Dancing Through Life

Life is a dance,
Full of joy, sorrow and grace.

Sometimes we feel like doing a reel,
And sometimes we feel like dancing in place.

We never know what music will come,
As we dance through this thing we call life,
But if we keep dancing and give it our all,
We’ll find in the end a beautiful waltz
That ends all our struggles and strife.


Over the past weekend, my family experienced a huge loss as a dear friend of ours who was actually living in our basement, passed away. He went in his sleep, so his dancing here has ceased, but I know he’s dancing in heaven.

We all have ups and downs and turnarounds in our lives. That is, we do if we live very long at all and get involved in the world and with people around us. The ups keep us encouraged and hopeful. The downs remind us that life on this earth isn’t perfect and is only temporary. However, if we keep on keeping on, never ceasing to improve our dance steps/actions and selves, we know in the end, we’ll find peace.

I, myself, believe I have found salvation and peace through Jesus Christ, God’s son. I believe that He was crucified, died, and then rose again so that all who believe in Him might rise again after we die and live eternally too. For some people, that sounds like too fantastic a story, too unbelievable to accept. Some people call it a fable, a myth, a fairy tale. I call it the most beautiful example of love I’ve ever heard of and so…I take the risk. I accept the story and the gift of Jesus. My prayer is that when I pass away, I will keep on dancing, but my partner will be Jesus. I think Chuck is dancing with Jesus right now, happy, free, and completely devoid of pain. That gives me peace and joy. I pray it will give you peace too, knowing there is someone (God) who loves you so much that He let his son die for you.

God bless you all and may your Christmas be merry and bright!

D. Elaine Wood-Lane
December 14, 2016

Advertisements

Log Jam

 

image

My life is so crowded,
It is jammed like an old dam,
when the river runs faster
than the narrow strait will allow.

Ideas, like logs, get bottlenecked.
Feelings move so swiftly,
it is hard to know which one
to let through first.

Chores stack up like cordwood,
all needing to be burned through,
but it’s hard to know which one
to pick up first.

People, like the ephemera of
the River of Life,
get stuck on the big logs,
awaiting a chance
to move through the dam,
free, happy, healthy,
floating or flowing
as they are meant to do.

Ideas, feelings, chores.
I guess the only thing to do,
like dealing with a jammed up dam,
is to remove the first log
and see what comes next.

Always do the next right thing,
for the person nearest you now.
Love one another.
If you have love,
the next right thing
for the next right person,
will come to you,
and the dam will become unjammed…

© D. Elaine Wood-Lane
6/14/16


With 24/7 news coverage, work, home and family responsibilities, we can easily be overwhelmed. There are too many problems or opportunities for us to be able to focus on what comes next.

I’ve felt a wee bit overwhelmed as this week started with bad news about the shooting in Florida and the realization that so many people could be killed by one man with condemnation in his heart. I want to have all the answers so nothing like this happens ever again. I want to love family and friends more deeply effected by this tragedy. I want to know how to show my love and sympathy without seeming to be a rubbernecker looking at a horrendous car accident. Uncertainty slows down my responses, just like logs slow down and jam up in a beaver-built dam. Then I realize I still have clients to see, work to do, housework to catch up, writing to do, and the next thing I know I’m completely blocked. Ideas, emotions, work, housecleaning, all get jumbled together and stop. What to do, what to do? Set priorities. People come first. Then emotions and ideas. Then action. The dam unjams. I’m praying your personal dams remain clear of debris this week. If not, do the next right thing for the nearest next person. (This idea, I must admit, came from Leo Tolstoy.)

John 13:34 (NIV)

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (This command came from Jesus.)

Peace and love, Elaine

Jesus!/NaPoWriMo Day 7

image

Oh, how I love Jesus!
He took away my sins,
Refilling me with purist joy.

Once filled with sensuous joy,
erased by my risen Jesus,
who bleached white my bloody sins.

Shameful days of selfish sins,
giving only passing, empty joy,
Soul now filled with Jesus.

Jesus washed my sins away, filling my soulful days with true, eternal joy.

© Elaine Wood-Lane
4/7/16


image12

Today’s challenge was to write a Tritina poem. A Tritina poem has three line stanzas  with the final word of each line being one of three words in an ABC, CAB, BCA form with a final concluding line including all three words. My three words were, obviously, joy, Jesus, and sins.

A New Perspective

As I sit here drinking my coffee in my humble, but thoroughly middle class American home, I think of all of those people, Christians in particular, who go through hell and back just they don’t fit the mold of their neighborhoods, towns, and countries. Can you imagine being told you cannot remain true to your faith and that if you do, you will be tortured or killed? Can you imagine having to meet for bible study in secret hideaway places, praying as you do that your group of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will come to no harm simply because they wanted to worship God and study His word? I cannot really imagine these things, even though it is undeniably true that these things are occurring in other parts of the world.

