Seven R’s of Restful Living: Remain with Jesus



A few weeks ago during one of my yearly medical appointments, my doctor told me that I needed to reduce my stress. At first he was going to prescribe a medication (which I was willing to accept); then, he changed his mind and said,” I am not giving you the medication; you know what to do and I believe you can do it.” This conversation made me feel humbled, thankful, and honored—

  •  humbled, because I wasn’t doing what I knew I needed to be doing;
  • thankful, because in a very kind way my doctor pointed that out to me
  • honored, because he recognized that I have the knowledge and ability to make changes.

 God spoke to me through my doctors words. I thanked him, as well as my doctor, and told him that I wanted to exchange my stressful lifestyle for a restful lifestyle. I asked him to show me more clearly what a restful lifestyle looks like.

He gave me the following seven-point guideline which I’m calling “The 7 R’s of Restful Living.”

  • Remain with Jesus
  • Remember your frame—body, soul, and spirit
  • Receive kindly-spoken truth
  • Resist Resentment
  • Reduce your commitments
  • Rid yourself of clutter
  • Rejoice with friends

By following these guidelines for seven weeks, I’m confident that my stress level will decrease. Each week, I will be sharing what I’m learning in my blog post. Today, my topic is: Remain with Jesus.

What does it mean to remain with Jesus? Remaining with him is just like remaining with any other person. It means staying rather than leaving. I married my husband in 1967;  in a few weeks, I will have remained (stayed) with him for fifty years.

John never forced me to live with him; I chose to do so. Before we got married he told me that he loved me. If that was the one and only time that he said “I love you”, I would not have wanted to stay with him for fifty years. Frequently he’s told me. Just as importantly, frequently, he’s shown me that he loves me.

If I ‘d never acknowledged his love and responded to it by returning his love, I don’t think that he would have wanted to stay with me. Because he is such a faithful person, I’m confident that he would have remained, anyway. But neither of us would have enjoyed very much.

What has it taken for us to stay together and enjoy our togetherness? One very obvious but easily neglected thing is that we talk with one another. Even after fifty years, we cannot read one another’s minds. It’s through our words that we discover what one another thinks, feels, and desires. He wants to give me what I desire, and I want to give him what he desires.   

It’s the same with Jesus.  He never forced me into a relationship with him. When I heard that he loved me (I was convinced of it by his words, that is—Scripture), I chose to enter into a life-long relationship with him. I’ve remained with him because he continues to love me. And my love for him continues to grow.

What keeps the love flowing between Jesus and me?  The same thing that keeps the love flowing between my husband and me—frequent conversations.  As I read Scripture, Jesus tells me more and more about himself—he shares his desires his thoughts, his plans; I feel honored and loved.  

Because I’m confident of his love, I listen to his words; I feel blessed not only by his affirmations but by his kindly-spoken words of correction. And I’m finding out the truth of this statement:”Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble” (Psalm 119:165 NLT)

You can find much more about what it means to remain with Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 15. In some translations the word that’s used for “remain” is “abide.” 

What I recently heard from Jesus (while mediating on John 15 and Psalm 119: 165) I express in the following poem/song.


REMAIN WITH JESUS

Verse One
If I love God, I will love his instructions.
Listen to him and do what he says—
Live a life of intentional obedience,
Making plans and following through.

Chorus
Remain with Jesus;
Remain with Jesus;
Remain with Jesus!

Verse Two
I will do my best on all his assignments,
Trusting in the wisdom he gives—
Always remain in touch with the Spirit
So from his purpose, I do not shift.

Verse Three
Often, I’ll need to make an adjustment
Not from his purpose, just to my plan.
If I’m resentful of all interruptions,
I’ll miss what Jesus is saying to me.

Verse Four
Some of my phone calls, I need to answer
Blocking them all reduces my sight;
Without help from brothers and sisters,
My vision of Love will be incomplete.

Verse Five
Remaining with Jesus, I have discovered,
Also means remaining with them.
For this is his most basic instruction–
Love one another as I have loved you.

Remembering Mother


On this Mother’s Day weekend, I’m sharing a poem that I wrote and gave to my mother the year before she died. She’s been gone for fourteen years but I still miss her—especially on this holiday. Remembering her specific actions of love is my way of honoring her.

