Monday, October 26, 2009

Like a Bird Wanders excerpt.

"Before reading this passage, I was afraid to die, now I'm not." A reader from Utah

Her lips parted, making an effort to speak to the Heavenly presence filling the room. Resplendent color overflowed every square inch, penetrating minute fibers of Grace's being, even her closed lids. Fragmented rays, brilliant with opulence, bounced off of each other, then mingled into jeweled shapes like the inside of a kaleidoscope. She opened her eyes, tried to raise her head. Too heavy. She so desired to reach out and touch the scarred hand extended to her, one chiseled perfectly like fine marble, emanating with the fullness of life. Peace pulsed in gentle undulations from the most exquisite being she'd ever encountered, while a fragrance light as air, flowed sweetly to Grace's last repose.

"Jesus, I knew you'd come." Her eyes blinked several times, fluttering like autumn's last leaf...drifting...drifting...  " You...Jesus." A slow, final sigh imitated the familiar breath of the morning breeze delicately rocking the windchime outside her window. No sign of struggle remained---only the graceful reflection of peace, her soul  now resting in the youth of eternity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm old, now what?

"Old" may be just a state of mind, but tell that to my body. It knows its old! It aches, and I'm pretty sure it can't get on a horse anymore. My new saying is this: "It is what it is!" That being the case what's next? Well, I'm praising God that my mind is reasonably sound and that I have the privilege of waking up every morning with the knowledge that I am loved by Him. This alone gives me courage to pray: "Here I am, send me." Then what? I wait. Though I'm well into my sixties (remember the photo of me has been photo shopped), God still has a plan for me. These are creative years and now I have time to pursue some deep passions, like writing.
I have time to give back to my family, including my granddaughters. I love picking them up for school, or going on a field trip, or taking them to Saturday garage sales. They don't care that I dye my hair, or still use words like "groovy." Or that I'm not always fashionable in the Berkies I wear daily.
Who ever we are, young or old, God will equip us for ministry. I once had a friend who didn't drive, and had some serious medical issues. She prayed constantly for others and wrote wonderful poetry, shared through a prison ministry. She was in her seventies at the time and called herself God's Little Sparrow. God doesn't want us to isolate ourselves, but share what we know about Him with others.
What will that look like in your life? I don't know. But, I do know that you have value in the Kingdom of God, and that the Kingdom of God is at hand!
Many blessings to you, Sharon

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Woman without a name.

She was an outcast half breed, shunned, despised...the lowest of the low. She'd given up trying to belong...well, for the most part. To avoid abuse and insults, she did outside chores in as much anonymity as possible.  The household needed water, but she waited until others left the city well.  One man remained, but she could wait no longer. With eyes down, she made the approach. 
Little did she know her destiny was about to change.
"Give me a drink."
Her head flew up and their eyes met. "How is that you being a Jew would ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink?" This had never happened. She looked around to see if anyone had heard the exchange. Severe punishment might await.
He told her that if she only knew who spoke to her, she could receive "living water."
"But sir, you have nothing to draw water, and where would you get this 'living water anyway.'" Perplexed, both hands went to her hips.
He told her that ordinary water only quenches for a little while, but the water that he could give  would bring everlasting life.
She couldn't take her eyes from his.  "Sir," she whispered, "I want this water you offer."
He then  said something strange. "Go, call your husband, and come here."
Her face burned with shame. "I have no husband."
Then the stranger, the Jew with unearthly kindness, looked into her soul  and spoke of the hidden things. How could this  possibly be?
Was he a prophet? Could he be the Messiah? "I who speak to you are He."
One encounter with the Messiah changed the woman with no name from despised and rejected to respected daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But why does the Bible leave out her name? I've thought about this a lot lately and I believe this: The Samaritan woman represents all women. Each of us has a need or a longing to be loved for who we are, to be accepted as a person of value. It's built in to us, one of our basic soul needs.
In all my years of counseling at the Pregnancy Resource Centers, there has been one ongoing theme: Looking for love in all the wrong places. That's what the Samaritan woman had done...marrying five times and living with a man. Yet still she thirsted, substituting sex for love. Our love requirements can never be filled by anything or anyone other than the love that Jesus offers us.
I'm so happy I know that and ever so grateful to have accepted the drink offering of the Messiah.
Signed, Sharon Bernash Smith, Princess

Friday, October 2, 2009

Secrets, can you keep them?

School mornings in our house often leaned toward the hectic. (Hectic is a polite word for chaos.) Chris, my youngest son told me one minute before the bus came that he needed notebook paper...yesterday. "I gotta have it or 'else.'"
"Maybe Randy has some in his room."
"Uh, probably not."
"Well, I'll check." Although I knew that finding any thing useful in my older son's room was low of the probability scale, I entered.
"Never mind Mom, I'll just borrow some at school." Chris ran down the stairs two at a time. Drama! (Girls, do NOT have a market on this.)
"Have a good"...door slam..."day." Turning to leave the bedroom, I spied an electrical chord snaking from the closet. Odd, I thought...(I'm very perceptive, even early in the morning.) Why would Randy need electricity in his closet? I slide the door open.
Inside, a rug hung decoratively on the end wall.  So, being the perceptive, early morning person that I was, I yanked it down.
There to my wondering eyes did reindeer...but a 3' by 3' gaping hole, neatly cut from the wallboard. By then, my mouth had fallen open nearly as wide. "Whaaaaaaaaaaa? (I should mention that I'm NOT as articulate as I am perceptive, early in the morning.)
Once inside I stood...on wooden floors. Previously the attic did not have a floor! How clever these little men.  "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?" More astute articulation. Well now, my lovely country home had a cave room. Not only that, but my children had kept a secret room from both their parents. Well lit, but well hidden.
My heart skipped several beats fearing I might find questionable reading material or a stash of cigarettes. Insead I found a couple of old chip bags, a dirty glass and a dried apple core that looked remarkably like Elvis...the old Elvis.
I promise that the above story is true as I remember it. O.K., the apple core did not really look like Elvis...more like Judy Garland...the old Judy Garland.
At the time I found the cave room, I was a brand new Christian, earnestly pursuing what it meant to be a born-again Christian. I was finding deep healing from my past within a relationship with Jesus, yet there were places I just didn't want to go.  My secret rooms had doors with signs that read, "Do not enter...too much pain inside."
God knew what those rooms contained, and He offered me His hand to hold. "Come Sharon, and I will give you rest." One by one, the contents of those secret rooms were brought into the light of God's healing power. Through trust I experienced deep and abiding healing. I'd been waiting for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus asks us to deal with our secrets, it's not to shame us or heap on more guilt. His purpose is to make us whole in Him. "Not by might and not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord," became my life scripture.
There are times I still try to hide, but there is no place that God is not will to go to bring me more healing. That's a promise good to the day He returns, or calls me Home.
I don't know about you, but for me it took more energy to keep the secrets than to deal with them. I've learned that healing is God's business and His passion.
How about you? How long will you keep your secrets?