as the sun made it’s same transition today, I was taken back to that dark, hopeless time of my life.

She was a tough little baby, sensitive stomach, acid reflux, RSV and hospitalized at 7 weeks. And there was her two and a half year old brother who needed attention and affirmation as well. And there was the snow…so much snow for our mid-Atlantic region. 14″ the night she was born, five more snowstorms before spring arrived. It was a long, lonely, frightening time.

I couldn’t sleep when she slept because my nerves were so jacked up. I couldn’t eat to produce milk for her because I had no appetite. I knew I was supposed to hold her, love her, caress her, but it was all so superficial. I didn’t feel anything but the anxiety. My skin tingled, my hands shook, my weak arms trembled. Everything was too much.

I loved my son. I loved my husband. We had finally found our groove of life. My teaching job was challenging, but it was fulfilling. And then it all came to a screeching halt when the baby came. No more routine. No more plans. No more life-as-usual. Everything was new and hard and painful and stressed. I worried that she didn’t eat enough because I couldn’t produce enough milk for her. When she did eat well, she gave it all back to me like a volcano. Unlike my son’s infancy, this one was ‘hands on’…she wanted to be held, while I stood up, not rocked or swung. There was no break. I just wanted a break. I wanted normalcy to return. I wanted the sun to shine, my son to run free outside, my daughter to be happy, and me to stop shaking.

I had a friend who had been through PPD, whose assistance I sought after my son was born. She called her doctor and got me an appointment ASAP. I got on meds, I talked it out. I talked to the nurses in the hospital when D was admitted with RSV. They brought comfort, especially one respiratory therapist who admitted that, even with her three children, she ‘never liked the baby stage’. Wow! Talk about a light turning on! The open admission that a MOM didn’t like the baby stage. I just listened while she explained how she felt, and my heart began to melt. Spring began to arrive to my cold spirit.

It’s real…postpartum depression is so real. It’s a horrible cloud that blocks the joy of the infant months. But there is help. Praise God, there is help. I prayed, I read the Bible, I had prayer warriors praying for me…but it was the meds and the therapy and the talking to people who had been there that really helped. I wouldn’t have hurt myself or the kids, but I don’t know how long I would have dragged myself through that gloom if I hadn’t had intervention.

If you or someone you love is having baby blues, talk to them. Ask if they want help from experts. I regret the loss of joy during those months with both of my children. But I will never regret the steps that I took to repossess my own life so I could enjoy what came next.

I still notice that time of day when the winter sun shifts its direction through my kitchen windows. It brings a pang of sadness to me when I recall the shivering, panicky mess I was. But, I heat some water, make some tea, and thank God for the rays of sunlight he brought to my path during that time, and I vow to make the most of each day I have now.

“Don’t change me!!!!”

The spring breezes were too tempting for us to stay inside. The daffodils and crocuses were waving for us to come out and join them in their frolic. So, we had to gear up…a shirt for my Tarzan son, shoes for both kids, and …sniff, sniff… apparently a clean diaper for the wee one.
Oh, she fought it tooth and nail as we climbed the steps. “Wanna go outSIDE! Wanna go outSIDE!!!!! I want to go outSIIIIIIDE!!!!” she explained in no uncertain terms, just in case I had forgotten what was on the agenda for the rest of the afternoon.

I sat her on the changing table and picked up the necessities. I looked at her pink pouty face, sweaty bangs, and wet eyes and gave her my own pouty face. “Come on, honey…” I coaxed with mock pity. She looked squarely in my face and said, “Don’t change me.” No longer a plea, no longer a redirect, but a command. No wavering ‘mommmyyyy’ attached, nothing sweet anymore. Just a clear statement.

“Don’t change me.”

Hmmm…how often have I begged that of my Father? Don’t change me, God…change him. Don’t change me, change the situation. I want to do what I want to do, God. Please don’t change me. Sometimes pleadingly I say it. Sometimes defiantly.

Realization: God knows when I’m covered with filth. God can sense my stench and my need for a change. Better than I can. God knows that whatever lies on the other side of the change will be more enjoyable after the change.

We did go outside. We frolicked with the flowers and ran with the breezes…and we had both been changed.

