Weak is the Strong

WEAK IS THE STRONG

I pity the child who searches in vain

who strives to be strong

man’s approval to gain

who hangs on his words

her purpose and worth

and builds on his walls

to honor man’s call

 

I pity the child whose body is grown

but mind left behind

man’s bars of control

She built on his praise

so twisted and tough

but we are all grass

and strong’s not enough

 

I pity the child who misunderstood

for weak is the strong

and humility good

to work for approval

annihilates grace

and crushes the spirit

and shadows God’s face.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

copyright Cindy Palin, October 19th, 2014

 

….at a dance?

A swing band from Calgary called The Rhythm Barons came up to the College Campus Hotel – The Pomeroy.  The event “Swing Back in Time” was an Olds Hospice Society fundraiser.  I was invited to sing my original written to support the Hospice, called “The Dance of Life”, which by the way is available on iTunes, and on the Hospice website:  www.oldshospice.com

What struck me as so fitting, was the young swing dancers who came up from Calgary as well, who taught us swing steps during the band’s break.  A delightful instructor from the college had remembered one of her students had mentioned he loved to dance.  This connection proved to be very beneficial for those of us at the dance.

Here I was singing about “every moment shared is music for the final journey, every tender offering means all of us are learning one more step to the dance of life“, and I was learning dance steps.

To my surprise, even though the band was playing music from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and I was born in the 60’s, I knew several of the pieces from my music study days.  Some of my favorites “Missed the Saturday Dance” by Nat King Cole, and “Satin Doll” by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, as well as “Route 66”, another by Cole.  I had learned these classics while singing in a jazz choir.  Soon I remembered one of my recent goals; to relearn one jazz piece per week, on the piano as well as practice the vocals.

I was able to see and visit with people from our community that I usually don’t get to bump into, some of whom had recently lost loved ones and hence connected to the Hospice Society, others drawn by the music and the cause.

Unfortunately, my husband was unable to attend the event as he was away, and some might think going alone rather uncomfortable, but the joy and the privilege of serving others with a song is certainly a God moment to me.  One of which I am thrilled I did not miss.  I look forward to watching the connections made last night, grow into long-lasting friendships, as we all continue to learn new steps to the dance of life – together.

*(Comments for the band:  smooth and true vocals, bass parts superb, loved the brushes, and the horns we just couldn’t do without, job very well done guys, everyone – sound, everything, and thanks for the sound system, and friendly help.)

*(Comments for the dancers:  Taylor and Craig and Chelsea, just three of whom I met personally last night, thank you for the steps, the patience and I hope to come down to Calgary soon.)

….at the bank

Returning from a week break, I began to prepare for our worship team practice among other things.  I decided to rally the troops and call in extras in case my voice did not return in time for Thanksgiving Sunday.  After calling a couple of friends and finding out they were going to go home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to leave things as they were.  I had done everything in my power to be responsible, the rest was up to God.  I wasn’t the first worship leader to sound like a croaky frog recovering from an illness, and I wouldn’t be the last.

I put away the church phone directory and whispered a small prayer of trust to Jesus, then off to the bank to run an errand for our daughter.

As I explained to the teller that I was depositing something for my daughter, she made conversation by asking where my daughter was.  Briefly I explained that she was away in another country studying the Bible.  The teller beamed and relayed that she had just finished Bible School in a nearby town.  I was delighted to hear that the new young woman at our bank was a believer, and newly married.  I asked her if they had a home church.  In no time we both found out we were attending the same one!

I croaked out that I would be seeing her the next day, as I was leading worship.  Excitedly she asked about choir.

“Could it be she liked to sing?” I asked myself.

“Would you be interested in singing on the worship team tomorrow?” I asked without hesitation.  In the same spirit, she responded with a jubilant “yes!”.

It never even dawned on me that she might love to sing but not have the ability at all.

“I love hymns!” she chirped.

