burdens and birth and a prayer

Christian prayer is not something you do.
Prayer is permitting the Trinitarian God to love you as you learn in childlike trust to acknowledge,
relate, receive, and respond within your heart to the Holy Spirit’s presence,
love pursuing you and desiring to communicate with you.

Fr. John Horn
from Heart Speaks to Heart

“Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women.”
St. Gianna Molla


(Francis Schaeffer)

Burden, defined by Merriam Webster is: something oppressive or worrisome

But what about a different kind of burden?
The kind that creates a deeply-felt heaviness and furrows our brow?
One that pulls at our thoughts and leaves us with the feeling that there’s
something that needs doing but as to what that is…we are uncertain.

Uncertain until the burden and the revelation collide

It is called a burden of the Spirit…
And according to Watchman Nee:

There is a difference between the burden of the spirit and the weight of the spirit.
The weight of the spirit is from Satan, and its purpose is to cause believers to suffer;
Satan uses the weight to suppress them.
The burden of the spirit, however, is from God.
Its purpose is to make known His will and secure the believers’ cooperation.
The weight of the spirit has no other purpose except to suppress.
As such, it is useless and fruitless.
The burden of the spirit is a burden from God, and its goal is to cause men to work,
intercede, and preach for God.
Such a burden is purposeful, reasonable, and profitable.
Believers must differentiate between the burden in their spirit and the weight in their spirit.

Genuine spiritual work is an assault on Satan and a travail in birth for the believers.

There is indeed no joy to this!
This requires one to die to the self in the deepest way.
For this reason, no soulish believer can truly participate in spiritual work.
Having a happy feeling all day long is not a proof of a believer’s spirituality.
The right kind of believers advance with God without caring for their own feelings.
Many times when believers are burdened in their spirit to fight with the enemy,
they prefer to be alone and cut off all fellowship with the world,
so that they can concentrate in their warfare with the enemy.
At the end of this warfare, it is difficult to find any trace of a smile on their face.
Hence, all spiritual believers should welcome the burdens from the Lord.

(full excerpt here:
https://www.ministrysamples.org/excerpts/THE-BURDEN-OF-THE-SPIRIT-1.HTML)

Ever since I first put the post out there about a unified and collective prayer, I’ve
felt a burden.
Well, if the truth be told, I felt the burden long before putting the post out there.

We’ve had some good thoughts, suggestions, and ideas…
but I’ve still felt something gnawing and nagging at me.

I pondered, offered more posts while seeking more ideas…
I even solicited others not here in blogland as to their thoughts.

But I still felt conflicted.

So there it was again last night, more news about the third term abortions…
Abortions, where a full term baby is not aborted but accidentally delivered,
as in something went wrong with the abortion…
only to be followed by an ensuing debate over “to let live or let die…”

Allowed to die, well that, in my world, is considered murder, plain and simple.

And yet we are watching this “practice” being embraced by the Democratic party.
As this is not the same Democratic party I knew growing up.

And so the gnawing sense inside of me began rising upward, again.

Following the news, I read Oneta’s post concerning abortion…

THE MAN WHO LOOKS ON AND DOES NOTHING

More gnawing.

I sent her this comment:
this is a topic in tomorrow’s post…
the more I think and ponder and seek direction…
I just feel this is the issue of our prayer…a prayer for those whose voices are being silenced.
sigh…

Her response:
I think, Julie, that every Christian has their own “means/ways” of entering into prayer
that often includes acknowledging God’s goodness, repentance, forgiving others.
I think that is not so much what you are looking for as specific needs such as abortion,
addictions, materialism, election results, sexual sins, gender issues, etc.
I agree that now is a time when Christians should join their voices against the sin of abortion.
The country will just move more into extreme such as infanticide, euthanasia, etc
if it is not stopped by the cry of God’s people.
If we were together tonight I would like to pray for the Trump/North Korea issue.
Too late for that, but these kinds of issues could be called as you see them approach.
The Venezuela situation also needs our attention in prayer.
I kept on too long even raising more questions, didn’t I?
Just throw a topic out and we will pray until you feel another topic is called for.
Trust Jesus who is placing the concern in your hands.
Love your concern.

I now felt tears welling up in my eyes.

The words…”cry of God’s people” and “Trust Jesus who is placing the
concern in your hands”

In my mind, that ‘concern’ is a burden which is being placed in my spirit by The Spirit…of which
is what prompted my initial question about a prayer in the first place.

