Walking Dead – the New Little House on the Prairie?

I remember reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel around the same time our eldest daughter was expecting their first child. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Had I known how disturbing the book was I probably would have set it aside for another season. The reason being, there is a chapter that describes Jewish babies being murdered. That being said the Holocaust happened, and I wanted to remember for those who lost their lives. I wanted to read it, so I could be a better person. I whispered a prayer of gratitude, that the world in which I lived was not in the grips of evil as it was then, or is it?

When we brought our babies home from the hospital I was in awe, at the overwhelming privilege of nurturing a new life, but mostly I was in awe with God, and why he would entrust us to such a sacred opportunity.

As our vehicle got closer and closer to our children’s home, I tried to imagine what it was going to be like when I looked into my grand-daughter’s eyes for the first time, and when she looked back at me. Nothing can prepare you for what takes place. It’s like the beginning of time starting all over again inside of you, and it swells, and swells until you think you might explode into a new universe. And in some ways that is exactly what happens. Not even the stars look the same.

Today I wonder why we’re doing all we can to snuff life out? Have we progressed since the holocaust, or are we getting better at justifying death?

We weep with families who have lost loved ones in shooting rampages across America. A few days go by, and we go to the movies and watch our heroes shoot up the screen, and tell ourselves we are in no way applauding violence.

We weep, on a cold Monday morning, driving to work as we hear the news about those who have lost loved ones in wars outside our borders. After work we tromp down to the television, and tune into more war, only in the form of a cop show, or a navy seal drama, and our sensitive souls are fed what exactly?

We’ve gotten so use to justifying the story, and the spilled blood that we don’t see the person anymore. Reality and pretend are no longer blurred, they share the same time slot. “Walking Dead” in the near future will be the new “Little House on the Prairie” -guaranteed.

At some point in time something has got to change, and we can start by talking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come and Make it Well

In the summer of 2000 I sat down at the piano and penned a plea for God to “Come and Make it Well.” I had questioned my faith and was ashamed. As I wrote I was reminded of a famous hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”, and the writer’s faith amidst the horrific loss of his children. With my lyrical confession complete, my hands began to play the old hymn in response, then back to an ending of my own, where forgiveness embraces the faint of heart.

Make It Well With My Soul

Come O sting of shame for questioning my faith, the penitence has flown.

Tears of salt must pour on the valley floor, for repentance to swell in my soul.

To think you’d ever find me here, sinking in these wounds of fear,

but you know my frame – O God.

Somewhere near my heart, where you won the war a thousand years ago.

False accusers came and built the walls again, but as if you didn’t know,

Come and make it well with my soul.

Make it well with my soul, make it well with my soul.

Make it well, make it well with my soul.

*Insert verse one and chorus of “It Is Well With My Soul”.

Run forgiveness run, down the drawbridge comes,

for your Spirit to dwell in my soul. ©Cindy Palin/2000

You can read about Horatio Spafford’s story, lyricist of “It Is Well With My Soul”, at

www.sharefaith.com

 

 

 

Sacrificial Offerings

Usually every church you go to has a certain way of doing things, a structure to the service. Our church always has someone present special music while the offering plate is passed, but there are many sacrificial offerings going on in a service simultaneously. You need only be still and sensitive to the Spirit to see them.

This past Sunday a lovely woman got up to sing “Breath of Heaven”, which tells the story of the mother of Jesus. Even when the Christmas story gets clouded, most people know Mary was a young person with a scandal to deal with. She accepted her sacrificial call stoically, only to lose her son years later at the hands of an angry mob. She gave birth never really knowing the full extent of what her sacrifice would be.

I closed my eyes and and prayed for our friend who was singing, and the tears began to roll down my cheeks when the lyrics came “breath of heaven hold me together”, because I remembered how the vocalist lost her son years ago. Jesse would have been in his early twenties today.

Once the service concluded I found my eyes drift over to the far left of the church, to the front pew. There I saw another woman sit down to ready herself for prayer in case anyone needed to come to the front and pray. She too had lost a son years ago. Shane was a father at the time of his death, leaving a wife and three children behind.

I marveled at these women, and their sacrificial offerings, pressing on in faith despite their broken hearts, and the fact there will be missing family members at their Christmas table.

Thank you for being real, courageous and faithful, Bonnie and Val. Please know that there are people watching and learning from your example, and people praying for your strength as you continue the journey of faith God has called you to finish.

May the family of God hold one another together in Christ’s sacrificial offering of love, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to a family reunion one day in heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Cindy

 

 

A Walk in Wonderland

I steered her stroller off the path into the vintage carpet of crispy leaves, so she could hear the difference. The difference between the sound of wheels on the sidewalk, and wheels in wonderland.

When we got to the soccer field I steered up and over a grassy knoll away from the noisy traffic, then gently pulled her out so she could run free on the lush, still green – soccer field. She walked instead, because this Grandma put the wrong shoes on her feet.

Her hooded blue jacket fit pretty well, with one roll up on the sleeves, but the hood fell down and immediately the wind swooped her hair up and over her eyes. I couldn’t decide which was more wonderful, her halo of blonde curls spilling all over the sky, or the way her little hands so capably pushed her bangs off her face.

She looked around at the wide open spaces, and I looked at her. She gawked at a magpie hopping under a nearby tree, and I gawked at her. She bent down to feel the grass, and studied it between her fingers,and I… studied her.