Dad planted rosebushes along the side of our house. Mom loved them and cared for them with diligence.


Sharing about my mom stirs up a lot of emotions—loneliness, because I miss her; sadness, because I’m not able to send her flowers, make a meal or buy a gift; a little bit of regret, because of  things I wish had done or not done; but, thankfully, no anger, because I’ve accepted who she was and let go of my demand for her to be a “perfect” mother.

Learning to let go of my demand for perfection from Mom and accepting her as she was has progressively freed me from the demand for perfection that I placed on myself. I’ve discovered that accepting my mother is inseparably connected to accepting myself—because, in many ways, I am just like her.  

Today, remembering my mother stirs up mostly positive emotions—gratitude, for her kindness and generosity; admiration, for her talents and creative use of them; deep thankfulness, for her sacrifices of love; and joy, because I know that someday I will be reunited with her. 


Thank you, Mother–

For keeping me in clean, dry diapers–in the days before disposable ones.
You washed them with hand-made soap and water heated in a boiler on the wood-stove.

For keeping me well-clothed;
You made beautiful hand-smocked dresses and warm coats from hand-me-downs.

For making sure I had fresh milk to drink.
You got up before dawn to milk the cow in an unheated barn, and you fed the kittens, too.

For introducing me to poetry;
I can still “hear” your voice reciting:”In winter I get up by night” and “I have a little shadow.”

For teaching me to read so early in life;
In second grade, I won the prize for reading the most books that one-room, eight-grade school.

For making sure I got piano lessons–
Even though I hated the way my teacher spit through her teeth when she counted the measures.

For giving me an allowance
(When you did not have extra money on hand) and not telling me how I must spend it.

For buying me a shiny blue music box one Christmas.
You found the gift you knew I wanted more than anything else.

For sewing tiny pearl buttons on the back of my wedding dress and making loops to hold them;
You re-designed the entire skirt so that it would fit me.

For coming for a visit after your granddaughter was born–
Traveling 1000 miles on the Greyhound bus and transferring buses in an unfamiliar city at midnight.

For coming, again, when I was recovering from surgery;
You fixed spinach greens, and served them with apple cider vinegar from Aunt Mary’s antique cruet.

For taking me and my family to Virginia;
It was the last time you and Dad traveled in your motor home.

For climbing the stairs to reach my upstairs bedroom;
Never in the time you spent with me did you complain about your painful hip.

For stitching and re-stitching quilts,
Especially the one on which you embroidered a cardinal, a red-winged blackbird and other songbirds.

For continuing to pray and write letters.
When my letters were few, yours kept coming. At age ninety, your penmanship is still beautiful.

Thank you, Mother for expressing your love for me in so many ways.

Comfortable Shoes and “Comfortable” Thinking



When I find a comfortable pair of shoes, 
I wear them,
And wear them,
And wear them,
And wear them.

I never want them to wear out;
But after awhile
They do wear out.

Then I look for a pair of shoes exactly like those comfortable old shoes.
I look,
And look,
And look,
And look.

I’ve never been able to find a pair of shoes exactly like my comfortable old shoes.
I’ve always been told,
“No one makes them anymore.”

But today was different!
I found a pair of shoes that looked
Not exactly,
But almost exactly,
Like my comfortable old shoes.

I tried them on. I bought them. I went home as fast as I could.
I went in the house.
I took my new shoes out of the box.
I looked at them, and then—

I put my comfortable old shoes back on my feet.

 @ 2001 Jane Ault 


It’s time for spring cleaning, and my clothes closet is one of the things that I intend to declutter. As my poem suggests, I do have a few pairs of old shoes—among them are black suede sandals and tan leather slip-ons.

Both pairs look unsightly, to say the least. The suede has been water-soaked and it’s stained beyond recovery. The leather is scuffed, wrinkled, and faded.

Yet, because they are so comfortable, I don’t want to throw out these shoes. Maybe I won’t. I’ve put them in the trash can before, but they somehow creep back into the house when I’m not looking.

I don’t think I want to keep them around much longer, because (as my husband reminded me, in his say-it-like-it-is fashion) old shoes have one characteristic in common: They stink! However, we might be so used to the noxious odor that we no longer notice it.


That reminds me of our thinking. Thoughts that we’ve carried around in our heads for a long time usually feel comfortable. At first they might not have been. They didn’t seem to fit us. They might even have felt painful. But we’ve “worn” them a long time and now they feel like comfortable old shoes. Even if they stink— they’re unhealthy and untrue—we don’t notice it. And we resist giving them up.

Types of comfortable (but stinking) old thoughts include—

  • Thoughts about ourselves that are out-of-line with who God created us to be and declares that we are; for example, I’m unlovable; I’m not talented; I’m not creative
  • Thoughts about God that prevent us from receiving the good things he wants to give us; for example, God isn’t fair; God doesn’t like me; God is against me or I don’t deserve ______________because . . .
  • Thoughts that prevent us from accomplishing the good things God’s designed for us to do—things that will bring us joy and fulfillment; for example, I’m not smart enough; I don’t have enough faith; I tried and failed

 Here are some examples of healthy and true thoughts regarding

1) Who God created us to be

  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139: 13-15 NLT)

2) What his attitude toward us is

God is sheer mercy and grace;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
    nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. (Psalm 103:8-10 MSG)

3) How we can accomplish the things that will bring us joy and fulfillment.

  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)                                                              

ACTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

 Invite God to show you these things:

1) One comfortable old thought that is unhealthy and untrue.

2) How that thought is preventing you from obtaining a good thing.

3) What healthy and true thought you could replace that thought with.

Then, if you want to, ask God to give you the courage to “throw out” that stinking thought and receive in its place the healthy and true thought.


Like stinking shoes that sometimes mysteriously creep back into the closets of our house, those comfortable stinking thoughts also mysteriously creep back into our minds. So, we might need to throw them out more than once.

 

This entry was posted on May 5, 2017. 8 Comments

Appreciating God Through the Beauty of Flowers

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love flowers. Right now, as look out the window in my kitchen where I stand washing dishes, I can see bright yellow daffodils blooming.  As I drive toward the garage, brilliant purple hyacinths make me feel cheerful. Although, they have not yet opened, I can smell the fragrance of lilacs that line the edge of my driveway.

 

                    

 

With joy I breath the morning air,
Deliciously gulping the
Fragrance of sweet clover,
Curiously poking my
Nose into yellow buttercups.

The flowers dance around my feet,
Excitedly calling my
Name, begging me to
Join them in their song, to
Celebrate Majesty.

With a smile, I join their ballet,
Laughingly skipping down the
Grassy path, capturing
In my heart, the picture
I will reproduce.

 

 

This entry was posted on April 28, 2017. 6 Comments

How I Respond to Sadness and Happiness

Giant sequoias rising 300 feet into the blue sky; water, as clear as glass, flowing in mountain streams; California poppies, Purple vetch, Lupines, Chinese Houses, and other wild flowers blooming along the banks of the Sierra railroad; radiant smiles and spontaneous hugs from grandchildren I adore; walking and talking, playing games, taking photos, cheering for my grandson at his Little League game, the happy chatter of children seeking hidden eggs,  the grandeur and beauty of the Gospel message on Easter Sunday, roast leg of lamb and all the fixings attractively served for dinner–these were some of the joys I saw, touched, and felt last week.

Leaving family members that I love; experiencing a bit of indigestion; losing my phone and my glasses; finding, at home, letters from friends with news of an untimely death and complicated health issues; receiving a phone call from a friend who’s depressed–these were things that brought frustration, disappointment, and sadness to my soul.

Life is a mixture of sadness and gladness; in either situation, I’ve learned to respond in the following way.  Doing so results in inner stability and peace–peace that, as the Apostle Paul declares, “exceeds understanding” (NLT). 


When there’s sadness in my soul,
I compose a song of hope—
Reminding myself of this:

God is faithful and true—
A constant in times of change—
So forgiving and full of grace!

Every memory of him
Brings sweet comfort to my heart—
And my sorrow is assuaged.

When there’s sadness in my soul,
From the treasury in my mind,
I compose another verse.

For the Scriptures I’ve imbibed—
They’re my source of hope and life—
Of these truths the Spirit speaks.

And I rise above my pain;
I conquer fear and shame—
Soar beyond sadness in my soul.

When there’s gladness in my soul,
I compose a song of joy—
Reminding myself of this:

God’s the source of every good—
He deserves my gratitude—
So generous and merciful!