I went to bed feeling very weighted down about what we are now witnessing in
this nation of ours…not only a push to kill babies in the womb, that which we call abortion,
but to what we are now seeing as the plain outright murder of live births.

Then the next morning there was Citizen Tom’s post…
Another tale about this same issue…

ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL

More gnawing…growing into a cresendo…

And then finally our friend Vincent reblogged a post from the Logos folks—
it was a letter written by Francis Schaeffer in 1954 to a friend.

I’ve actually read Shaeffer’s books since high school.

In that letter, I found more clarification for my “burden of proof” in one particular paragraph

“Events since we have seen each other make me more sure than ever that the Lord
is calling some of us indeed to learn all that the blood of Christ and the indwelling
Holy Spirit should mean to us in this present life.
Increasingly, I believe that the Devil fears this above all else.
Doctrinal rightness and rightness of ecclesiastical position are important,
but only as a starting point to go on into a living relationship—and not as
ends in themselves.”

“that the Lord is calling some of us indeed to learn all that the blood of Christ
and indwelling Holy Spirit should mean to us in this present life.

I believe that the pain you have felt, and I have felt, is not the pain of death,
but the pain of birth in a day of blessing,
as the whole body is made more ready for the Bridegroom’s coming.
Surely the birth pains mean little if such a result is born through our dear Lord’s grace.

Not a pain found in death, but a pain found in birth…birth in that ‘of our dear Lord’s grace’

And yet it is an odd juxtaposition of thought in that where there is pain in childbirth
that pain pales when we consider the pain experienced by those babies whose lives are being ended
in very real and literally horrific ways…through abortion.

And so it was in Mr. Schaeffer’s letter that I fianlly decided God has spoken…

The answer to the burden…I am to pray over and for the lives of those who cannot speak
for themselves…
Praying for the lives of those who are being litterally taken before they
even have the opportunity to live.

And it is for the children of not only abortion that I will pray for
but it will be for the children born, following a botched abortion.

You may join me if you like.

Below is Mr. Shaeffer’s letter—- however, before you read his letter, I’d like
to offer one more reminder about a book I read a few years back that is
actually the tale of an abortion gone awry…and in turn, the life of that now grown woman…

You Carried Me
A daughter’s memoir

by Melissa Ohden

The book came my way from our friends at Plough Publishing House.
It is a very powerful read…
Here’s the post regarding the book

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/adoption/

And now for Mr. Shaeffer’s letter…

Francis Schaeffer: Will Today’s Pain Lead to Death or Birth?

Faithlife Staff | Wed, February 27, 2019

Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984) was an evangelical missionary, theologian, and writer,
best known for founding L’Abri with his wife, Edith.

After studying at Hampden-Sydney College, Westminster Theological Seminary
(where he studied under Cornelius Van Til), and Faith Theological Seminary,
Schaeffer pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Missouri.

In 1948, Schaeffer moved to Switzerland and founded L’Abri,
a community where people discuss philosophy and religion.
Thousands of people have passed through L’Abri,
and it has expanded into several other countries.

In the following excerpt from Letters of Francis Schaeffer—included in one of
several Schaeffer collections currently in Pre-Pub—we find Schaeffer reflecting on a
challenging season of his life and the earthly cost of entering into deeper
communion with God.

***

The Pain of Death or the Pain of Birth

[Written shortly after the Schaeffers arrived back in Champéry, Switzerland.
The person to whom the letter was written is not known,
though evidently he or she was close to the Schaeffers,
as is suggested by the last paragraph and the tone of the letter as a whole.]

October 11, 1954

Chalet Bijou

Champéry, Switzerland

Dear Friend:

Thank you for your note of September 20. It encouraged my heart.
How lovely is the Lord, and how wonderfully He is always waiting for us to come to Him
and know His peace and joy.

Yes, the time has been difficult, and yet the peace we have known through it makes
it exceedingly precious.
Since writing to you from the boat, our son, two years of age, has had polio.
He began it on the boat, but we did not know what it was.
His left leg is affected, but the doctor now gives us good hope that he may return to normal.

Events since we have seen each other make me more sure than ever that the Lord is calling
some of us indeed to learn all that the blood of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit
should mean to us in this present life.
Increasingly, I believe that the Devil fears this above all else.
Doctrinal rightness and rightness of ecclesiastical position are important,
but only as a starting point to go on into a living relationship—and not as
ends in themselves.