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A little time in the sun

This has been an endless winter. Even though the calendar says it’s spring, meteorologically it’s still winter. We just got 8″ of snow today…and it’s nearly April.

BUT, a week or so ago, we did see the sun. Temps were mild, in the 60s. A few whispery breezes. A weekend of verdant promise. So, we got outside to soak it up like the dry and desperate sponges that we were. Running, kicking a ball, playing tag, hiding and seeking, swinging, inviting friends over…we tried to do it all because we knew that winter was rolling up his next snowball to throw at us.

While the kids were playing, I began to rake some long-forgotten autumn leaves away from a few green daffodil shoots. I love daffodils…so tall and perky…so proud of their victorious bloomin’ accomplishment. I figured they could use some spring cheer, so I stepped in and pulled some vines away and raked a few small piles of leaves away to provide them as much sunlight as possible.

As I raked, I discovered that those few green stalks had some buddies nearby, hidden under the brown mass of leaves. Only these stalks weren’t stately and fresh; quite by contrast, they were stubby and transparently yellow. Image

I was excited to find these little spring rookies and hoped that I wasn’t too late to cheer them. I dug into the leaves, crunchy on top, moist and moldy underneath and scraped them away. The more I scraped, the more shoots I found. Then, I was on a mission…like a dog who had found a long-lost bone. I pulled and raked and scraped and dug until I uncovered about twenty precious signs of life. Weak and disappointed they looked, all that effort of pushing up through winter’s hard soil only to find little comfort, just more gloom. I held out hope that a little time in the sun would help them cheer up.

The next day, I made sure to check on them. Almost exactly twenty-four hours later, they looked like their pioneering posy pals. The sickly yellow of their stems had darkened to a healthy lush green. Though not yet any taller, they stood straighter and more hopeful in the warm rays that shone on them. I showed the kids that the sad little weaklings we had uncovered just the day before now stood a chance at being just as beautiful as their friends…and no one would even know what they’d been through to get there.Image

It’s amazing what a little time in the sun can do.

John 8:12~When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Go ahead…read John 8:1-12

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%208&version=NIV

 

New life within

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When my daughter was two and a half years old, she fell three times within a week…on cement…on her face… The results were an incredibly frustrated toddler and a bruised front tooth. The nerves in one front tooth were deadened from the repeated trauma and gave it a gray look. It was a sad change to her vivid smiley face, but better a gray tooth than permanent brain damage. We have just called it her ‘bruised tooth’.

We went to the dentist this week for a checkup, and the dentist wanted to x-ray my daughter’s upper gum to make sure the pending permanent tooth is healthy and undamaged. When we looked at the x-ray, we saw a beautiful straight white tooth waiting in queue.

I showed the future smile to my growing girl and she was shocked. ‘You mean my new tooth won’t be bruised?!’ Though she is too young to be self-conscious, she has only ever known a bruised tooth in her broad smile.

‘Nope! Your big girl tooth will be new and healthy. No bruises,’ I assured her with a renewed grin of my own. I needed her innocent words of regenerative beauty this morning.

This week brought some challenging news to me that has been really hard to accept. This news has created a bit of a gray cloud that has hung over my head and darkened my view of my present world. I’ve tried to put a bright smile on my face, but it’s been very hard. Very hard.

The precious excitement of my little one this morning when she realized that new life was growing inside her was the first ray of sunshine I’ve experienced this week. I realized that something new is growing in me too, and I just can’t see it. A new way of thinking. A new plan to take the place of the old one. I just don’t know what it is yet.

I’m going to imagine that the old plan I had is that gray tooth. It’s been hanging around and I’ve accepted that it was just part of my life’s plan. And it has been…until now. After this week, I know that there must be a new plan growing. A bright, white, shiny new plan that will make me smile with wonder and excitement.

Isaiah 43:18-20 (The Living Bible)

18 But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! 19 For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home, and create rivers for them in the desert! 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and ostriches too, for giving them water in the wilderness, yes, springs in the desert, so that my people, my chosen ones, can be refreshed.

Ephesians 6:10-11 (The Living Bible)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan.