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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Remembering

It finally happened, I have joined those who begin conversations, "I remember when..." or "That reminds me!" I have joined those seeing that "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9.

It would be so easy to live each day remembering what was, rather than what will be. Yet I see the past as lessons learned and the wonder of the future as, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24.

In rejoicing, one must give thanks, as I Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, "Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

When I remember the past, I see the ways that God worked in my life. Always, I can see God's hand in those around me - family and friends. No, I consciously look - for God's hand in the lives around me and in our country. Psalm 16:6 says, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

These words were the basis of the book that Anna Daisy Siemens wrote about her family. Clinging to God's promises and His Word, despite heartache, created a delightful inheritance that goes beyond this life. An inheritance that is taught from generation to generation - Joel 1:3 - "Tell it to your children and let your children tell it to their children, to the next generation."

What is the language used to relay the information from generation to generation? Music. Music that relays a message of beauty, of delight, that comforts and in melody and rhythm and lyrics relays the message of eternity. Music is not an exercise of the preciseness of notes. A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. ~Leopold Stokowski. Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach. All deep things are song. - Thomas Carlyle

I opened a box of memories yesterday. And I remembered....the heritage of music and faith. Mom's glasses, with the right lens covered with carefully cut white felt - then she could still read. A box of 'borders' to decorate her handmade calligraphed cards. A
pair of hand scissors, a lilac colored ribbon and two hair combs to hold back her hair, decorated with pink yarn.
A copy of Grandma Suderman's journal - precious words. And a variety of old music books, including a song from the Ausgewablte Lieder des Evangeliums (1927), Die Kleine Palme #2 (1900) and Die Melodien ber Frohen Botschaft - Gnadenfeld, (1884). The later book was brought to this country.

Mother wrote this poem, how did she know that I would write one day about memories.
Memory Sips
My mind returns to memory rooms
where love still blooms
in youthful ways
of yesterdays.
Three babies grew and romance came
to lay its claim.
Then papa died --
I wept and sighed.
Each afternoon I still am prone
to sit alone
for little sips
of memory trips.
Yes, I remember and rejoice for the faith, and strength in that faith, and look forward ever rejoicing in the path God has for me!


Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trust, Delight, Commit

Anna Daisy Suderman Siemens grew up on a farm in central Kansas, born July 4, 1907. She worked beside her Dad in the fields growing crops - plowing, harrowing, planting and harvesting. Anna had a love for the beautiful that included colors of flowers, the Evening Star in the night sky and the sounds of music. On her bedroom wall hung the painting of the guardian angel caring for the two children on the bridge.

Were all her experiences full of beauty? No. When she was five years old, her baby sister, Hilda died, and four years later at the age of nine, her little brother, Paul, died. When Paul was very ill, Anna's father took Anna and her older sister, Alma, into the barn where they knelt and prayed. Gerhard Suderman believed in prayer, he trusted God. That night he asked his daughters to pray for the life of Paul. He and his wife, Anna, had lost three children already and he could not bear to lose another.

That night Anna Daisy learned the power of prayer and trust in God, for after a season of prayer they left the barn. Her mother met them crying in thanksgiving, Paul's fever had broken. Later, Paul died, and Anna Daisy learned that sometimes Jesus says, "No."

Mother was irrepressible in her enthusiasm and willingness to do good for others. She gave thanks to God and delighted in his love for her, of
ten saying, "God spoils me, just like a little child!"

It is no wonder that her favorite verses in Psalm 37 delighted her and affirmed her faith in God:
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:4-6

Trust, Delight and Commit. Those were the words she lived by. Anna had eye surgery in Oklahoma City, and I was given her silver wedding rings to hold. She often circled the rings around her finger, remembering her love for her husband, who had gone to meet Jesus. I began to pack her belongings and took her home. As we ate the evening meal - I suddenly looked at my bare fingers. I ran to check everywhere and called the hospital. No wedding rings appeared. As Anna told a friend, she reminded her of the verse - Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

About a week later, I received a phone call - God led her to look one more time in her bag and she found the wedding rings. Before Anna died years later, she sent her rings to her youngest grandson, Matt, for his new bride. God is faithful.