When you looked over my article in London for the Reformation Review I remember you said,
“They will not like this.” I replied that I knew,
but I did not realize how deep a wound I touched.
I find I am being pursued into my work here, and that a determined and successful effort
was made in Philadelphia to turn some of the Europeans away from these spiritual matters,
and to make them fasten their eyes on loyalty to the external machinery and human leadership.
I am sorry.
The personal may rest, but I grieve for the work of God.
Yet the Lord has given me many wonderful encouragements also;
and I do feel that He is calling many of His own into the place of deeper communion.

Would there ever be a time when you could come to Switzerland to meet with others of
like mind—to fellowship in the quietness of the Alps with a small number as we did
together that night in your home? We would like to entertain you in our home.
I believe that the pain you have felt, and I have felt, is not the pain of death,
but the pain of birth in a day of blessing,
as the whole body is made more ready for the Bridegroom’s coming.
Surely the birth pains mean little if such a result is born through our dear Lord’s grace.

With warm greetings in the slain and risen Lamb,

Francis A. Schaeffer

https://blog.logos.com/2019/02/francis-schaeffer-will-todays-pain-lead-to-death-or-birth/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LogosBibleSoftwareBlog+%28Logos+Bible+Software+Blog%29

Thank you Oneta.

to spit or not to spit…to let live or to let die…

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein


(DNA test kit from 23 and Me)

To spit or not to spit, that is the question…
Or actually, it was my question.

I initially had a different post I wanted to offer today, but I caught a story on the news the
other evening that preempted my plan.

About a week or so ago I wrote a couple of posts referencing the Governor of Virginia,
Ralph Northam’s notion that legislation should be created allowing third-term abortions.

I won’t rehash all of that with you but if you’re interested, you can find those links here:

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/02/01/third-term-abortions-absolutely-not/

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/please-do-not-turn-away-from-us/

And yet the irony in this is that the Governor’s potential questionable “racist” past has now
all but smothered his comments and views on third term abortion.
An observation that leaves me more than troubled with our culture’s priorities.

And whereas the Governor has since backed off from his initial wording used during
that fateful interview…it matters not…because more and more states are showing a keen
interest in such an “allowance.”

So lets back up a tad…

I am adopted.

Many of you already know this little fact.

I’ve written about it and shared tales about such since the inception of this little
blog of mine…
so this post is not so much about that…and yet partially…it actually is.

About two weeks back, a fellow blogger shared with me the fact that she had been adopted
as a baby.
She is a wife and mother as well as a wise Christian warrior here in blogville.

I shared with her the fact that I was adopted as well.

She continued her tale…
She shared the fact that she had found her birth mother.

It was somewhat by happenstance.

Her young sons were showing a deep interest in wanting to learn their family’s genealogy…
but my friend knew that her “tree” was rather incomplete.
She didn’t know her “true” heritage…
Her tree, like mine, was dormant.
So she really had nothing she could concretely share with her boys.
Let alone the importance of knowing their family’s true medical history.

And so my friend explained that she bought one of those DNA kits that are so popular
right now.
She decided it was high time to learn about her “real” roots.

Once receiving her results, alerts began coming her way.
The alerts were from folks “out there” who had some sort of genetic connection with her…
as in being related.
Alerts that one may opt to connect with or not.

My friend was now piecing her puzzle together slowly one piece at a time.
And one of those alerts, it turned out, was a person who my friend had the gut feeling
was actually her birth mom.

Through correspondence, her birth mother shared that she had always prayed for her
unknown daughter…praying that she would be raised up as a Christian…
of which she was.
A prayer answered and eventually Divinely revealed.

I told my friend that I’d email soon as I wanted to talk further about all of this…
I was curious because of my own questions.
But life, that being my current life, being what it is, we’ve not had the opportunity
to talk further.

But since our conversation, thoughts nagged and tugged at my brain.

I had never once considered my adopted parents anything other than my parents.
And yet, I’ve always had those nagging holes in my life’s story.
There has always been a feeling of disconnect with my “family”
Their heritage is truthfully not my heritage.
Their roots are not my original roots.
Their health history is by no means my health history.

Yet as long as my Dad was alive, I vowed I’d never search.