She didn’t have a problem with the 8:00 a.m. practice either.

I leaned across the counter and said “two strangers in a bank, who’d have thought?”

She leaned in closer too and replied “we’re not strangers anymore.”

I walked out of the bank feeling as if it was meant to be, and do you know why?

Because it was.

 

 

 

But Most of All, If You Love Jesus….

The words below are for people who believe in Jesus and are struggling with communication problems in their marriage.  One of the biggest warning signs there are, is when you recognize your self as a separate entity within the marriage, maybe it’s separate bank accounts, maybe it’s separate ministries, separate this and that, and pretty soon, everything is separate.

I have a very good friend (a believer), who is struggling within the marriage relationship, and I wrote this for _____.  I realize each marriage is unique and each marital problem is unique.  There may be people who take offense to this.  There may be people who relate.  I know that the Bible is very clear about those of us who know the truth and walk away from it, 2 Peter 2:21.

My dear friend, do you remember when?

When (_______) got married a second time and we felt like we were going to a funeral instead of a wedding?

When we couldn’t take our kids to their grandparent’s house again, because they didn’t live together anymore?  We still took them to visit their grandparents, but it was never the same.

That was just yesterday and we swore that would never happen to us……

We swore we would never put our kids through that, so help us God.

So what happened? 

When did you decide you didn’t need God’s help?

….communication breakdown? 

If the silence goes on for too long, the lies take over. 

You of all people – love being tough, why not fight the lies?

You always thought you were so strong, well guess what?

No one is stronger than the lies.  No one except Him.

So what can we do?  We can’t – but He can.

And He tells us to confess (speak out loud) that we might be healed (helped along by other brothers and sisters in the Lord) James 5:15 – 17.

Jesus saw this (your pain) coming, and let them pin it all on Him and nail Him to a cross.

So the least you can do is pin your pride there too. 

You know how to press in and push through anything – this time DON’T – let Him.

But while you’re letting Jesus help you, don’t decide what He can and cannot do.

Have you forgotten nothing is impossible with Christ? Luke 1:37

You tell me you’re not sure what to do, God does and He’s given us a formula to follow that will bring the most miraculous outcome…..

It’s just that very few choose to trust Him, and very few really want what is on the other side.

Are you really going to settle for the temporary, or do you want the eternal?

The lies like to make the temporal very attractive. 

It is a mystery to me, how so many of us believers at one time or another have trouble communicating with our spouse, so rather than sit up in the middle of night and battle it out until every last issue has been covered,  we look for another someone to communicate with?

What makes us so sure the problem doesn’t lie within our own hearts, and that the same communication issue will follow us where ever we go?   ….. unless we let Jesus deal with it.

Remember the race we’re in, remember there are witnesses watching our faith journey?

Are we going to give into those lies and be a stumbling block for our own children?

If you want the best for your spouse and your family, take a deep breath and put yourself last one more time….and read this message from God’s own mouth.

But most of all, if you love Jesus….

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For who ever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.”

I want you to know that I believe your pain is real, I also want you to know – there is no excuse for what is happening right now, but we humans, we that are “flesh” (Psalm 78:39), can always make something up.  What does the Bible say?  1 Corinthians 10:13

In Love and in Truth,

Cindy

 

 

 

God Forsaken Lonely

Every parent wants to protect their child from the worst pain there is – a broken heart.  But if we think we can protect them from a broken heart, we might as well not have children. It is fair to say that to live is to love and to lose, and to love again, even though there’s nothing fair about it.

I was in love only one other time before I met my husband.  We were in our early twenties when we broke up.  I was moving away to attend College and he didn’t want a long distance relationship.  There was more to it than that, but we’ll leave it there.

One night shortly after our break up I got in my car as if I had a place to go.  We had spent so much time together and now that we had broken up I was lost.  I ended up driving to the city just to turn around and drive back home.  I didn’t have a cell phone then, so I knew I would have to pull over and use a pay-phone if I wanted to reach him.  I just had to hear his voice.  I knew nothing I could say would change his mind, but I kept hoping by some miracle he would take me back.