Every memory I have,
Of things lovely and pure,
Summons my heart to sing again.

When there’s gladness in my soul,
From the treasury in my mind,
I compose another verse.

To the Scriptures I return—
Lest I forget what I’ve learned—
That’s where I can find perspective;

I’m dependent totally
On the grace God gives to me;
He creates gladness in my soul.

4/20/2017 Jane Ault 

This entry was posted on April 21, 2017. 8 Comments

What God Does For Doubters

Although I have been a Christian for many years, at times, I still struggle with doubt. Not doubt about who Jesus is and what he accomplished in his life, death, and resurrection, but doubt about myself. Doubt and anxiety about my progress and performance as his follower.

A few weeks ago, I was again wrestling with this doubt. In the middle of the night, the Holy Spirit brought these words to my mind: “It is God who justifies.” I knew immediately where these words came from. They are part Paul’s comforting words given to followers of Jesus in the 8th chapter of Romans. To be justified means to be declared innocent and made acceptable.

The message to me was that I needed to stop worrying about my “performance” and instead of focusing on my failures focus on Jesus’ faithfulness.

This is the confidence that Paul said he had about followers of Jesus: “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears” (Philippians 1:6 MSG).

Among the greatest doubters, in Jesus’ day, was Thomas. He was not present with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them after being resurrected. When they told him that that had seen Jesus, he said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25 ESV).

What was Jesus’ response to this doubting disciple of his?  He loved him so much that he gave him the evidence that he needed. To me this is immensely comforting. It tells me that my doubt is one-sided. God has no doubt about what he will accomplish in and through me. And even my faith is a gift from him.


It was only a one-sided doubt

It was only a one-sided doubt.
The Father was not surprised when Jesus rose from the dead.
From before creation, He had planned that great event.

It was only a one-sided doubt.
In Jesus’ mind there was no question about who would be the Victor
He had never allowed Satan to over-power him.

It was only a one-sided doubt.
The Spirit was not amazed on Easter morning when the SON arose
He was completely prepared to fulfill Christ’s promise to his Church.


Today, I choose to relinquish doubt. 

I place my confidence not in my record of “perfect” faith but in his record of proven faithfulness.

I declare that I was saved by his death and  that I live by his life.

I reaffirm Christ’s victory. 

 


In Honor of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Moss and land and rock and tree,
Do you know Christ’s victory?
Do you know that death is spoiled?
Do you know that Satan’s foiled?

Birds and flowers, things that creep,
Awaken now from your sleep.
Rise and sing in joyful song.
To Jesus Christ, praise belongs.

Sun and moon, stars in the sky,
Do you know who reigns on high?
Do you know who conquered sin?
Do you know where God has been?

Mountains, clouds and rivers deep,
Let praise echo from your steeps.
With angelic hosts above
Witness to redeeming love.

Men and women, children all,
Will you heed creation’s call?
Will you seek God’s kingdom now?
Will you too, before him bow?

 4/1984 Jane Ault

This entry was posted on April 14, 2017. 3 Comments

What It Takes to Give Others Grace

When I hear verbal stone-throwers while listening to the media, I feel distressed. Yet, if I am honest, when I am under fire, I—like the rest of humanity—have a tendency to condemn others. My desire is that I would increasingly possess the character of Jesus Christ. 

I woke up this morning, recalling the words that he spoke to a crowd of angry stone-throwers:”Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (John 8:7 NLT)! What a marvelous expression of truth cushioned in the gentleness of grace!  

In this story, a number of religious leaders, who hated Jesus and wanted to charge him with being a law-breaker, found a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  They dragged her in front of Jesus and asked him if he was going to comply with the Old Testament law which required that she be stoned.

After his response, one-by-one, all of the woman’s accusers walked away, apparently realizing that they had no right to condemn this woman. Jesus remained, but he did not condemn the woman; instead her offered her the power to change her behavior.

In this story, I found some beautiful insights on what it takes to give grace to others.

Our “right” to condemn others decreases with age.

The oldest of the woman’s accusers were the first to walk away. When I was younger,I tended to be more judgmental; I proudly assured myself that I would not error in ways that I saw some older people doing.

I now know that I am just as vulnerable as they were; I have made errors that I thought and vowed that I would never make. Assuming that someone else’s sin is worse than ours does not give us a right to condemn them. It indicates how ignorant we are of our own hearts. 