I feared, given our dysfunctional family mess with my brother who had
also been adopted, it would break my dad’s heart thinking he might lose me after having
lost my brother due to his angst, dysfunction, and inability to deal with his adoption…
all of which lead to family violence, my mother’s death, and his eventual suicide.
(I’ve written many a post regarding my troubled childhood in our
very dysfunctional family so now is not the time for all of that)

So along with the holes to my past, questions have always loomed large regarding
my health and that of my son’s and now that of my grandchildren…

I do know that my birth mother hid her pregnancy, moving to a city far removed
from family and friends.
She sought no prenatal care despite being a nurse.
She delivered her baby (me), a bit prematurely, and shortly following the delivery,
walked out of the hospital.

Later, the young adopted me struggled academically throughout school.

Those who read my posts often note my typos and mild dyslexia with certain words.
I was never diagnosed but I always knew something just wasn’t right.
Yet I persevered, I worked hard and yet I never felt any sort of peace of success
or accomplishment.

I imagine my son’s lifelong struggles with ADD, a Learning Disability, as well as Dyslexia,
are rooted somewhere in my own unknown genetic make-up.
He was diagnosed in both Kindergarten and 1st grade—early enough for us to seek help—
allowing him to work toward success.

He worked, struggled and persevered— doing more with his life now by age 30 than
many of his teachers ever imagined he would or could.

There have been medical struggles as well for both of us.
Discoveries that have come mostly by happenstance.

My thyroid disorder—Hashimoto’s Disease…which was discovered by routine bloodwork.
Migraines since I was 12.
IBS, as well, since I was 12, that was pegged as simply a “nervous” stomach.

Despite my realizing it, I even struggled with infertility.
We had our son 5 years into our marriage yet we never had another child…
it was something that just never happened.
Due to health issues, I had to have a hysterectomy at age 35—
doctors told me then that they didn’t know how we had actually ever conceived our son
let alone the likelihood that we never would have been able to conceive again.

It was after another routine blood test that I was recently diagnosed as a
hemochromatosis carrier—
a carrier of Hemochromatosis Metabolic Disorder who has bouts with Reynaud’s Syndrome.
Something passed on to my son and possibly
my grandchildren.

All of which points to some sort of autoimmune issues as the list of discoveries
continues to grow.

Knowledge is a powerful tool—especially when dealing with one’s medical history.
A tool I want for my son and his children…a tool I’ve never had.

So as my husband and I both worry about what we don’t know…
what we don’t know that could affect our son and his health and now the health of his
children, our grandchildren…I therefore finally made my decision.

Rather than reaching out to the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry,
paying a fee for some sort of search with a potential meeting, or perhaps worse,
a denial of any sort of meeting…should anyone still be living…
I opted for a more broad source of information…albeit actually a bit detached…
A benign pie chart of heritage and a litany of genetic health information.

I ordered the tests from both 23 and Me as well as Ancestry.

I spit in the collection tubes, sealed everything up and shipped them off.

And so now we wait.

In the meantime, upon learning of my offering up a little spit, aka DNA,
my son was actually more reserved rather than excited.

“Mother you have just put the family’s DNA out there for every Governmental
agency to access…”

And it turns out he is correct.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/salvadorhernandez/using-dna-databases-to-find-your-distant-relatives-so-is

However, my word to him has been… stay on the up and up and it’s all good.
And I suspect once we learn our true course of both past and future…
he’ll be a bit more curious.

But what does my adoption issues have to do with my worries over third term abortions
and of those who are thinking that such actions would be a good choice to offer…

It is the very fact that I was not aborted.
It also runs counter to my Christian faith.

Despite my biological mother’s obvious angst and crushing strain that she was
to then live with…
she still opted to give me life…despite this heavy burden carried alone.

She afforded me the gift of life…the gift of loving and being loved…
The eventual gift of my precious granddaughter and soon-to-be grandson.
Relationships and connections that may never have been…

And for that, I am grateful.

So the other evening while I was doing the dishes I heard Fox New Host Martha McCallum
talking about the latest state who was showing interest over third term abortions.

I put down the dishes, turned off the water at the sink, grabbed a dishtowel while
drying my hands as I raced into the den to hear her story.

She was interviewing a young man named Daniel Ritchie.
Ritchie was born without arms and has become an outspoken opponent to the
idea of abortion, especially third-term abortions.

His was a birth of extreme alarm.

He was delivered without arms and without actual vital signs.
It appeared he would not probably survive and since there was such deformity,
the doctors began explaining to his parents that to just let him “go” would be best.