I pulled off the highway into a gas station and dropped some coin in the outdoor pay-phone.  It was dark and raining, the stars were hidden and even the street lights wouldn’t shine and for the very first time in my life I felt cold to the bone and “God forsaken” lonely.  I questioned why I was born and if I had a future to look forward to?  With no one to share it with, why live it?

It wasn’t long after that rainy night pay-phone call of desperation, that I was to actually meet the King of loneliness, the one person in the whole world who knows “lonely” better than anyone else and all because of love.

Someone must have been praying for me because in the midst of my loneliness I kept hearing this message, not an audible voice, but a message.  It came with pictures.  I saw a cross and consciously tried to avoid looking in the eyes of the man nailed there. I’m not one to remember everything I was taught in Sunday School but I remembered something that this man said just before he took his last breath.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV).  Then it dawned on me.  He was the one who was God forsaken lonely.  He was the one who loved me so much that he risked being rejected by his own Father.  He died that day in order for us to be together, but that isn’t where the story ends.

His blood sacrificed on that cross is my covering, like a robe of love that I wear everyday.  When my Love looks at me, he doesn’t see who I use to be, he sees righteousness.  We spend a lot of time together and he will never break my heart.  We will never separate (see verse below).

This past Friday, when I was working in my shop I was listening to my i-tune folder of favorite love songs, one of which is an old Bryan Adams song.  A specific lyric really stood out.  “The lonely nights have just begun, when you love someone”.  Now that I’ve experienced God’s love I can testify that I still get lonely.  Lonely for him and eternity…. wonder what his face looks like and what his voice sounds like and what his hug is going to feel like.  It isn’t a desperate lonely, it is a hopeful longing for the reunion I’ve been promised.

Yesterday I was sitting in the pew of our church and singing a congregational hymn and this line stood out; “Redeeming love has been my theme and will be ’till I die.”

Christ’s love is different from any other love there is.  It is a redeeming love.  Just like he came to life again and walked out of that cold to the bone – tomb, we too come to life when we fall in love with Him.

He takes you back no matter what you’ve done, no matter how you forsake him and he loves you with a redeeming love…makes you new every morning, every moment.

Eventually my broken heart mended.  I thought for sure I would never love again.  But the lover of my soul knew differently.  When it was time, he brought me someone to love and share my earthly journey with, someone who understood and embraced redeeming love, and the three of us together make a good team, “…a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Is Distraction Waxing Your Heart Cold?

What is it that is keeping you from the Truth tonight, tomorrow’s almighty “to do” list?

Beware of busy, anything that keeps you moving long enough and fast enough to wax your heart cold. Beware of distraction, anything that makes you look good on the outside, but sucks the life out of your insides.

Is truth being traded for a movie, with far too many vulgar words for Christ to watch with you?

Is Truth being muffled by negative thoughts, self-pity and pain, walls of justification?  Those walls may feel like protection but are barriers to peace and forgiveness, that keep the Truth at a distance and allow bitterness to carve a lonely canyon for the sound of echoing broken promises.

Beware, those faults you once found others guilty of could become your own.

Is Truth being crowded out by technology, one more trick to learn or game to play or hour to waste, of the precious time Christ bought for you – with his blood?  This gift of time has always been meant for simple trust, childlike faith, close accounts, repentant tears, light-hearted joy – revelation and communion.

Is Truth being stomped out by our personal muscle flexing, our conquests to conquer, as if somehow we’ll rack up points, get His attention, earn His affection, or at least our peers?  We’re doing what, in who’s name?

He is the Truth, the Way and the Life, He is our super-hero, and everything He calls us to do is to accentuate His work, to bring Him Glory.  It is His name we proclaim, we are not here to make a name for ourselves.