How often I have thought of the words - Delight yourself in the Lord! When I think of those words, I see mind pictures of Anna skipping in delight (even after 80 years old) and wonder, her blue eyes sparkling with deep joy. Always it happened when a precious flower bloomed, fruit ripened on a tree, a row of canned fruit and vegetables lined the 'Siemens cellar' shelves, she was able to play a
difficult song without a mistake, she finished sewing a garment, she held her grandchildren and great grandchildren, her piano student played for church services, her home Bible Study group, or the words of her latest poem fell into place. Anna Daisy delighted in the Lord, for she knew Who blessed her and guided her each step of her life's journey.

Was Anna Daisy committed? Commitment extended from her heart to love God first, and she loved her neighbor as herself by pouring herself out for others. She loved her family - her three children, her parents and her five brothers and sisters. The family was united in loving God. The love story of my parents provided much joy for me through the years. They were totally committed to each other in trust and they delighted in being together up to the moment God separated them in death.

When I read Psalm 37, not only do I hear Anna Daisy's voice in my heart, my Mom, but I see how her life lived Psalm 37. The three words - Trust - Delight - Commit - I saw lived in Mom's life. When Mom lay in bed with her last illness, she said, "I just hope I can be decent about it." Decency for Mom was trusting God and she learned that from her mother, Anna Suderman, - when moving to the nursing home, said, "I just hope I can be decent about it."

This is what I pray, no matter what God allows to happen to me, "I hope I can be decent about it."

Trust - Delight - Commitment spells a full life of deep joy in Jesus Christ. And I pray I can do this:

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him!


Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God's Love Messages



How many times does God send us a 'love note' and we don't find it? Just before my Ed and I were married, he wrote me every day. I treasured those love letters because he wrote from his heart. The letters were filled with his dreams and visions for our life together. I knew he loved me, from his letters, but after we were married and life happened with four children in four years, seven moves, I sometimes forgot that there was this 'for life commitment' between us. I forgot how deep Ed's love is and continues to be.

Now after 58 years, going on 59, we are in the 'evening hours' of our life. And our love continues to deepen. We discussed our life two days ago, and decided that we are filled with contentment. And that is all we need.
Once when I followed Mom to her flower garden and she expressed her joy in the shape and color of the flower, I wondered why. It looked to me like a bit of color perched on a green stem. As I grew, I began to see flowers as more than color on a stem, I saw the varieties of design in different flowers. I knew that God created the earth, and everything on it, but until I tried to draw a rose did I see the intricacy of design in each flower. Even a tiny wild flower lifts its head in all its glory and gives praise to its Creator.

God's Love Messages might escape us, if we aren't aware of His Love. The fall after moving to northwest Arkansas, I drove by a grove of brilliant color. Hues of every shade made a brilliant display of fall color. I almost slammed on the brakes, and realized the danger of that. I gasped, " God, how can you do that? This is beautiful!" God loves color and design, the Master Designer.

One day I went to church, my mind on the work I needed to accomplish. Noting the Bradford Pear tree in full bloom, I thought, how beautiful and continued. With my foot on the first step, I was arrested by the sound of a cardinal perched in the tree of white blooms. I heard the bird say, "You're so pretty! You're so pretty!" I smiled and responded, "Thank you, God!"

A friend of mine posted pictures of flowers from her garden. I replied about the great Artist our God is. Her reply to me, "I know, and I say to Him, that's ever more beautiful than the last rose!"

So many times I feel that extraordinary tug at my heart when I see beauty, just when I need it most. It happens without warning, and now I wait for it for I know it is from God. When I attempt to get on the busy New Hope Road and the traffic is clear, I thank God. When I get a hug from a child, I remember how Jesus beckoned the children to come to him. When two young men offered to clean our gutters, I knew Who sent them? When I hear a song - that praises God, it becomes a 'love message' from Him.
Clothed in rainbows, of living color Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder - Blessing and honor, strength and Glory and power be To You the Only Wise King.

God speaks to us through His Word, and also through his blessings or love messages through our lives. As a teen, Mom called me to the back stoop of our house, to watch the sunset. It wasn't just the sunset, but before many stars came out, the Evening Star appears. When Mom was a little girl, she 'found' that star one evening and its brilliance brought her joy. She chose that star as her confidante. The other evening I happened to look into the west sky, and was astonished to see Mom's star. God knew I needed to be reminded just at that moment of His love, His majesty and how much He loves not only me, but all His children.