But his parents, to the surprise of doctors, did not think such a decision was wise nor right and
thus encouraged the doctors to do their best to revive their son—of which they did.

Man might think he knows what is best based on clinical observations and deductions…
however, none of us can tell the future with any real certainty.
Our hypotheses of life can be, more or less, whittled down to nothing more than a 50 50 crapshoot.

Ritchie shared with Martha his challenges growing up learning to do everything with
his feet rather than what others were doing with their hands and arms.

But Daniel told Martha that it was at age 15, that pivotal age in adolescents,
that the real turning point in his life arrived…he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

The choice to live with bitterness over a life of challenge, difficulty, stares, and rejection
or the choice to choose something bigger and greater than self…to seek a life even greater
then what he currently knew.

Daniel came to understand that God had a plan…
a bigger plan than he could have ever imagined.
A plan that would never have been had his parents opted to follow the doctor’s
suggestion in that delivery room that fateful day…
the medical suggestion to allow their newly born son,
a son without arms, to die.

Remember—God affords man choice…

A choice to allow a baby to live or a baby to die…

Despite our smug arrogance, man’s earthly vision is limited—
what we see as a burden, hardship or hindrance often has far-reaching and
unseen reverberations—
reverberations that have the potential to change the lives of those we have yet to meet.

Hear and read Daniel’s amazing story.
Meet his wife and children…and hear his testimony to God’s amazing Glory.

The choice to spit or not to spit pales in compariosn to the choice to live or not live…

May we choose to live…may we choose life.

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/why-being-born-without-arms-is-just-about-the-best-thing-thats-ever-happened-to-me

https://insider.foxnews.com/2019/02/12/pro-life-author-daniel-ritchie-late-term-abortion-push-judging-value-life-dangerous

“His mission was not his own”

“His mission was not his own”
Words shared by The Rev Russell J. Levenson Jr
during his eulogy of his friend and parishioner, President G.H.W.Bush


(18 year old Lt George H.W.Bush in naval uniform)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you came out on the other side
wondering how in the world you made it through?
How you survived and made it out alive?
Or more likely that you fared better than those around you?

Have you ever found yourself wondering or even lamenting “why me?”

Why me Lord?
Why was I spared and they weren’t?
Why did I win when I shouldn’t have–
knowing that someone else should have won?
Why was I so fortunate, or so lucky, and why were “they” not?

These can be haunting questions for anyone.
They can be a life’s curse or a life’s blessing.

For there is a great responsibility to whom much is given.
(Luke 12:48)

And life, for those who have had near brushes with death, know all too well, that
life suddenly becomes a tremendous responsibility.

Yet such a question as ‘why me’ can be particularly haunting
for one so young. For one who actually stares at death and yet surprisingly,
is allowed to walk away when others were not.

We have seen this in wars and sadly in recent terror attacks and mass shootings.

And it just so happened that this very overwhelming life issue of ‘why me’ actually
happened for a newly turned 20-year-old boy who found
himself alone in a small rubber yellow life raft, bobbing up and down in the middle of
the Pacific Ocean after having baled out of a burning airplane…
coming to the stalk revelation that he’d been spared while his friends had not.

This same “why me” question came up three times Wednesday during the funeral of our
41st president, George H. W. Bush.

First, the question was raised by Jon Meacham, the famed author, and presidential historian.
He painted the scene vividly as only such a gifted writer could.
A young naval pilot and his crew taking off from a Navy aircraft carrier with a bombing mission
on the docket.
They were to take out a Japanese radio tower on a tiny Pacific island.

“Shortly after dawn on Saturday, September 2, 1944, Lieutenant Junior Grade
George Herbert Walker Bush, joined by two crew mates,
took off from the USS San Jacinto to attack a radio tower on Chichijima.

As they approached the target, the air was heavy with flack.
The plane was hit.
Smoke filled the cockpit; flames raced across the wings.
“My god,” Lieutenant Bush thought,
“this thing’s gonna go down.”
Yet he kept the plane in its 35-degree dive, dropped his bombs, and then roared off out to sea,
telling his crew mates to hit the silk.
Following protocol, Lieutenant Bush turned the plane so they could bail out.

Only then did Bush parachute from the cockpit.
The wind propelled him backward, and he gashed his head on the tail of the plane
as he flew through the sky.
He plunged deep into the ocean, bobbed to the surface,
and flopped onto a tiny raft.
His head bleeding, his eyes burning, his mouth and throat raw from salt water,
the future 41st President of the United States was alone.