All of the woman’s accusers, the young as well as the old, eventually acknowledged their failures and walked away. According to the Apostle Paul, “We all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT).

Instead of condemnation, Jesus—the only one who has the right to condemn us—offers us grace.

The fact that he did not walk away from the woman proved that he was not guilty of any sin–of any error.

According to the Gospel of John, “God did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17 NIV). The longer I live the more I realize my need of grace and the more appreciative I am for it.

Receiving grace doesn’t mean we overlook our errors, and acknowledging them gives us the power to make changes.

By telling the woman that she was not condemned, Jesus set her free to live a different life. His forgiving love and accepting grace, if she chose to receive it, would empower her to do so–

Neither by denying my failures nor by focusing on them can I overcome them; Both of these choices leave me powerless. I’ve discovered that self-condemnation can be as destructive as that which comes from the mouth of others.

It’s when we have received love that we are able to give love to others.

Likewise, it’s when we have received grace, that we are able to give grace. Whenever we lack either of these, we need to avail ourselves of the opportunity to receive them. 

Jesus’ offer still stands!

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (John 3:16-17 in The Message).

 

 

This entry was posted on April 7, 2017. 6 Comments

My Muscles Are Important . . .

In most of my blog posts I  focus on emotional or spiritual health, and I often talk about ways that these are connected.  In my everyday life, I try to maintain a healthy balance–paying attention to spiritual, emotional, mental, relational, physical  health. 

Taking care of my physical body is challenging for me; I would enjoy spending the entire day at my computer; that’s not a good thing to do.  My chronic muscle pain gets worse when I neglect exercise. Walking is the best exercise for me.

Despite that, motivation to keep my muscles in shape becomes harder every winter. When the roads are icy, it’s raining, or the temperature is near 32 degrees F., I can very quickly talk myself out of going for that daily walk. 

As I confess in the  following poem, “the ones  (muscles) I need for sitting are the ones I use the most.” To get myself back into the habit of walking in inclement weather, I recently signed up for a membership to walk at a local athletic hall.  A friend, who’s been equally delinquent in exercising, agreed to join me. 


My Muscles

My muscles are important;
I only have one set.
If I jerk and snap them
I know they’ll feel upset.

They will scream and grumble;
Yes, they’ll complain.
And if I do not listen
They will turn up the pain.

My muscles won’t keep working
For days and months and years
Without some recognition—
Some evidence I care.

Food, fresh air, and movement
Are what they need to stay
Awake, alert, and happy;
They need some everyday.

My muscles are not rigid–
Like stuffed upholstery;
They’re fluid; they keep changing;
They’re a living part of me.

They notice when I’m angry;
They get prepared to fight.
When I choose to hold a grudge
They pinch me in the night.

They notice when I’m anxious;
They stiffen right away.
They do not let me sleep at night
When I fearful stay.

They notice when I’m tired,
They tell me, “Get some rest.”
If I refuse to listen
They do not speak in jest.

My muscles work together
In antagonistic pairs—
A team to help me lift
And a team to climb the stairs.

Some to help me breath
And some to work my heart—
If I had no muscles
I would fall apart.

Some muscles I keep hidden;
Others are exposed.
But the ones I need for sitting
Are the ones I use the most.

My muscles are important
I will listen when they “talk,”
Try not to get them triggered,
And be patient when they balk.


 

 

 

This entry was posted on March 31, 2017. 4 Comments

Someone Safe to Be Vulnerable With

This week I had the joy of visiting with a very creative friend. Society calls this friend, whom I find refreshingly real and delightful, “disabled.”

I prefer to not use the label “disabled” for anyone. It conveys a distorted and negative viewpoint. None of us are totally competent in every life’s capabilities. We all have a weakness of some kind.

A dictionary definition of disabled is “physically or mentally impaired, injured, or incapacitated.” Dictionary definitions of impaired include “1) weakened, diminished, or damaged and 2) deficient or incompetent”.

So, the truth is that in one way or another everyone is disabled. We might simply have impaired hearing, or impaired vision. Often, these “disabilities” can be corrected by glasses and hearing aids. Sometimes they cannot. Yet, wearing hearing aids is less acceptable than wearing eyeglasses? I wear both of them but for a long time—because I was embarrassed—I hid the fact that I wear hearing aids.

