Twenty years ago our lives were changed and a sweet baby entered our lives. It was our first grand daughter’s birth day. Her due date was in July so she surprised us with an early arrival and after a few ‘scary moments’ she was delivered weighing only two pounds eleven ounces and seventeen inches long.
Her eyes were intense, she was alert and ever so tiny.
I was in shock to know that on this day I was a grandma. Something that was dreamed about often but never realized in real time, until this day.
She was in NICU until she grew stronger and more able to eat and survive out of the setting.
When she was a few weeks old they let her go home weighing only three pounds, nine ounces. She had to be carefully placed in the car seat with extra blankets around her.
NICU is a special place for those tiny ones who cannot go home yet.
Trained nurses work hard to keep them comfortable and safe. It is considered a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
There are levels of care the babies get depending on the severe conditions they were born with, she only had IV on her head and monitors on her heart, she was not hooked up very much.
She was tube fed a few times then she was able to use a bottle. Her spunk kept her fighting and she was alert and healthy always.
For that we were very blessed and happy.
I always dreamed of being a grandma and she was such a blessing to us, when her mom (our daughter) had to go back to work I quit my job and stayed home with this very tiny baby.
It was a joy and a privilege to be with her every day and help nurture her and grow. It was very healing to me.
It’s hard for me to believe she is twenty and a beautiful grown woman now; we feel so blessed to be her grand parents.
Her name is Faith Elizabeth. Our lives were changed forever because of her presence.
“It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, “what about lunch?” (AA Milne)
I saw this quote and although I am not sure it really came from the writer of Winnie the pooh stories, I like the concept, to keep things simple.
We have all met someone at some point in our lives; who try to convince you that they are more for show than for real honest relationship. They use lofty words, or random concepts that don’t make sense at first.
I don’t choose to connect with those kind of people. I generally have no problem reading body language or non verbal ques but sometimes it is hard even for me to figure it out.
I love honest people. You don’t have to guess where they stand or believe; it is just there in front of them. Church is a place where we sometimes pretend to have our ‘ducks in a row’; when really they are running every direction and we can’t ask for help. I would rather have someone ask for help and be direct with me, then make me guess. Guessing takes so much energy.
I love to go out for lunch with a good friend, where we can make the quality time for each other sharing matters of the heart. I have one friend when we would meet for breakfast sometimes we would still be there for lunch in the same booth. Good sharing. It’s more fun sharing with someone who listens to you, truly listens and gives their thoughts and opinions in love back to you.
Friendship. A gift we give to ourselves.
To all the mothers out there I wish you a day of relaxation and rest.
To those women who wish for and long for and pray for every single month to be able to be called a mom.
I send you a hug, a prayer and a kind word. I understand it is a void and this holiday is especially hard.
Many can be very insensitive to you and I am sorry if I have ever been in that ‘role’.
To those who have been mom’s but for some reason your children are no longer living, it doesn’t make you a less mom; it just makes it more hard.
To those who have lost their moms; this is a hard day full of memories and tears.
I remember often times in church a Pastor would say, “to all the mom’s please stand up.”
What about those who have lost babies they never have seen? What about moms who have no story to share or picture on their phone to show off?
They are still moms who have lost a part of their heart.
I pray we be more sensitive to all those who are moms and daughters.
My own mother was not a warm fuzzy type of mom; so often I would find myself standing at the card aisle and wondering what should I purchase?
Sometimes in my journey I wished for a section just for us who were in therapy.
The ‘I don’t know what I should buy because nothing really fits’ group.
Years ago I would just settle on a generic ‘have a nice day’ with a little pansy on it and call it done.
You can’t go wrong with a pansy and it doesn’t require a lot of ‘thinking’ or planning.
I don’t have anyone to shop for now, my grandma’s are gone and our mothers are gone too.
So to all the women out there, I wish for you a peaceful day and a day for just resting.
Whether you are a mom, grandma, sister or cousin. This wish is for you.
“I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” John 20:24-29
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas was not with the others when Jesus came. (Jesus had visited them in the upper room behind locked doors.)
They had told him, “we have seen the Lord!” (But he replied I want to see, feel and experience it myself. My paraphrase.)
