Splintered Lives

Splinters

Sometimes I wish things could be…easier. That the rough sharp edges of life might be worn down and made smooth. Too many times I get jabbed with

splinters that leave me raw and aching. On occasion life hurts and even when the pain is gone, scars are there. They are left to tell the story of the hard times. The rough patches.

The hard wooden cross was made from splintered lives…

And isn’t it in this rough, that we all long for more?  And when we are uncomfortable we realize, in our spirit, that this world is not all there is?

The hands and feet seared with the pain of flesh pounded to wood. 

As we approach Easter, and the celebration of the resurrection– shouldn’t we take our splintered lives, our longings for more…..

and lay them at the foot of the cross?

Splintered lives brought to Him…. to the Master Carpenter who makes all things new.

His death and resurrection are the promise–the promise of so much more for those who believe.

The sacrifice sealed with His blood.

Stream Of Consciousness

The Waltons

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I’m having one of THOSE days. Not a bad day, just the kind of day that I can’t seem to sit still and put two coherent thoughts together. You know what I mean? It’s not dementia. It’s being Dawn. This happens to me on occasion. Sometimes I will tell my family members, as I’m staring straight at them, I see your mouth moving…but, what did you just say? Sometimes this happens twice in a row. I can’t help it. I need to learn to read lips.

So, because I am physically unable to write anything even remotely “put together” today…I came up with just going all stream of consciousness on you. Did I say that correctly?  I sincerely hope you can follow along, and not just think I’m nuts. (because that is an entirely different story)

Alarm clock went off—Hit the snooze—Overslept by 45 minutes, go figure—Shot out of bed, giving myself a little vertigo—Ran to bathroom, got a look at scary morning self in the mirror, screamed.—Went out to kitchen, had son (who was already up) flip on the news for me—started coffee and breakfast—went with dog to wake up other 2 children–Dog barked and jumped, he is a good “waker upper”. —-Lit new lilac candle, hoping it will mask smell of dog vomit.–Um, dog took his antibiotics on a not full stomach. Opps. Yuck.—Vacuumed rugs and floor, chased pet fur around the room. Pet fur is much like dandelions after they turn white and blow everywhere in sight. Just sayin’—-Put dishes in dishwasher, then realized that the coffee mug I wanted was in there, dug it out and washed by hand.  I have a bazillion coffee mugs, but I wanted that one. Weirdo. —

Promise myself that I will balance checkbook today, been meaning to do that for the past 3 days. Oh, well.–Cat curled up in basket in my library–my blanket basket, my WHITE blanket basket. I cannot keep anything out that the cats do not lay on. I hate cat fur. I tolerate cats, and not even that very well. Though I do love them, which makes me mad because I don’t want to. Arggh. I’m still more of a dog person. Much more.—The orange creamsicle candle I got from Wmart does not smell like an orange creamsicle. It doesn’t really smell much at all. What a rip off. Note to self, do not buy these types of candles anymore.

I need to decide what is for dinner. I have no idea. ugh. I need to prepare menus more often. It would probably help, but where is the fun in that? The sun has not been out today, but at least it has not rained. All 3 of the kiddos have test(s) to take in their home school work today. They are thrilled. Not. The Waltons are on the Hallmark Channel. I like to watch them in the afternoon while I’m fixing dinner, which I still have no idea about. I better go. I have a feeling this evening will be interesting.

I promise to have a REAL blog post tomorrow. Have a fun weekend everyone. Can I have ice cream for dinner? Um. I’m just kidding…..really.

And by the way, if there are any spelling errors you’ll just have to forgive me. If this post made no sense to you, don’t worry…it didn’t to me either.

M is for Mommy

A pregnant woman

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Mother. Mommy. Mom. Mama. Mum.  The names of  motherhood.

Being a mom—A job. A privilege. A calling. An adventure.

Sometimes scary, sometimes funny. Other times sad, most of the time, happy.

Loving a child, changes one forever.

I decided to pull some motherhood posts from my archives….because they are just as relevant today as they were when I first wrote them.

“Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a mom. I’ve been a mom for almost 16 years now. You’d think after that period of time I’d have everything under control, right? Neatly checking things off my to do list. I suppose I am feeling a little sorry for myself. Umm…… Most days I feel like the BEFORE picture in one of those before/after photo shoots. I wish I could be the AFTER. The mom that has it all together. The one who doesn’t ever worry about a dirty house, teen drivers, late schoolwork, attitudes, boredom, muddy floors, pet fur, or laziness.

I’m not mentally ill. I do understand the difference between fantasy and reality. But, a mom can dream…can’t she?

I must get like this each year. Check out my blog from last January at this time….. My own words come back to remind me that motherhood is a crazy ride, but I’m holding the hand of the One that holds the future–and that makes all the difference.

THE MIRACLES IN THE MUNDANE OF MOTHERHOOD

Motherhood. In my naivete’,I just knew that I’d have it covered. Puh-leeze!  I could do this….after all I KNEW children. I took Child Development classes in high school. I babysat. I majored in special education in college and took myriad number of COLLEGE level courses on the child psyche. If anyone could do this it was me. Supermom at your service. For sure.

Then reality hit. When I say “hit” I mean kind of like a baseball bat. To the head. Ouch.

I had my son in May of 1995. Just 2 days after my 27th birthday. My pregnancy went well except for the 6 week stint of barfing. Morning sickness AND evening sickness. Brushing my teeth even made me gag, but I was a trooper. I was determined to be with child AND have a bright white smile and fresh breath. So, I carried on.

My son was born 2 1/2 weeks early according to the doctors. I blame it on the fact that the evening before he was born we had a tornado in Knoxville, Tennessee. The barometric pressure dropped and I think it messed with my uterus. I’m just sayin’. Except for being born with a little jaundice, which to be honest I thought looked like a nice tan, the delivery went well  and my son was beautiful. Of course I had an epidural so there wasn’t much pain…just a lot of pushing. My husband was a big help and to give the man credit…he put up with a lot. (the fact that I had back labor before getting the epidural—well, that is another story.)

Now, at this point I was exhausted but happy. My son is a joy. I’m happy. He’s happy. My husband’s happy. We’re all happy. Then it hit. Reality. My epidural wore off and I was sore like I had never felt sore before. After several hours I decided I could get up and use the restroom. The nurse told me she would have to go with me. I told her I was a shy pee’er and I wouldn’t be able to go if she was in the bathroom. I tried to convince her I’d been peeing my whole life, and at 27 I had the procedure down pat. She told me I could pass out because of something to do with the epidural having worn off, blah..blah…. I told her that was silly. She finally agreed to stand at the other side of the door, with the door cracked open. I grudgingly agreed and went to sit down when, yes you guessed it, I started to black out. The nurse caught me just before I cracked my head on the bathroom floor. I vaguely remembered her yelling for ammonia…and my husband in a confused state asking why she wanted to clean the bathroom? This is my life. I should have known that I had just embarked on a journey that was NOT going to be a piece of cake. Only a few hours into motherhood and I was already passing out.

The next few years consisted of me listening to my little one struggle to breathe when he got bronchitis. Staying up all night and staring at his chest. Watching it heave up and down. Knowing that his tiny body was so fragile…yet, so resilient. After that scary time, it never happened again. Thank you Jesus. Then at 2 and 1/2 he was with his father, outside, when he decided that he’d get on the picnic table. He fell and cut his head on the seat of the table on the way down. Head wounds. Lots of blood. A father in panic mode. A trip to the doctors office. Stitches. I came home from work that day to find my handsome son looking like he had just took a few rounds in the boxing ring. Bruised with stitches marching just above his eyebrow. So attractive, and just in time for his preschool picture day!  That following Easter we decorated Easter eggs. Fun stuff. I made the mistake of telling my toddler that we would eventually eat the hard boiled eggs. One evening he got into the fridge when I was on the phone and preceded to eat the egg with the shell still on it. He came into the living room a few minutes later. His face, teeth, tongue and hands, all a nice pastel shade of blue. I began to freak out thinking that my baby was exhibiting symptoms of some rare disease. Until, he informed me, “Mommy, the Easter egg is good.” At that, I burst into giggles and attempted to scrub my little Smurf back to his normal skin tone as I explained that egg shells are not the part of the egg that we eat, even if it did look pretty at the time.

