The Gift of Life

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My daughter just finished writing a blog post and quoting Habakkuk 1:5, regarding the work God is doing among us right now.

https://juliechristinepalin.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/foolishness/

Things we wouldn’t be able to grasp if he told us about them. Our lives are just a fragment of the big picture.

The verse was a reminder that God is still in control, even when things don’t make sense, even when we lose friends, and family to death, at what seems to be the strangest of times.

Eccles. 3:1,2 tells us “There is a time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die…”

For our family friends who just lost a wife and a mother in an accident, these words at first glance probably do not bring much comfort.

If we stand back and look at the big picture we see the gift of life God gives us all, and the gift of sharing our lives with others, the privilege parents have, through their love,

which brings more life (children) into this world, and the circle continues.

I thank God for our friend’s mom, and the time we had with her. Her leaving us at this time gives us opportunity to reflect on what we will do with the rest of our life, for however long we are here.

Let us humbly, and gratefully live the life we have left to the best of our ability, in peace with one another, and in God’s strength.

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

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

I feel a Crack Coming On….

Human emotions are complicated.  You never really know what is lying just below the surface to make someone decide one thing or another.

I’ve noticed that quite often, I decide I know – when the reality is – how can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s head?

I have a theory.  It comes from observing and listening and bungling things up for a very long time.  If you see someone who is acting rude – chances are that person is very insecure, or afraid.  If you see someone act like a snob, and down right unapproachable, chances are that person is acutely shy.  If you see someone acting stubborn, putting a wall up, and shutting down – chances are they are broken-hearted.  No, really, this isn’t just my eternal optimism talking.

You don’t have to be broken-hearted about lost love, there are plenty other things to be broken-hearted over, and I mean plenty.

The problem is, if we all shut down because of our broken hearts, there isn’t going to be any moving forward, there isn’t going to be life.  We might expect the other person to do what ever needs to be done, but what if that person is shutting down?  What if that person needs support?

I recognize how I am made, my personality type.  I took one of those tests from a book called; “Discovering your Strengths”.  Only problem is, my highest scoring trait isn’t very helpful when push comes to shove.  My greatest strength according to the book is “responsibility”.  This means I want to do the right thing at every turn.  What does that equate to?

This means, I am bound to be alone a lot.  If I am not careful, my “responsibility” could turn around and become – resentment.

This is why it is important for me to hang on very tight to Jesus.  If I can’t be sure what the other person is going through, and I don’t want to assume, and step on toes, I can always ask Jesus for help.  Quite simply, “Jesus, how am I suppose to proceed?”

Here is where it gets really painful.  Don’t get me wrong, having a faithful friend in your corner is the best thing you could ever have, but He is always going to ask you to do the hard stuff.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 KJ21).

 So, yesterday, now, and forevermore, I need to move through life with my heart in His hands.  There’s that little word “trust”.  It is only five letters, but it packs a punch, because trusting often means suffering in silence, oh yes and holding the bag.

The bag that has the smiles in it, and the tender voice, and the soft response, and the understanding song, and the hand pats, and the open arms, and the prayers, and the tears….

Sometimes being a Mom, and the oldest sibling isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.  Wait a minute, maybe it is – I feel a crack coming on right now.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

Should We Dare Expect the Joy Without the Sorrow?

Who am I that you are mindful of me?

I’m not the first to see the thirsty scorn your living water.

I’m not the only one, to wrestle or to question,

the mysteries of life, our groanings under heaven….

I just learned a couple of days ago that my song “O Morning Star” is on the shortlist of finalists, in the Word Guild Awards, Write Canada 2014, under the best song lyric category.

This song is very personal, they all are, but this one in particular, because it was written to prepare and equip for an agonizing time, for me, my family, and our church family.

Our daughter had come home for a sick day in November to let us know that a friend of hers had just lost her mother, after a long battle with depression and insomnia.  We were heart-sick, racked with tears and pain, but not without hope.  Our daughter brought her friend home shortly thereafter during a snow storm and we were all able to hunker down by the fireplace and hear the young lady tell us all about her mother.

A friend, and mother whose children were around the same ages as mine, had just been diagnosed with cancer, and aggressive kind.  Her family, and our church family as a whole – were devastated, but not without hope.  She died a week before Christmas, and her funeral was held just days before our Christmas Eve service.  Never has Christmas been so sacred or more meaningful. It was as if she was giving us a special gift, a reminder.  After all, that is why Jesus came to a manger, to identify with our sorrows, and sufferings, and eventually put an end to our eternal death sentence, by dying on the cross, then conquering death on the third day.

I had found out on a snowy Wednesday before Christmas that my brother was not recovering as we had hoped he would, from his stroke and related ailments.  I stood before a judge just five days before Christmas begging the Judge to grant me a warrant to get my brother further help.  The Judge granted the warrant but the Doctors would not comply.  We tried.  Did we fail?  Maybe, but….

Who am I that you are mindful of me?

Should I accept to dare expect, the joy without the sorrow?

You are the Holy One, my peaceful revelation.

The certainty of death is swallowed in salvation.

O Morning Star, you are life and light unto my soul, and still I sing….

©Cindy Palin, October 2013

The interesting and profound revelation is; this song was given to me right before any of the above mentioned, happened. Almost as a foreshadowing of what was to come.  I sang it throughout the months of November and December, as well as at our friend’s funeral, and felt God’s comfort and assurance through the journey.  He is  my Morning Star, and He is light and life unto my soul!

Thirty One is Too Young for Anyone to Say Goodbye.

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“I never knew him” I mused, but was positive once I typed his name into my computer’s browser, I would recognize his face and I did.  I spent a generous time watching Glee episodes for the first time with my jaw stuck to the floor.  My own musical dreams hadn’t turned out the way I thought they were suppose to, so rather than mope around or live vicariously through someone else, I watch science fiction and escape the melody altogether – usually.

He looks kind of like my niece’s husband, clean-cut, bright faced, happy and healthy.  Learning about his addiction problem didn’t affect how I felt about him, but hearing his age and that his life was now over – crushed my spirit.  Thirty one is too young for anyone to say goodbye, so much more he could have discovered and overcame and celebrated.  I am thankful we do have some amazing reel to remember him by.

Being an artist myself, I know that passion has to run deep for the song or the voice or any other instrument, or acting – to impact the world.  That same passion can often be called a “weak heart” condition, a tenderness that feels beyond the normal check-point of sorrow, which if unchecked can tip the balance and send a person into an earthly black abyss.  The pills or the alcohol are the quickest way back to sunshine for some, but only for a while.

I’m not sure where his mind was before he died, if he was on the edge of the abyss, or not even close, but I can tell you this….I am going to watch Glee now, and get to know just a small piece of who Cory was.  My sympathies to those who knew him well and loved him. We are all at a great loss today.  When ever any soul lives and dies, a treasure leaves our midst.

For those other deep artist types out there, “guard your heart, for out of it flows the very issues of life” (Proverbs 23:4)