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them.
The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them.
“Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
I remembered this story and realized the Friday’s word prompt was the word touch.
Thomas had to touch Jesus so that he would truly believe in the resurrection and the final story. I often have wondered how Jesus knew just exactly what Thomas needed.
He didn’t ask him; HE just KNEW what Thomas would need in order for him to believe.
I find that fascinating and wonderful that He knew how to approach Thomas and how to create the scene for him to believe.
Thomas wasn’t being a bully or a problem he just needed facts in order for him to really believe.
I don’t really blame him; if he actually saw him crucified and treated horribly. Wouldn’t we all say that?
“Let me see for myself.” Jesus approached Thomas in a way that only Jesus could.
Here is the proof, feel them and believe.
This is a good lesson for us all. We don’t often have to say what we ‘need’; in order for Jesus to know in our heart what we need.
I love this ‘touching part’ of the story, it just makes it more real for us to understand the heart of Thomas.
I understand the familiar story and experience of those who loved Jesus; although they didn’t fully recognize him.
The other day we were in Costco a big retail store standing in line to pay for our ‘purchases’.
An older man behind us asked about my husbands coat, it had an emblem on it from a Christian camp where we both work and enjoy.
The man said to us, “are you believers?” we said, “Yes we work at a camp at the beach.”
Then we continued to talk to this man. Elderly cute little fellow and as we shared for some reason; he gave me his name on a card.
I realized it was a name of a man who used to be our Pastor over thirty years ago.
As he talked and as we shared, the moment ‘of burning in my heart just like those men on the road with Jesus, took place.’
The more he spoke to us… the more I tuned into his voice and really listened. I became very aware of the fact that we knew him.
I recognized him and told him HE used to be our Pastor. Now I had to really tune in to his voice since he was much older and looked a bit different.
But the realization it was him; brought us great joy. HE hugged us, we prayed right there in the middle of Costco.
He was now in his eighties and was quite the ‘elderly’ little fellow.
I was thrilled to see him again and as I did; I remembered how he was a mighty man of God and pastor teacher to the church.
Jesus often taught about; “My sheep will know my voice.”
I don’t think our voices ever change. I knew this was our Pastor because I tuned into his words and heard what he said with my heart.
It was an amazing moment and one I won’t soon forget.
I heard him and I saw with my own eyes, a little gentleman who we once loved. It was a wonderful moment for us all.
Our Pastor Jack said to us, “you are going to make me cry.” It was a lovely meeting and prayer time and a familiar time of sharing.
As we think of Jesus being one who loved relationships and those who he cared for;
we also have to think of those grieving his loss.
After the resurrection and after Jesus had met with the women at the tomb, he continued on as he traveled from Jerusalem.
The book of Luke tells us the story of what took place. Luke 24:
[That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.
As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened.
As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.
He asked them, “what are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopa, replied.
You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” they said, “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.
But our leading priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.
We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
Then some women from our group of his followers were at this tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report.
They had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Then he said to them, “You foolish people! you find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in Scriptures.
Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”
Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures things concerning himself.]
He ended up walking with them longer and even going to their house for a meal.
vs 30 [As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
And at that moment he disappeared.
They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32]
The question is real. It was a familiar relationship that they were experiencing. Yet they didn’t know until HE allowed it.
As I read the story again; I notice a few more things and I am reminded of so much of what Jesus did was around relationship.
In the book of John; while Jesus was on the cross he was not only thinking of himself and the horrific death he was experiencing, he thought of others.
John 20: vs 25 it says;
[Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing beside the disciple he loved, (meaning John) he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” and he said to this disciple, (meaning John) “Here is your mother.”
And from then on this disciple took her into his home.]
Jesus being a son wished for her to be taken care of. His mission finished and the death soon to take place.
I also find it to be very interesting and wonderful that later on after he rose from the tomb he saw Mary Magdalene again.
[John 20:11 [Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in.
She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”)
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them.
‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them. “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.]
I find it very special and comforting to know he addressed her by her name; in such a way and in such a tone ONLY HE would do.
He KNEW her name. HE knew He could address the woundedness of her heart. Just by saying, “Mary”.