Sensing that his men had not made it, he was overcome.
He felt the weight of responsibility as a nearly physical burden.
And he wept.
Then, at four minutes shy of noon, a submarine emerged to rescue the downed pilot.
George Herbert Walker Bush was safe.
The story, his story and ours, would go on by God’s grace.

Through the ensuing decades, President Bush would frequently ask,
nearly daily— “why me?
Why was I spared?”

Next in line during this service, this looming question was raised by the former
Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney who also eulogized his former world leader compatriot
and more importantly, his dear friend.

Mulroney opened his verbal tribute to his friend by asking those in attendance if they could
remember what they were doing just after their 20th birthday.

Most should remember the joy and gaiety found in the passing a milestone—
that being the leaving behind of the tumultuous teenage years as they were
now standing on the great periphery of adulthood.

And yet I wonder as to how many of us know that at 20, one is more child than adult?

Mulroney shared that as he had just turned 20, he was working as a laborer in the outskirts
of Quebec while still living at home and thankfully enjoying his mother’s cooking.

All the while his one-day dear friend was bleeding and clinging to life in a liferaft
out in the middle of the Pacific ocean weeping “why me??”

For a third time this somber day of a State funeral, another speaker addressed the question…
“Why me?”

This time the speaker was President Bush 41’s parish priest,
The Rev. Bruce Levenson who once again raised the question but who rather matter of factly
gave us the answer.

Father Levenson explained that “his mission was not his own.”

His mission was not his own.

It was other than and much more than that liferaft bobbing up and down in the
ocean…

Yet that is not to say that the lives of his comrades at arms on that fateful day
were any less important.
Any less than, as some might think with such a response to such a question.
That somehow, they were simply “allowed” to die while young George was allowed to live.
The issue of allowance is not to be the issue here nor are we to be recipients of such
deep knowledge.

For God uses our lives and our deaths to extend far beyond our simple understanding.

It is the ripples that reverberate outward from the dropped stone in the pond.

The ‘why me’ questions that have been asked by countless individuals who have lived to tell of
another day all live with a tremendous burden of guilt and a tremendous burden of responsibility.

Father Levenson, James Baker, Al Simpson, Brian Mulroney and even son George H. Bush
each reminded us that a day did not pass in George Herbert Walker Bush’s life that he did
not ask that question…nor not feel the heavy responsibility.

He either asked the question audibly or silently…but he asked none the less each and every day.

I am reminded of the 1946 Christmas Classic It’s a Wonderful Life.

The entire premise of the movie, for Jimmy Stewart’s character George (so aptly named),
was what would life have been without him. How in turn would the lives of those who
were a part of his own life turn out without a George Bailey to interact with them?

One dark and lonely Christmas eve night so long ago, George was inches away from ending his
own life, by jumping into an icy cold river.
Yet God needed to give George a wake-up call.
He still needed George to do some important things.

Much like in the real-life story of a young George Bush…God still needed
for him to do some things.

Now I can’t say that all such stories have happy endings.
Nor can I say that all spared lives seem to turn out better than imagined.
So why George H. W. Bush?

That is the question remaining for all those lives that have been affected,
touched and even created because of him to ponder…as well as those of
us who have been directly or indirectly affected by his actions, choices,
legislation as well as leadership to ponder…

Yet the one thing that I do know…the same thing that President Bush knew…
is that God will have has His ways.

Ways that elude us.
Ways that often frustrate us, but they are His ways and His alone none the less.

What President Bush learned, one of life’s most important answers, was that his life,
his mission was indeed not his own…
it was God’s.

That we should all bend our ways to be His ways…

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25:23

all who travail

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord,
and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Augustine of Hippo


(mimosa tree bloom / Julie Cook / 2018)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

sitting on history’s past and present

Success is not final, failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill


(A German band marches through St Peter Port High Street, Guernsey. The island was occupied between June 1940 and May 1945)

Guernsey is a small island located in the southern reaches of the British Channel.
It is located closer to France than England and yet it is a British Island.

During the war, it was occupied by German forces for 5 long years.

I never knew that.

This afternoon, I’ve just gotten in from having gone to the movies…
I can’t tell you the last time I went to the movies…
I don’t think we had cell phones during my last movie outing…that’s how long its been.