Recommended Truth Reading:  Matthew Chapter 6

 

 

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Blood for the Backdrop, Death at the Door.

I sat in the dark of our tiny hometown theater, (to this day I don’t know who with) and salivated as “Julie” played by Amy Adams blogged about her adventure in cooking, inspired by the infamous “Julia Child“, played by Meryl Streep.  But the tantalizing aromas filtering through the silver screen were not the cause for my drool.

You know the story’s good when you forget the chair you’re sitting on is about as comfortable as making love on a bed of pine needles.  Oh yes, and the staircase scenario, equally as ridiculous.  But this idea of writing about something you’re passionate about turned on a string of light bulbs for me.  A thousand fire flies in flight!  I’ve always written lyrics and music, but never thought of myself as a writer.  I’ve poured out my thoughts to melody ever since my twelfth birthday present arrived in a guitar case, but never equated “songwriter” to “writer” much less,  “storyteller”.

You’d think I would’ve put two and two together when my Father said I was “yappy”!  What he labeled as noise, I now realize was the beginning of my lifetime love affair with words.  And now I know, not all of them have to be wrapped in melody.  However the story must be told, with or without it.

Once the truth is communicated, there’s no stopping it, much like a snowball rolling down a mountain side, gaining in size and speed, thunder bound. The sooner the message is shared the sooner the transforming power begins within the many souls who have ears to hear.

On that note; there’s a story evolving here, one that started eighteen years ago.  But before I go back and pull those memories forward, I wanted to pause and give you a “bird’s-eye” view of where I’m sitting. There’s a plank roof above me, rustic log wainscoting, and a tasteful jazz/folk combo playing through the speakers at the Sage Bistro in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, a touristy but quaint mountain town.  I feel like I’m living a dream it seems, it’s so magical here and unusually warm for an October afternoon.  I’m under no pressure and able to meditate on the Lord,  which makes the raw, tragic, yet triumphant story I heard this morning even more profound.  But before we go there, let me tell you where it started for me.

Once upon a time I stood in my daughter’s sunny bedroom, paint color “Philadelphia Cream Cheese“.  Her precious little arms stretched towards the sky, waiting for me to pull her sweater over her curly head and porcelain face.  Some where between her clenched fists finding the armholes and her head popping through the neck of the her sweater I saw a mother on the other side of the world dressing her child in the rain.  Blood was the backdrop and death loomed at their door.  It was 1994 and I was very much aware of the Genocide ravaging Rwanda.

That night, after I put our children to bed, my spirit was moved to write about the injustice of their plight.  Carefully I wove the lyrics and the melody together.  I had no pie in the sky hopes that my salty paper even stood a chance at changing a President’s mind, nor would it rally a neighboring army to their aid.  I offered up the only thing I had, a song and sang it as a prayer because I knew God would listen, and I knew He would do something.

“I live in a safe corner of the world, where I can close my eyes and go to sleep at night, but I still think of you all of the time, while my children laugh and play and your children die”. 

I never expected to meet anyone from Rwanda, but I did today, in Canmore, at the First Baptist Ladies Retreat, eighteen years after “evil personified” raped a country.  After hearing the first segment of her powerful story, I was prompted to share my old song with her just to let her and our Lord know, how touched I was to meet a survivor!  Because after all, hearing her survival story proves God answers prayer!

“Hold on, our God is faithful and mighty to be near to you in the midst of every storm, Hold on my friend hold on, I’ll keep the vigil strong, hold on.”

The lyrics fell short then, and they fall short now.  Are there any words in any tongue for that kind of anguish?  Even now,  hundreds of recovery and reconciliation workshops are just scratching the surface in Rwanda. But I’ll forever remember the Lord’s prompting and Regine’s story and the gift of getting to meet.  Only God can weave stories together like this.

Well, I’m off to dig up the song in its entirety, tucked away in my music files, expecting to see more of what God is going to do!