Quilts of Love

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I will admit I do not read fiction very often. But every once in a while, I find myself wanting to get lost in a story, engrossed in the lives and events of others. I have been enjoying the blog of Emily T. Wierenga for some time. So when I heard she had written a novel, I did not hesitate to pre-order it.

a-promise-in-pieces-cover“A Promise in Pieces” was a wonderful and heartwarming story covering a span of fifty years in the life of Clara, a nurse during WWII. It is a story of family dynamics, heartbreak and love, loneliness and friendships, purpose and destiny. I found myself drawn to each of the characters, loving them and wanting them to find the happiness they longed for with each other.

Emily weaves the events so emotionally rich. She brought a deeper understanding and appreciation of a war which occurred before my lifetime. Emily unfolds a picture of the pain and horrors of war through the thoughts of Clara, who cares for the injured viewing them as “someone’s baby who once laughed and gurgled and rolled.” (page 41)

We come to understand there is a godly balance between both love and justice.

We discover that trust truly is “learned and practiced in the moment” (page 61). Perhaps only moment by moment.

Clara’s desire, to bring a home made quilt to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, takes her on a trip which includes each member of her family. “A Promise in Pierces” is the story of this special quilt. We come to gain a beautiful picture of life through the insights Clara shares about her quilt and her own life …

I could see the pieces of the quilt forming; the patches of my life, all there, and God sewing them together with tender threads. (page 124)

This is a story of hope, the chance to do life again, to do it over. It is a story of love and forgiveness. And of coming full circle.

This is the story about Oliver as much as it is of Clara. Oliver, a quiet sort of a man, who teaches us it is possible to be “quiet and yet love the Lord with a loud kind of love”. In fact, Oliver will challenge us to become just this very sort of person.

This was a book I did not want to come to finish as I did not want to close the cover on each of its characters. It was a book which brought comfort and promise through each page demonstrating that in spite of the messes we seem to create, each of us will leave a mark on this world.

I highly recommend this book to you for your own reading pleasure. I purchased this book for myself and am sharing a review because it is a story which should be shared. I loved reading this book and so will you!

**Emily T. Wierenga is a journalist, a columnist and blogs at emilywierenga.com. I hope you will visit her blog as you will quickly come to love all she which she shares.

Today I am joining … Three Word Wed. and Wed. Prayer Girls and Wedded Wed. and Wordless Wed. and Works For Me and Wholehearted Wed. and Winsome Wed. and Whimsical Wed. and Imperfect Prose and Words of Life Wed. .

This I Know

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ID-1008618(photo from freedigitalphotos.net/Gregory Szarkiewicz)

As I cleaned the bathrooms, my thoughts began to weave around conversations had with a friend. It began last Wednesday over dinner during which we were discussing our one word for the year. One of us jokingly commented, “Do you think it would be OK to pick a new word mid year?” The truth was neither of us was very much liking the words we had selected. The lessons connected to the words were hard ones. We were thinking we should have picked easier words – like laughter, or love, or chocolate. Our reasoning was if God was going to take our words as seriously as He seemed to be, we might as well work it in our favor. Or for our pleasure. Or at the very least, for our comfort.

We were joking of course.

She stopped in for some coffee and conversation and we continued ….

The conversation was fun. We were laughing as we chatted about weight loss, hairless legs, and chin hairs that seemed to grow overnight. What can I say? What else are women of our age to discuss over coffee?

And then she asked for my Bible as she wanted to read me something she had read that morning from Job. She read Job Chapter 23 aloud.

Job was a man who spoke freely with God. He tells God straight out, in the beginning of this chapter, that his complaint is a bitter one. He knows God will listen and be fair with Job. Job is also certain of this …

He knows where I am going. And when he test me, I will come out as pure as gold. (Job 23:10)

Did you catch it?

Job may not have understood all that had occurred in his life or the reasons but one thing he knew for certain was – -  God knew where he was going.

In the dark times. In the midst of uncertainties. When we wish life was handing us a different scenario. God still knows where He is taking us. Nothing is uncertain or hidden from Him. And Job continues …

So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny. (Job 23:14)

Job rested in the confidence God had a plan. He also trusted in the One who controlled his destiny.

We continued talking, my friend and I. We talked unemployment, current family health concerns, financial worries, the job market, fatigue. We had no remedies to the situations before us. But this we concluded …

We want to be like Job. We want to rest in this truth -

God has a plan for each of our lives.

He has a plan for your life.

Trust the One who controls our destiny.

For He is trustworthy!

ID-100180663-1(photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Gualberto 107)

I am joining with … Soli Deo Gloria and Testimony Tues. and Playdates With God and Unite and Titus 2 Tuesday and Tell Me a Story and Teaching What Is Good and Titus 2sday .

 

Lent 2014

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I did not grow up practicing Lent. As an adult, there have been years I have practiced Lent and some where I did not.

I am not sure how it all quite happened but this season, I chose to lay down two things:

  • I gave up bread so I would focus on Christ: The Bread of Life and
  • I gave up self-promotion of my posts

And here is what I learned ….

Each of these presented challenges for very different reasons. Each of these taught me lessons for which I was not anticipating. Lent is difficult.

I gave up bread to focus on Christ, The Bread of Life and was unsuccessful at times. I was but a few days into Lent when, at lunch with my grandchildren, I ate a roll. It never even occurred to me what I had ingested until it was long gone. The second time, also at a restaurant, I ordered a pastrami sandwich ( I was hankering for pastrami) and had a lengthy conversation with the waitress on the choices of bread. Again, it had somehow slipped my mind about bread and Lent.