I’m currently reading I am N, which is a series of essays about Christian individuals living in Muslim countries and the persecution and dangers they face every day just because they decided to follow Christ. There are two very provocative common themes in most of these essays. First, they don’t hate Muslims, but forgive and pray for their Muslim persecutors daily. They do this even if family or friends have been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Christians in persecuted areas of the world seem to have read the gospel more thoroughly and have absorbed it into their souls so deeply that they would rather die than judge others or let others go without hearing about the saving grace of Christ Jesus their Lord.

The second provocative theme in these essays is that they beseech, seek and even beg for the prayers of their brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. They are doing magnificent work in responding to the Great Commission under horrible, almost unbelievable circumstances and all they ask from their fellow Christians, us, is that we pray that they may reach more people for Christ before they are captured or, worse, killed. They truly have found the “peace that passes all understanding” and taken the Great Commission seriously. The Great Commission came from Christ in Mark 16:15-20 (NIV)

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Oh, that more of us would have the strength of faith and grit found in our fellow believers in persecuted nations! We feel persecuted here in the U.S. if someone teases us sarcastically about believing in “Jesus and all those other myths and fairy tales.” Even though we are uncomfortable in those situations, we don’t ever fear being jailed, tortured, or killed as a result of them. Our greatest persecution here in the U.S. is that someone might find out we’re a Christian and then tease us, openly mock our faith or at the worst, think we are uncool, foolish, and close-minded.

I almost envy those who are being persecuted for following Jesus because they have a faith that is vital to them; so vital in fact that they are willing to die for it. Would you die for Christ? Would you willingly and knowingly subject yourself, your family and friends to danger for your faith? If not, you need to read I Am N. It will change your whole perspective on your faith and your life.

Please pray daily for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith. That’s all they are requesting from us. I expect God is asking us for much more than that. What do you think?

image

Let Your Love Shine!

“Romans 12:9-21 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

http://olivetree.com/b1/Rom.12.9-21.ESV

This is one of my very favorite passages in the bible. (I think, even if you’re not a Christian, this is good advice.) We live in a mean world where people are killed, maimed, raped, degraded, debased, and ignored every single day. Perhaps you feel as though you’re not ever seen or thought of by others, but, you are! Every single day people see you and get an impression of who you are and what you believe through your actions, attitude, and even facial expression. Now, here’s my question for you. If today was your last day on earth and it was the last time your family, friends and even strangers were to see you, what would you want them to see and remember forever? Every person’s answer will be different, but I will tell you what I want people to see in me. I want people to see a positive influence, a sweet smile, a loving touch, a person generous with love, comfort, helpfulness and maybe even a little colorful zaniness that makes them laugh for a moment. I want to be a person who, even if for just one minute, helps others forget all the meanness in the world. I want them to see someone who leaves them with hope, love, peace and a sense of “they matter.” I want them to see God’s love through my actions.

God loves EVERYONE, not just Christians, people like us, people in our political party or of our sexual orientation or ethnicity. GOD LOVES EVERYONE. His son, Jesus, revealed that love in everything he said and did every day of his ministry. Jesus revealed his love for us through the awful torture he willingly endured on that Friday thousands of years ago, and through rising from the dead on the third day. That’s what real love looks like! If God is love and we claim to love God, our mission every day becomes bigger than how we want people to see us or remember us. Our mission is to show God in everything we do. If we follow the instructions from Romans 12:9-21, we will be showing people God. God who is love, love and more love. So, the next time you see or meet someone, whether they be people like you or people completely different from you, show some love, even if only through your smiling eyes. I know this is a rather preachy post, but I say all these things out of love. Love is something special only if you give it away. I promise you, you’ll end having more love than you could ever imagine. You can start giving away love by following the instructions of Romans 12: 9-21.

 I’ll hush now before your eyes glaze over. I love all of you very much and pray that you have a blessed Easter weekend!

Elaine 

 This is a photo I took this morning just before dawn. Even though it was cold, snowy and mostly dark, look at what was shining through!  
   

Ok, this may sound a little weird, but hang with me for just a little bit. I’ve been away from my home for 16 days, in other countries, having the time of my life. I left behind one of the very best friends I’ve ever had in my life and he only weighs 12 pounds on a heavy day. This little best friend is my pet Chihuahua mix breed dog, Buddy. Buddy is ten years old and I’ve had him for all of but five months of those ten years. I found him freezing cold and starving at a truck stop the day after Christmas, 2005. I ended up not being able to resist picking him up and thought I was taking him to the Humane Society in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but instead took him into my heart. I’ve missed the little guy since we were over in western Europe, but knew he was missing me probably even more. He tends to do that when I’m gone. We’re pretty attached to each other I guess. So, that’s the first part of this story.