So comforting and so relational. As I read the story again.
The leading priest and Pharisees were remembering a few things as Jesus was placed in the tomb. In Matthew 27 it tells the story.
Jesus had said at one point in time, “after three days I will rise from the dead.” So they went to see Pilate.
They had requested that a large seal be placed on the tomb until the third day preventing the disciples from removing the body. (should that be part of the plan)
Pilate agreed and allowed guards to stand by the very large stone they sealed it with.
Mary and Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb. There was a great earth quake an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone and sat on it.
His face radiated light and his clothing was white as snow. The guards fell into a dead faint from fear.
[Then the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid.!” (haven’t we heard this before?)
“I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has risen from the dead, just as he said he would happen.
Come, see where his body was lying. And now go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.
Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb.
They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message.
As they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshipped him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
The same story is told in the book of Luke chapter 24:1-12
[vs 11 but the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings: then he went home again, wondering what had happened.]
(remember Peter had denied him three times, so he was very eager to see him and perhaps say ‘he was sorry.’)
The leading priest and Pharisees thought they could stop the stone from moving, but God had another plan.
The day was dark and the nights were sad for the disciples and others who had watched the scene unfold.
They had seen Jesus taken away from the garden where he had prayed.
They had realized the rooster crowed and Peter denied Jesus just as Jesus said he would.
Judas was deep into his own despair after turning Jesus over to the soldiers. (Later he would hang himself.)
So much had taken place leading up to the day of the cross.
Jesus went through much torture and pain; knowing how much it was going to affect everything.
Mary stood by and watched her first born son die not fully understanding how the story would end for them.
The whole idea of crucifixion is wicked and horrific and it was awful for the disciples to see it happen.
The mob had roared; yelling crucify him. There was nothing the disciples could do within the panic of the moments.
In the book of Matthew it lays out the details; scene after scene. Matthew 27: reading through the 28th chapter.
I found it interesting and I am not sure I ever read it before, where Pilate’s wife sent him a message as he was dealing with Jesus, saying, “Leave that innocent man alone.
I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.” Matthew 27:19
Pilate gave him over and washed his hands of the responsibility before the crowd.
Jesus was crucified on the cross.
We know the day darkened around the noon hour. It says it fell across the whole land. (Have you ever seen the darkened skies? kind of eerie)
He let go of his spirit and it was over. The veil in the sanctuary tore from top to bottom, the earth shook, and rocks split apart.
It was complete chaos and the soldiers standing nearby said it was truly ‘the Son of God.’
(remember they had seen and experienced many crucifixions before, THIS one was different)
The disciples knew it was over. They had great fear and remorse as they all had left him in his greatest need, just as HE said they would.
Self preservation sometimes makes us do things we never thought we would do.
I would imagine they had to realize their lives were to go back to where they started, before he called them to follow him.
The grief they had experienced alongside their great disappointment that HE would be with them I would also imagine to be too much.
The day was dark and the nights were sad, as the stone was placed in front of the tomb.
The last moments shared together; Jesus was feeling not only the loss of friends he so deeply loved; but I believe the weight of the cross before him was a great burden.
During the last supper he predicted who would fail him and deny him.
Of course the disciples were in disbelief that any of them would deny him.
Matthew 26:30 [On the way, (to the mount of olives) Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’] Of course they all denied that truth and especially Peter saying he would never desert him.
But Jesus put him straight and said, “tonight you will deny me three times before the rooster crows that you even knew me.”
Jesus KNEW what was coming.
In the garden of Gethsemane his heart was heavy and he knew so much was going to take place.
He told them, [“MY soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”]
[He prayed “Father! if it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”]
He returned and found the disciples sleeping.
[He asked, “couldn’t you watch with me one hour?”]
Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, [“My Father! if this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.]
He went back to the disciples and found them sleeping for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.
[So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look-the time has come.
The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, My betrayer is here!”]
(Jesus was speaking about Judas who was once a disciple.)
Just as in the birth of Jesus when the players lined up to allow the scripture to be fulfilled.
This was the very same way, all the players had a role in this very important scene.
The time had come, and the moments were now.