Over the years there were the good times and the difficult times. Bedtime stories, hugs and sloppy kisses, birthday parties. Lots of laughter and tears. Family vacations, and him holding my hand. Church choir, camps, video games, and silliness. Those of you that have sons know what I’m talking about.

When my little boy was 4 his father, my husband, was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease. He died a mere year and four months later. You can imagine the sadness. We had only just started and it was over. Just like that. Standing at my husbands grave, that cold gray day in November 2000…I felt a little hand grab mine. A little voice coming out of the body of a 5 year old, but seeming so much older and wiser said, “Mommy, don’t cry. This is only Daddy’s body here. Daddy is in Heaven with God.”  God spoke to me that day through my son. He wanted me to remember the promise of  John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the  life. He that believes in Me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”  That day I was reminded that out of the mouths of children can come great wisdom.

The next five years were filled with normal life kinds of things. Church, school, vacations out  West, family get togethers, sleep overs at friends houses, spelling tests, and math homework, goofiness and seriousness. All of life in a big jumble. We were doing okay….me and my sidekick.

After 5 years of widowhood God brought another man into my life. A man that understood what I had gone through. Our experiences were similar. He had lost his wife a few years before. We were kindred spirits. No one wants to join The Widow/er Club, but death doesn’t ask if one wants membership. It just gives it to you.

We married in 2005. Along with this marriage I got another son and two daughters. Just as I thought I had the whole being a mom thing under control…. then reality hit. AGAIN. These children had lost their mother. My heart broke for them, just as it had for my own son at the loss of his Daddy. How does one be a mom #2?  There is no manual for it. Believe me, if there were one I would have read it. A LOT. How does one mother the motherless? I wasn’t sure how this would happen. What do I say? How do I act? What if they don’t bond with me? What if they hate my guts?  Then what?  God, in His infinite wisdom spoke to my heart.

“LOVE THEM. ADOPT THEM IN YOUR HEART. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO.  Dawn, you are my adopted child. I bought you for a price. You were redeemed and now you are mine. I love you because I choose too. Do the same for them. They need a mother’s love…not to take the place of the mother that they had….but, to show them that I am God and I will take care of them. I am their provider.”

You know what? God is good. All the time. Even in motherhood. Even in widowhood. Even in life. Even in death. Even in trauma. Even in calm. Through bloody noses, or skinned knees, through arguments, and “it’s not fair!”. Through hugs and kisses, school and projects. He remains good when I’m having a great day or when I’ve just been awarded “the worst mom of the year award.”

I like to believe that I am much wiser than I was back in my twenties. When I thought I had motherhood all figured out. When I had my own motherhood map all planned. Motherhood is messy, and chaotic, and fun, and sometimes broken. I am thankful in the midst of all my mom mess-ups that I am holding the hand of the One who promised me that He has a plan for me and a future with hope. A-men.”

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29: 11-13 NIV


At Faith Barista we are talking about moms and motherhood today. Won’t you join us?


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Living Out What Easter Means

The Greatest Promise of God

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”  John 11:25

How many of us have stood over a casket, looking down at one we loved?

Tears leaking down our cheeks…already missing the one that is gone.

The body so still. The breath has ceased. The lids now closed.

Burial. In the ground. Dirt covered.

And we weep.

And yet…

Jesus‘ words ring out in the darkness. The darkness of hopelessness. The darkness of fear. The darkness of death.

I am the resurrection.

and the life.  Alive again. Living. Breathing. In glory.

Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

He who believes in me, though he dies,

yet shall he live. Shall live. With Him. Forever. Real. Oh, so real.