The second part of this story is that I have a lot of foot, leg, hip, and back pain when I’m on my feet for very long. (That is part of my fibromyalgia/arthritis issues.) Also, I have very, very dry feet so it’s not uncommon for my feet, especially my heels, to crack and bleed when I’m on them for any length of time. I’ve tried all the cures known to doctors and Pinterest, but without a lot of success. While we were on our trip, we walked and walked and walked and…you get the picture. Considering how much we walked, I did really well until the last two or three days. Somewhere in the Louvre my feet, etc. decided they were done and I started hurting. Last night by the time we got to the hotel in Boston after a full 20 hours of walking in airports and flying across the Atlantic, I took off my shoes and my feet had been bleeding without me even realizing it.

Now comes the third part of the story. Today we finally arrived home and my Buddy went nuts with excitement! He was SO happy to see me that he nearly licked my chin and cheeks right off. (He knows he isn’t allowed to lick me on the mouth, but my chin is fair game! Ha!) Anyway, I was sitting in my chair, going through the mountain of mail I received while we were gone and suddenly I notice that Buddy is licking my foot. I look down and once again my feet had cracked and bled. I tried to stop Buddy from licking my feet, but he looked up at me with such a look of love and devotion, I let him continue. He completely, entirely cleaned up my ugly, swollen, cracked feet. I know this sounds gross, but it was really very reviving. Then he climbed into his favorite position by my side in our chair and fell asleep.

So, where am I going with this? As Buddy fell asleep by my side, I suddenly thought of the following story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before the last supper they would ever have together:

John 13:3-8
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

I’ve read this story hundreds of times, heard sermons and bible studies devoted to it, and often wondered how Jesus could wash someone else’s dirty, gross feet when they walked everywhere they went. I especially wondered this in light of the fact that Jesus is God’s son and by all rights should have asked his disciples to wash his feet. He was about to give up his life for them and the world and yet he washed their feet? That always completely blew my mind and baffled me. I’ve always thought he was demonstrating a servant’s attitude to them so they would know how to be with others after he was gone. Jesus said, though, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

When Buddy was washing my feet earlier and looked up at me with so much love and devotion, I finally got it! I am Buddy’s person. I belong to him. He loves me with a depth of devotion that we don’t see often in this life. Jesus was telling his disciples they are his. They, and we, belong to Jesus. He loves us with a depth of devotion we can’t even begin to fathom.

Yes, Jesus died for us, but he also loves us so much that he would wash our feet just as he washed the disciples’ feet. All of us who’ve read stories or seen movies where the hero dies for his/her soul mate, best friend, fellow soldiers, country or ideals understand that concept. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, right? Ok, how many of those same heroes would wash others’ dirty, smelly, cracked, bleeding feet though? Jesus did and Jesus would.

For the record, I’m not saying Buddy is equal to Jesus, obviously. Dogs do exhibit a lot of love and devotion to their “people,” however, that people don’t sometimes. I think it’s remarkable that the Son of God was/is willing to lower himself to the same level as a little Chihuahua dog, though, to show his love and devotion to us. Jesus is crazy about us and there isn’t anything he won’t do to prove it.

With that, this jet-lagged nut is going to rest for a while.

Peace and love, always, Elaine

Sharing A Blog Post I Found Remarkable

The link below is to a blog that I follow regularly.  The author’s name is Susan Irene Fox and she describes herself as a fairly new Christian.  I like what she writes, but this morning her post struck me as exactly what I’ve been thinking and praying about lately.  There is so much judgement in society from everyone about everything.  It seems like in our world of instant media and communication, people have forgotten some of the basics of human respect for one another.  There seems to be an especially ugly component between some very vocal Christians and non-Christians.  Both sides think they are right and don’t really listen to the other side at all.  The result of this is that Christians have been generalized into this stereotypical harsh, judgemental, intolerant people that all think and believe the same things regarding societal issues of today.  I’ve chafed under this stereotype because it isn’t who I am or who I believe Jesus has called me to be.  Like I said above, Susan’s post this morning seemed to express exactly what I’ve been thinking, praying and studying about lately.  I asked if she would mind if I posted a link to her post on my blog and she was happy to comply.  I hope it is a blessing to you as it was to me.

http://susanirenefox.com/2015/05/15/the-dignity-of-love/

Thanks for following my blog and I hope you will follow Susan’s as well.  She has some really good things to say and to inspire us as we follow Jesus.