When I thought my heart couldn’t feel anymore awestruck, she placed her doll like hands on her hips, slightly more to the small of her back, and plodded further on ahead as if she was pondering something very deep, or leading some presidential parade. What does a seventeen month old ponder, I wondered?

We arrived at a red gravel running track that was separated from the grass by a sturdy curb. I didn’t want her to fall so I asked her to wait for me, and to my delight she did. I positioned myself right in front of her and reached out both my hands for hers, as if I were escorting the queen down onto her red carpet.

I closed my eyes for a second and promised myself to remember the moment, because nothing holds a candle to feeling her ten petal soft fingers wrap around my wrinkled hands.

Then she jumped…..into my heart forever.

When We Choose Love (in memory of Kayla and….)

W020080520589007879218I was in an uber taxi in Washington D.C. when I heard of Kayla’s death.  I did my best to find a news clip or paper to read about who she was, and how and why she died.

When I got home from our trip of visiting our son, I stayed in my pyjamas all day long and wrote and recorded this song in memory of Kayla (whom I don’t know personally), and all the others who readily give their lives on the battle front, for the innocent.

 

 

When We Choose Love – by Cindy Palin ©February 15th, 2015

Everyone has heard your name, your cruel claims to fame

Can’t hold a candle to, the lights who dare defy you

Headlines used to fuel your fear, intimidation’s here

But when the body dies, love cannot help to shine brighter

I am unafraid to leave this place, at the hands of those who choose to hate

The blood of innocents has seen enough – to know that life is lived when we choose Love.

Underneath the battle cries, something louder comes to life

The power of a prayer, the victory is here

You can draw the border lines, emancipation’s mine

‘Cause when the body dies, love cannot help but shine brighter

I am unafraid to leave this place, at the hands of those who choose to hate

The blood of innocents has seen enough – to know that life is lived when we choose love.

 

 

Late Night Talkin’

Digging through my files I find “Late Night Talkin'”, written in the summer of 2009.

As I read through the lyrics it isn’t hard to remember what event inspired me to write.

When your kids are small, and they scrape their knees, you get the colorful cartoon band-aids out and then follow it up with a barrage of tender kisses.  All is forgotten and healed in a matter of seconds.

When they’re not so small, and their first love rejects them, no amount of mama’s kisses will do.  So I spent a lot of late nights talking to Jesus.

“Late Night Talkin'”

Use to be I spent a lot of time dreaming, who would I fall in love with?

What would his name be and how many children, would God choose to give?

Well the wedding was sweet and my lover so fine,

and our children are better than best,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was good, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’ asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

Now we always tell them to never stop dreaming, nothing is too far to reach.

Trust in the Father, and honor your parents, and be the best you can be.

Well the journey starts sweet but the world isn’t kind

and we all end up put to the test,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was could, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’, asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

A Mystery Miracle of Love – the soldier, the preacher, the prayer.

Last night I had to sleep on the couch propped up with pillows, because I am getting a bad cold.  I fell asleep rather quickly only to wake up in the middle of the night to a song lyric running through my heart “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world”, which is actually from 1 John 4:4. I took that as a signal from the Lord, to pray for my children.

There have been nights where I’ve been in a worried state, but last night was different. Very peacefully I whispered each of their names to Jesus, in faith – that He would accomplish, and complete what he began in them.

Then a strange realization came to me, a memory from the past.  There was an elderly man, and his wife that came over from England and moved in across the street from us.  He told me one afternoon over tea that he and his wife prayed for our children regularly. I could see the snow that day, and the window they looked out that framed our front yard, where our children played.   He told me of when he was a soldier.  He took messages to the front lines in World War II.

Suddenly, propped up in the dark, in the middle of the night, in a small humble living room, I felt like royalty.  I felt so loved, that God would choose to put my children’s well-being, on the heart of a soldier and his wife.

Just as soon as I had thanked God for that memory, another couple came to mind. The man had told me of how when he was a teenager, he agreed to take his mother to an evangelical tent meeting, and there he accepted Christ.  He had been part of a gang and was in deep trouble, but once he accepted Christ his life was changed. He grew up to be a preacher and fell in love with a nurse who originally came from Canada.  She was in love with him too, but felt called to Africa. He followed her to Africa, where they married.  Eventually they moved to Canada, near my hometown.  One night they went to a banquet at a country school and saw one of my children’s names on a book mark at their place setting.  From that time on, nearly twelve years ago, they began praying for my son everyday.

There in the dark I saw an ancient yellowed map of England.  My husband’s grandparents came from England, and a red dot appeared.  My mother’s Grandmother came from England, another red dot appeared.  I wasn’t sure of my father’s ancestry, but know that his name, (my maiden name) – is English and means shelter.  I could see red dots all over the map, representing families, strangers unaware of the other, and yet through accepting Christ, over time, across an ocean, through a window, at a table, spirits converged.

“What a heritage we have through you O Lord” I whispered.  “Who am I that You are mindful of me, and my children?” I asked him in the dark.

As I chose to pray for my children in faith, He chose to show me His handiwork, and how He too pursues them, and prays for them.  And it isn’t that he needs to use us to accomplish His will.  He could accomplish what He wants on his own, but he involves us in one big mystery miracle of love. I saw His love in the middle of the night, the soldier, the preacher, the prayer.

The map faded, my breathing became louder, and my eyelids grew heavy again.  Sleep returned, but not before I whispered “You are great indeed O Lord!”