ID-100254298(photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/amenic 181)

I also gave up self-promoting of my posts which may seem like such an insignificant thing but loomed larger than imagined. In a time when numbers, platforms, and growth seem to center around blogging, I chose silence. I gave myself certain parameters thinking it would be easy. Unknown to me, at the time, were opportunities which God would compel me to pass up. Insecurity began to grip me causing me to feel I was insignificant and invisible.

ID-100211187(image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles)

And now the Lenten season is over. I can eat bread. I can participate in social media to my heart’s content.

Or can I?

I am finding myself changed. Is that not the purpose of Lent?

I learned the expected lessons …

  • Lent is challenging.
  • I will fall short. OK, I will fail.
  • I cannot do it on my own.
  • I need God in my life more than I could have ever known.

I knew I would learn these lessons. Or perhaps, I should say, I would relearn these lessons. For had I not learned these before? Yet, once again, I was recognizing these lessons and felt truly appreciative of the reminder. Of my humanness. Of my frail self. Of my great need of a Savior – every single day.

This morning as I reflect on Lent, I felt to turn and read of an encounter Jesus had one day while traveling.

A young man approached Jesus and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus responds, pretty much, by telling him he must not break the ten commandments.

The young man responds, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” And here is where it gets even more interesting …

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done, “ he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this, the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (entire story is found in Mark 10:17-22, NLT)

This story is truly not solely about the riches. It is about loving God wholeheartedly. Much like the rich, young ruler, we all tend to think we already love God with all our heart. We may not even realize other things have wiggled their way into our lives and won over our affections.

This story teaches me that nothing can come before God. God requires the removal of anything we may place before or above God. God insists we remove idols and give Him the place in our hearts reserved for Him alone.

LoveIdol_FC_Endorsement_101413In her book, Love Idol, Jennifer Dukes Lee shared this prayer …

Dear God, let my words and my life honor You. I’m willing to fall flat on my face if it brings glory to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (page 252)

Somewhere over the last forty days, these very words became my prayer as well. I want my words and my life to honor Him. To bring Him glory. And it took me falling flat on my face, in surrender not failure, to realize it. But perhaps, this is the very place He desires for each of us to be – our lives flat out before Him in surrender and adoration.

Truly no better place to be.

Today I am joining … Hear It, Use It and Sharing His Beauty and Motivation Mon. and Inspire Me Mon. and Making Your Home Sing and Living Proverbs 31 and Mon. Musings and The Modest Mom and Inspire Me Monday .

Thank You, God

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ID-10013955-1(photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/bela_kiefer)

“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9, 10)

 

Have a most blessed Easter!

Today I am joining with … Still Saturday and Sunday Stillness and Spiritual Sundays and The Sunday Community and A Scripture & a Snapshot .

May You Remember

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This is Holy Week. The time when we pause to reflect upon the week leading to the Cross. My hope is that we each have taken time to slow down and truly meditate on all the Christ endured so that we each might live in freedom all of our days. And so today, I want to share my favorites found this week centering upon Easter. So from ….

1) Shelly Hendricks – RenewedDaily.com ….10157109_10154022778865508_1982413432769237846_n

 

2) Ann Voskamp – annvoskamp.com …

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3) Holly Barrett – hollybarrett.org …

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4) Jennifer Dukes Lee – jenniferdukeslee.com …

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5) Shelly Miller – redemptionsbeauty.com …

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There you have it – 5 memes to remind you of all that was accomplished for each one of us.

But sometimes we need to hear. We need to hear a song to stir our hearts and move us. We need our memories awakened and our faith stirred so we remember.

 

May you grab a cup of coffee. Sit a while. Think about all of it. And listen to the song. Once. Twice. Perhaps more. Until you remember …

“Oh, Fear not!”

“He. Is. Risen!”

Today I am joining with … The Weekend Brew and Recommendation Saturday and The SITS Sharefest and The Friday Five and Make My Saturday Sweet and Saturday Linky Love .

The Glue

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{{Today is Friday!!!  It is the day I link with Lisa Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Here is how it works…. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. We all write on the same word.}

Today the word is … Glue.

Who knew when I married young, I would need glue? Not only did I marry young, but it was the first time living away from my parents. First time I lived out of the Bronx. First time living away from my church and friends and people who I knew l loved me.

Who knew I would need so much glue?

I needed glue on those days when….

  • I cut my finger cooking my first meal and needed my very first stitches
  • I had to walk with the floors with my firstborn having never even changed a single diaper, not ever. I had never heard of colic and she had it 24/7 for a very long time.
  • I miscarried
  • on bed rest for my entire pregnancy with my second born
  • someone I looked up to, failed many of us
  • through surgeries of family members
  • a loved one enters eternity

And then there was the night I need glue when I was alone in our first home with our two small children, husband out of town and the septic backed into our basement – about two feet deep everywhere. Like who knew, that when you flushed the toilet it was not washed away, never to be seen again? Who would want to store it in their yard and grow grass on top of it? Like seriously, I grew up in the Bronx and had never heard or imagined of such a thing.

And then life continued and I needed glue on those days I watched …

  • Desert Storm unfold on our television before my eyes. All night. I couldn’t shut it off and go to sleep.
  • the tsunami in Indonesia
  • horrific school shootings
  • 911
  • the Boston Marathon tragedy

See what I mean? I need glue and lots of it.

I am grateful for an endless supply of glue.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)

He is the Glue.

photo-128He is my Glue!

Today I am joining with … Five Minute Friday and Fellowship Fri. and Faith Filled Fri. and Essential Fri. and Fri. Flash Blog and Beauty Observed and Everyday Jesus and Friendship Fri. .