No more heart hurt, no more rampant cancer, no more diseased body, no more accidents, no more shallow breathing, no more depression, no more pain, no more poor vision, no more sickness…

No more.

Believe in Me, Jesus whispers to our souls.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Jesus says,

I have conquered death. I have taken your place.

It is finished. Words that echo through the ages.

How is Easter real to you? Not only on a Sunday in April…but, all year long?

A Perfect Plan

Reenacting the Stations of the Cross in Jerusa...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m portraying Mary (mother of Jesus) in an Easter monologue, this weekend.

Mary had the heart of a mother, when she admitted that she did not understand the purpose of Jesus‘ death. She knew He was the son of God, and yet she watched Him be hung on a cross to die. To die. Her heart bled out, along with her son’s. She knew He was God, but He was also her son…whom she loved. “Why, God? Why? It doesn’t make sense to me!”

Today, on the way home from a short trip into town, I was practicing my lines. Her words, so much she did not understand, echo back to my own heart. So much, I do not understand. I have the blessing of knowing that death was not the end for Jesus. I am able to celebrate the resurrection that followed. At the time, right after the crucifixion, Mary did not know…..yet.

Yet.

Isn’t that like so many of us? God does something in our lives…and we question Him. We shake our fists. We cry out. It’s not fair! Why me? I don’t understand. What is the purpose?

God in His infinite wisdom knows. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him. He is never caught off guard.

If God was small enough for me to understand Him (a woman who doesn’t understand her own computer), He wouldn’t be much of a God now, would He?  I cannot put God in a box.  Sometimes He does things that seem like they don’t make sense…at least not to my human, finite mind. I feel very much like Mary, standing in the dark on that day, wondering why? I am grateful that God does not require my permission to complete His plan.

(Jesus) “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39  NIV

So, this Easter I will celebrate God’s plan. A holy plan. A perfect plan. A plan that took His Son to the cross, to pay the price…for me. That’s how much He loves you…and me. Redeemed by the blood of the lamb. The pure and blameless sacrifice…

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You Took My Place

The Passion of the Christ

Image via Wikipedia The quiet moments. The times of reflection. The times of remembrance.

The quiet moments. The moments of thought and reflection.

Sacrifice. Pain. Tears.

“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”  The crowds of so long ago, shouted. Their voices echo through time… I cannot blame them. They were imperfect sinners. Just like me. I was in that crowd.

My sin crucified my Lord. It wasn’t just “other people”. It was me. My sin, put Him there. His love for me, kept Him there.

Selfishness! The slam of the hammer, as the nails pierced His flesh.

Pride! His face twisted in agony.

Resentment! The burden on His shoulders.

Bitterness! The blood dripped down.

God, forgive me. Please forgive me.

***************

You Took My Place

The thorns on your head

blood, runs red.

You hung on a Roman cross

for sin not your own,

the pain unbearable

the sounds of your groan.

You could have called angels to deliver you, free

but you stayed there…you stayed there for me.

“Father forgive her

She doesn’t know!”

You saw me, you knew me

before time began,

you hung on that cross

the Savior of man.

You took the blame

You bore my shame.

Jesus my Lord, You took my place

knowing your sacrifice

your gift of grace…

Would deliver me from

death…and its dark face.

The stone rolled away

You are alive, no longer dead!

You stand victorious

Just like you said!

—Dawn Gibson 2011

Won’t you join us, as we walk with Him?

The Day Death Died

Garden Tomb 02

Image by stevenconger@sbcglobal.net via Flickr

It did not end with Jesus in the grave. The tomb could not hold him. Death could not conquer him. On the third day he arose! Just like he said he would.
A favorite hymn of Easter….
LOW IN THE GRAVE HE LAY
  1. Low in the grave He lay,
    Jesus my Savior,
    Waiting the coming day,
    Jesus my Lord!