And so obviously it had to be something really pretty big to get me back…

And yes, it was.

It was the movie I’d written about several weeks ago…The Darkest Hour.

There we sat in the vast theater with only a handful of other moviegoers on this grey,
dreary and most soggy Georgia day.
We sat poised to watch a film that we actually possessed hindsight over…
in that, we knew how it turned out…
In that, we knew, otherwise currently know, is that the good guys in the end actually win.

But here’s the thing, I don’t really think that those of us who sit on this side of history
can actually comprehend what it was like to sit on that side of history.

How can we?

There is a chasm, a divide that we cannot cross, cannot span…
we cannot live that which was their reality,
just as they could only imagine what would and could possibly be ours.

For them, imagining what our reality would be,
was not what our imagining of what their reality was.
They fretted for us…yet we on the other hand, just know of their eventual victory—
We don’t grasp the overwhelming magnitude of the weight they bore before that victory.

The black and white photographs, the written words, do not pass easily over the chasm of time,
as one might imagine, allowing us to share the adrenaline rush and stress-filled emotional
burdens suffered and bourn by those who went before…

The Darkest Hour did a commendable job offering those of us who possess the gift of
hindsight of that period of history’s successful ending…
offering us a ray of light shed upon the truly unbearable heaviness of the what was
the balance between life and death of Western Civilization.

Today, ‘that which was’ can look almost easy and nearly flawless.

Churchill bore a grave burden, a burden that the still motionless black and white
photographs often camouflage…
a burden of knowing what must be done versus the tightrope of the political dance.

We each owe him a debt of gratitude.

And yet during those dark days of that desperate time in humanity, there are many
souls to whom we today owe our deep gratitude…

Frank Falla is one such soul.

Mr. Falla was a journalist with the BBC who was arrested by the Nazis when they
discovered that he had been covertly sharing information of the German occupation
on his home island of Guernsey.

He was held in Naumburg Prison where he watched fellow prisoners die weekly from torture
and starvation.
A prison where he swapped his food rations for the stub of a pencil just to be able
to record the names of those who had suffered and died—
because he vowed that if he survived, he would not let those who died, do so in vain.

Following the war, Falla worked tirelessly to petition and then achieve
reparations for his reluctant fellow Guernsey prisoners as well as for the families
of those who did not survive.

Falla’s is the story of a quiet unsung hero, whose story has slowly come to light
on what is now a more national stage as his story is currently part of a new exhibition at
London’s Wiener Library–an exhibition about Guernsey’s own “gentle” journalist.

the following link is to the article about his story.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-guernsey-42710086

we are our own victims

We must take sides.
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Elie Wiesel


( a ripening persimon / Julie Cook / 2017)

There is a massive and unrelenting tidal wave descending over us..
It is the tsunami of all things news and the resulting title wave of
sensational headlines.
It’s exasperating just trying to keep up.
Especially if one works hard to shift through the facts searching in vain
for the truth.

However…in the end, I think we all really know what matters most…

That being…helping and assisting people to put their lives back together…
With just one example being down in Texas and Louisiana following the most
unwelcomed visit by Harvey as we all now find ourselves wearily eyeing the sky
as Irma makes her way to come calling…

That’s what’s important.

Yet we are inundated with and by the latest protests, demonstrations and clamorings
of the latest and not so greatest hoopla and brouhaha which stems from something
the sitting president has done or has not done.

Yesterday I read the recent posting by my friend Citizen Tom, ‘Left Holding the Bag’
LEFT HOLDING THE BAG

Tom was recounting the story of King Hezekiah’s response to the prophet Isaiah’s admonishment for a rather arrogant and prideful desire of which Hezekiah was granted.
And yet the king was going to have to live with the fallout from his selfish wants…
of which would now greatly impact those who had been entrusted to his governance and leadership.

Tom went on to relate the similarities of that time long ago to our own time today…
of the current situation we seem to be finding ourselves
in with North Korea and why it’s as bad as it is now.

Tom explained how previous leaders and administrations basically pushed the
ever growing knowledge of the DPRK’s advancing and expanding nuclear progress aside.
Particularly the Obama Administration.
For reasons that appear more selfish in nature than examples of selfless leadership.

Tom muses that King Hezekiah seemed to be more concerned about his own legacy,
to such an extent that he was willing to allow his “people,”
and their future generations, to suffer due in part to his selfish wants.