My Dad put up a Martin bird two story- house in the south yard after he retired. He enjoyed watching the birds returning home. After he died, Mom wrote:

I built a house for them
Ad watched them every evening
Winging home for night
And from my lounging chair
Set on green, green grass amid
Parading colors marching by
I watched their darting ways
Until my eyes were closed.
Now I wing and wheel the air
Above the house where I once lived.
My soul, torn from my pain-wracked flesh.
Is loosed and I am free.
With all the martins I can swoop
Above the garden I designed. (ADS)

God beckons us to Him with love notes of flowers, rainbows, smiles - reminders of His love - for each of us just when we need it most. How does He know when? He created each of us, and He created my inmost being; He knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13

A hug goes both ways and has intrigued me. When two people hug, they are both recipients of that hug. When we receive a 'hug' from God through His messages, it goes both ways. Do we send God a message of deep love? Are we struck silent in awe? Do we praise Him? Give thanks to Him? Read His Word?



Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Silence?

It was 1945. Mother just suggested that I paint a mural (my first) on the bedroom wall corner upstairs. As I readied what I would need left over paint in the garage, paint brushes and then I knew I needed the radio. Listening to the radio was a necessity when I was sixteen. I loved the songs popular in that era - "Sentimental Journey", "Til the End of Time", "Don't Fence Me In", "Laura", "You'll Never Walk Alone", "Accentuate the Positive" and "My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time" were my favorites then.

Frank Sinatra was singing his heart out and I was singing with him.....when Mother came to ask me to turn down the radio's volume down, and why did I listen to Frank Sinatra? Little did I know then that I would repeat this same scene with my children twenty years later. Frank Sinatra wasn't singing, but the Beatles were.

Mother often talked to me about the treasure of silence, since I seemed prone to surround my self with sound, before surround sound was even a thought. Silence is truly golden - a cliche of truth. As I sit in my home I hear the sound the humidifier, the refrigerator, the a/c or heater, depending on the season, the television, a truck outside, the neighbor's lawnmower in the summer, children playing, the washing machine and dryer. So far we have no succumbed to the ipod or hi-fi - although on command the computer can pour forth sound. Power-hungry machines made to help people live easier, but where is the healing silence? The constant 'connection' through cell phones create more beeps, music and various sounds.

Twenty-four hour news stations can depress anyone with a yen to listen. It seems that the more we listen to frenetic music and noise-filled environment, the more frantically mobile we are, as we criss-cross our section of the earth. I have always wondered if the vibration of voices of all the ages fill the universe - the gentle voices expressing love, hope, encouragement and kindness. Or perhaps the caustic voices that express hate, lust, turmoil and anger echo through space.


Last Sunday, Kevin gave a communion meditation. He stood in place before the podium. I glanced down at the next song I would play, but then looked up because Kevin had not yet begun. He stood silently for 30 seconds that seemed much longer. Thirty seconds.....of complete silence....before he began speaking. "Be still and know that I am God."

The Symphony of Creation was created and orchestrated by our Yahweh Lord. When David wrote in the 23rd Psalm, "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake," he knew the power of the Symphony of Creation. The thunder of storms rumbling in the distance, the call of birds on the wing, the ripple of water traveling in its banks, the animal sounds about us create a sense of peace that silences the cries of our heart.

The 'rests' in the Symphony of Creation speak to our souls. The rise and fall of the sun with the precision of a metronome, bright moonlight in a velvet sky, the stars that mark the skies with bits of light are all 'rests' in the creation. Who has not photographed a glorious sunset or sunrise with awe at the beauty? Who has not stopped to gaze upon the brilliant Evening Star in wonder? Men spend their lives photographing God's creation beyond world deep in the universe. How delighted we are when the 'rest' is seeing the opening of a rose or even a tiny yellow wild flower or the fruit given to a tree.

A quote by Mother Teresa says - "We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

The Giver of Salvation, The Author of Peace gives us words to follow in our lives. Words that are a balm to our souls:

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

Isaiah 32:17

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I Timothy 2:1-2

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Psalm 37:3-8


Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net