    • Refrain:
      Up from the grave He arose,
      With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
      He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
      And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
      He arose! He arose!
      Hallelujah! Christ arose!
  2. Vainly they watch His bed,
    Jesus my Savior;
    Vainly they seal the dead,
    Jesus my Lord!
  3. Death cannot keep its Prey,
    Jesus my Savior;
    He tore the bars away,
    Jesus my Lord!
1 Peter 1:18-20 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)
Matthew 28:7   “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
HE HAS RISEN!  HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

Redemption

The Cross

Bonnie, at Faith Barista, posed this question for today… Share something new you’re learning in your relationship with Jesus? Click on the Faith Barista graphic in my right side bar to find out what others are learning.

As I walk toward Easter, I am reminded of the price that was paid..for me. For you. For us all. May this story never grow old.

When others look at me, this is what they see.

I’m a 42, almost 43 year old, middle class, female.

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe the Bible is God‘s word to the world.

I’m college educated.

I am a former special education teacher, turned home school mom.

I shop at Walmart and Aldi‘s. I drive a mini van.

I crave organization and stability.

I love dogs. I’m learning to love cats.

I hate spiders and mice. Mice even more than spiders. That’s why it helps to have cats.

I grew up in the country. Then I lived in the city. Now I’m back in the country…and I love it. I shop at Tractor Supply.

I was married….then widowed…then married again. I informed my new husband he better not die on me….or at least live to 120.

I am a mom. Some days I am a good one…other days…um…not so much. I never stop trying.

I love Fall. October is my favorite month.

I’m a voracious reader. I enjoy talk radio. I love to decorate and create. I love sweaters and socks. They are sort of my “thing”.

I have a flair for the dramatic.

I’m nostalgic about “Americana”.

I have several pet peeves that really get on my nerves.

I’m a fairly decent cook. My favorite food is loaded nachos. My favorite drink is southern style sweet tea.

I am a writer. Blogger. Note taker. Chart keeper. Folder filer.

I love to tell stories……..

There is more to my story.

I struggle with selfishness.

Sometimes I say things that would be better left unsaid. Me and my big mouth.

I don’t forget things. I can hold a grudge. Bitterness creeps in.

I want do-overs, if I don’t like how things are turning out the first time around.

I like to have control of situations.

I tend towards perfectionism….which can be insidious.

Patience is not a virtue that I have mastered. Resentments are real.

Sometimes I yell.  Sometimes I get quiet.

At times, I like to be by myself. In my own space.

People can overwhelm.

I want to be left alone.

I am a sinner in desperate need of a Savior.

Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23a  “…The wages of sin is death…”

Romans 6:23b  “…But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The thorns gouging into the skin…

The beard plucked…

Being spit on and mocked…

Nailed to a rough wooden cross…the pain too horrid to imagine.

Thirsty. Can’t breathe. Even the smallest movement excruciating.

He was innocent. He could have called an army of angels to save Him from this.

But He didn’t.

Because He knew. He knew that my sin required a sacrifice. Blood. His blood. For me. Redemption.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 NIV

Romans 5:8,  “God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”

Standing at the foot of the cross on that dark day….

***Join me tomorrow as I finish the story.***

As Easter Approaches

The Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Ten...

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Even though I was born and raised as a Maryland girl, as an adult, I lived in east Tennessee for twenty-three years. Knoxville was my home, only forty-five minutes from Dolly Parton‘s family “stompin’ grounds”. I had family passes to her amusement and water parks. I loved Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

East Tennessee is a beautiful part of the country….in the foothills of the  Great Smoky Mountains.

Dolly Parton has held a “soft spot” in my heart for many years.

Now, you might be thinking what in the world does any of that have to do with Easter? Well…..nothing really…except that one of my favorite songs, sung by Dolly, is about Easter. She sings about the risen Savior. He is alive!

Every time I listen to this song, I get goosebumps.

He’s Alive! Sung by Dolly at the 1989 CMA awards.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Matthew 28: 6-10 KJV

He is risen; he is not here.”
Mark 16:6

 

***As we walk toward Easter, won’t you join us? Click on the Walk With Him Wednesday graphic on my right side bar.***