Just as it seems the former president was more interested in the stats of the moment
and what good things he could be remembered for doing while willfully ignoring
the looming facts and threats of a growing nuclear North Korea.
With the mindset seemingly being “let the next guy worry about it.”

And so now we turn our attentions to the more recent current event…
that being the ongoing immigration debacle and DACA.
Which has resulted in once again, more protests and demonstrations.

Yet as we’ve given such programs the names of our very essence…
names that have made us the nation we are…such as “Dreamers”…
And so we grow angry thinking about those who would dare want
to smash ‘the dream’….

When I was still in the classroom I taught a wealth of different kinds of kids.
Many of whom were here in this country illegally.
How do I know this you ask….
They told me.

I loved my ‘kids’, all of my kids, and the knowledge that many were living
in our community and in our state and in our nation illegally created a difficult situation in my heart.

Yet the bottom line, which I knew and still know, was always the same…
the word illegal.

The word illegal as defined by the Oxford Dictionary :
Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law.

As in…the law.

We are a burdened society.

Our healthcare is a catastrophic nightmare with skyrocketing costs.
Our prisons are bursting at the seam while the monies can’t keep up.
Our public education budgets are stretched to the end.
Our public assistance programs are being pulled to their limits.
According to Forbes Magazine, “As of March 2016,
the U.S. government owes almost $19.8 trillion to creditors in both long and short
term debt.”
That was based on figures from a year ago, the numbers have only grown larger in that
year’s time.

But we are a people who are the victims of our own human nature.

By and large the majority of us are caring and compassionate people who want
both ourselves and others to be comfortable and happy.
We don’t like feeling uncomfortable and we don’t like seeing others uncomfortable
because their uncomfortableness makes us uncomfortable and we simply
don’t like being uncomfortable.

We like our friends…all of our friends..those who are citizens and those who
are not—those illegal ones amongst us.
We don’t like the idea of sending them away.
We see the tears and the torn families and our hearts become
empathetic and we just say “leave them alone and let them stay…”

But there are huge ramifications with such thinking.
And that is much of our trouble.
Staying only contributes to the already burgeoning burdens we’ve created.
There are simply not the funds, resources or abilities for such….

And so we have laws for a reason.
We try to have a lawful society.
It’s how order is kept.
It is how our society functions properly.

It may not always appear fair, but we have laws to protect ourselves
from ourselves.

People here illegally are just that, illegal.
No matter how much we love them or want them to stay they are illegal
and simply put,
there will always be repercussions for actions that are illegal.

There are laws and processes in place for those who wish to come here legally.
And for all those countless individuals who have done so, what a sham all of that
rigor now becomes as we are heard to now say
“let them all come and let them all stay.”

And what of our increasing burdens?
Those burdens that this stretched nation can no longer carry on under…
under the tremendous weight of resources that cannot and will not keep up…?

So whereas our hearts speak to the tears we see and the cries we hear…
our laws and our leaders, those who know that the laws are there for a reason…
laws which must be upheld despite all the seemingly unkind, unwelcoming,
uncompassionate byproducts and effects…they must be upheld for our own sakes.

And therefore we need leaders who can lead and who are willing to lead when
things become utterly difficult.
And right now, our times are just that, utterly difficult.

We don’t want nor do we need panderers.
We do not want nor do we need appeasers.
We do not want nor do we need those who care more about legacies,
numbers or even popularity…
Because being unpopular is often what is necessary.

But rather we want and need those who can say and do the more painful and unpopular aspects of leading despite the cost to self….
it’s what we need despite ourselves.

So whereas some leaders have been more preoccupied with self, others have not…
and yet how unkind it is that there are those who have had to pick up the pieces
left hiding by those who ignored the difficult and hard…

For truly good leaders understand the burden that is placed upon their shoulders.
Of which consists of protecting ourselves from ourselves…

So is our current president such a man?
At times it appears that he is…but only time will truly tell…
And what we can do in the meantime is to allow him his elected right to try.

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Isaiah 35:4

Cast your burden

Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you,
he will never let the righteous stumble.

Psalm 55:22

DSCN2204
(an abandoned hornets nest, Cades Cove, The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, TN / Julie Cook / 2015)

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble,
the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his holy place and strengthen you out of Zion;
Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice;
Grant you your heart’s desire and proper all your plans.
We will shout for joy at your victory
and triumph in theName of our God,
May the Lord grant all your requests

Psalm 20:1-5