Holding On

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I wrote the following words on January 11, 2015 in my piece titled, Our Spring is coming

“We are looking forward to the end of this storm, this winter that we are in.  We are looking forward to seeing all the signs of spring and new life…The crocus’ poking up from beneath the snow, the sun shining brighter, the patches of snow disappearing and the grass greening.

We are looking forward to spring with the hope of being home where we can live out what the medical staff is calling our new normal.”

As spring and the promise of new life arrived, we received the results of Bob’s spinal fluid and bone marrow biopsies, CANCER FREE!  Two of the most beautiful words that we’ve ever heard!

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Through the sovereignty of God and our son, Scott, agreeing to God’s plan through his bone marrow donation, Bob received a second chance at life; a rebirth so to speak.

After 8 months in this medical community, we thought by now we could make plans to return home but Bob is fighting an intestinal infection.  The transplant knocked down his immune system so it will be an uphill climb for a year from the date of his transplant.  The complete recovery process, at times, is grueling.  What would be a minor illness for you or me, becomes serious for Bob.

What we have learned through this experience, right from the beginning, is that we never know what tomorrow may bring so we must hold tight to the ONE who holds tomorrow in His hands.

In the middle of our own medical odyssey, my dad had a heart attack and a stroke and is recovering nearby.

We’re a little battle fatigued but remain hopeful.

Our hope lies in the one who holds tomorrow in His hands and those hands are holding both of the special men in my life…my husband and my father.

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I wrote a poem years ago that I completely forgot about until I received a letter in the mail recently.  The letter came from a mission publication stating that they were going to publish my poem.  It was an unexpected surprise.  A gift of God’s timing.  Here are those words:

Rejoice and Be Glad

Springtime brings new energy
And all nature is refreshed;
The veil of winter lifted,
Feeling by the sun, to be caressed.

The earth begins to come alive
As presenting a new song
And all that is within us
Begins to sing along.

God paints the earth with greenery
And colors every flower,
Showcasing birds against blue skies
With a demonstration of His power.

Somewhere deep within the heart
There’s a joy we can’t contain;
Surrounded by spring’s newness,
Hope and happiness remain.

Skipping to the beat of spring
Floods the soul with peace.
After the wilderness of winter,
God brings us sweet relief.

God is bringing us sweet relief slowly from our winter wilderness.  What was buried beneath the winter of our souls, is emerging stronger, resilient, joyful and thankful.

Many of you have been part of this second chance at life for Bob — especially through your prayers — and for that we are thankful.  We are thankful to God and to all of you.  And now we wait in hope for God to clear up Bob’s infection and make his recovery complete.

Blessings,

Nancy

We are artists

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Did you know that we are all artists?

We don’t have to write, draw, paint, sculpt to be one either.

We’ve been created by the master artist to become like him and he is certainly creative.  Look at us, look at nature ~ the trees, the flowers, the earth, the sea, the sky.  You don’t have to look far to find the wonder of his art.

He spoke this world into being but he breathed life into you and me to become image bearers.

He declared that all his work was good but we are different, because in his declaration he made it known that we humans, male and female, are not just good but very good. 

He put the very good stamp of approval on us as image bearers and gave us work to do ~ that’s our art.

Even when his image became tainted in us he gave us another chance to be created anew through Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10

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Some versions use the word workmanship instead of masterpiece.

The words masterpiece and workmanship are translations from the original Greek word poiema ~ where our English word poem originates.

We are God’s masterpiece, workmanship, works of art, poem.

We are His poiema.

We, the created, are expressions of his creativity and his poetry comes out through us.  We are poems.  Uniquely put together to add something beautiful to our world.

Wherever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever we express pours out from the pouring in of the Spirit of God.

We are moving, walking, breathing, living poetry.

We are all artists expressing ourselves in and through the work that he planned and prepared for us long ago.

Each of us will express it differently through different mediums but we’re all poems shining out, through our work, for the glory of God.

In the beginning God designed us for work.

Jesus didn’t change that.  He pours his life into open and willing vessels and what comes out of the vessel is art.  His poetry to the world.

Some of us are writers, some may even write poetry, some may express their art through painting, drawing, sculpting but most of us express God’s poetry in just ordinary everyday ways.  Just like Jesus did.

  • He worked in his father’s carpenter shop
  • He walked
  • Told stories
  • Spent time with prostitutes and other sinners
  • He attended weddings
  • He Healed
  • He fished
  • He laughed
  • He wept
  • He grieved
  • He loved
  • He was compassionate
  • His compassion sometimes led to tough love
  • He enjoyed life
  • He spent time with friends
  • He prayed

He and his father were one.  He stayed close to his father, listened to his voice and lived out his mission through him.

It’s in the everyday, the day-to-day that we best express his poetry too.

When my younger brother died unexpectedly two years ago, one expression of love and compassion that still touches my heart were the friends and extended family that showed up for his visitation with food.  There was a lounge/kitchen area where meat, bread, croissants, sandwiches, fruit, desserts, coffee, soda and much more were spread out on counters.  And the food kept pouring in all day long.

We, my brother’s family and many visitors, didn’t have to leave the funeral home on that long hard day to go out to eat.  Many people met our needs, not only through nourishing our souls with comfort and encouragement but through meeting our physical needs with food.  They were the living, breathing poem of God.

When my oldest son had pneumonia at the age of 14, and his doctor told us that a few days of intravenous antibiotics in the hospital should clear up his infection, we were hopeful since the oral pills didn’t touch it.

As one day led to another and his infection wasn’t clearing up, tubes were inserted into his chest to try and drain the fluid. Then the unthinkable happened.  His lung collapsed and consultations with specialists ensued.   Surgery, ICU and lots of prayer finally brought healing after 30 days in the hospital.

My mother came and stayed with us and cared for our 4-year-old son as Bob and I spent many days and long nights at the hospital.  My sister, Judy, took a week off to stay and helped out too.  Both were living, breathing poems of God.

There were many others from our church ~ including our pastor ~ who gathered around Scott’s hospital bed for prayer and friends visited and helped wherever they could.  Two elders from our church came daily and spent hours with us in the hospital.  God’s poetry was pouring out through their lives.

The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. Vincent Van Gogh

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I don’t know what it does for you to grasp that you are God’s masterpiece, his poiema, his created poem, but for me it’s liberating to know that he has a perfect plan to live creatively through me.   And he directs me with the desires he plants in me to go out and live it.

Being his workmanship doesn’t mean we are all poets.  It means we are all poems, individual created works of a creative God.  And this poetry comes out uniquely through us as we worship, think, love, pray, rest, work, and exist.
Jesus reminds us we are art and empowers us to make art.
There isn’t only one right way to do the job of glorifying God.  There are many ways, a million little ways, that Christ is formed in us and spills out of us into the world.  Emily Freeman

Let’s go live our art and let our created poems shine!

Blessings,

Nancy


All photos are mine and were taken in my yard.  Scripture from the NLT Bible.