It’s interesting that we call people who have mental or physical weakness—yet have emotional or spiritual strengths—disabled and other people who have mental or physical strengths—yet have emotional or spiritual weaknesses—gifted.

In Andrew Root’s book review of The Happiness Effect: How Social Media Is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost, by Donna Freita (CT; March 2017, pp. 57-59), he asks this question: “Has social media created a generation of young adults who can’t confess weakness and need”?

Freita contends the “drive to look perfectly happy” is the greatest dangers of social media. She claims that this practice is worse than bullying, stalking, and sexting.

I’m not downplaying the impact of bullying, stalking, and sexting; these are dreadfully destructive practices and must not be tolerated. Could it be, though, that the pressure for perfection and the fear of vulnerability add fuel the former practices?

If we can’t confess weakness and need, if posting a negative comment about ourselves or talking about a personal struggle can result in censure and disapproval, if feeling unhappy or failing in some way is “sin” and, in shame, we up the fact of our imperfection and struggles, reality becomes blurred. 

Fearing the consequences of vulnerability, we end up rewriting history—the world’s and our own—so that it reflects only that which is uplifting, beautiful, and victorious. Sometimes this is the applauded the “Christian” thing to do. To me it lacks authenticity.

I’m all for having appropriate boundaries; it’s not necessary or wise to share painful or shocking details of our lives on public media. But everyone needs a safe somewhere and someone with whom they can be vulnerable.

There is a person like that who is available to all of us 24/. His name is Jesus Christ. This is his invitation “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NLT).

I have found my friend “upstairs” entirely safe. 


My Friend “Upstairs”

There’s almost always something
To stir up fear and doubt.
There’s almost always something
I can cry and fret about.

There’s almost always someone
Who has an ache or pain.
There’s almost always someone
Who rubs across my grain.

There’s almost always somewhere
That I have missed the mark.
There’s almost always somewhere
That I’ve stumbled in the dark.

Now, I can take those somethings,
Those someones, and somewheres–
And I can think about them
Until I plunge into despair.

Yes, I can think about them
Until my stomach’s filled with rage
Until my heart is pounding
Like some tiger in a cage.

Or, I can take those somethings,
Those someones, and somewheres,
To a friend I have who listens
To a friend I have upstairs.

Who never is too busy
Who never needs to sleep
Who accepts me when I yell
And accepts me when I weep.

All those heavy somethings,
Someones, and somewheres,
Somehow lose their grip
When I tell my friend upstairs.

This entry was posted on March 24, 2017. 6 Comments

What Children Can Teach Us


I had the joy of spending last week with my daughter and four of my grandchildren, ages 11-14. In their short lives, they’ve experienced what seems to me an unusual amount of loss due to death.  Several family members and friends have died from cancer.  I wondered how they were coping with these losses.


To my delight, I discovered that one of my grandsons was able to process these sad events through writing poetry. He shared several of his poems with me. The titles were “Death”, “Darkness”, “Hope”, and “Shine Your Light”. His poetry was extremely insightful and full of hope. I felt awed by his beautiful faith. 


How foolish and ignorant we are when we think that we must hide the hard realities of life from children. By not letting them know about pain, sorrow, and death, we may think that are protecting them. Who are we protecting?

Could it be that we, ourselves, are not willing to think about these things?  Certainly we must  use discretion about sharing details with our children. However, they have ears and they can hear. They have eyes and they can see. 

Aware of the trusting faith that they have, Jesus reminded us that we need to learn from them. He said,”Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in” (Mark 10:15 MSG).

I was reminded of these truths by my precious grandson. I was encouraged by his faith and inspired to write the following verse of response to his poems.  


Grandma’s Choice
To live each day as if it were my last
I’d have to give up all of my past—

All of my failures and every success;
Then, with the sunrise, I could start afresh.

Looking up to God who’s given me breath—
Asking him to show me the very best path—

I’d be ready to grow and eager to learn.
I’d be free to love, and I’d wait my turn.

I would face each challenge with childlike faith—
Worry no more about making a mistake.

Confident of a reward in heaven,
I would gladly share what I’ve been given.

At the day’s end, I’d say a “Thank You” prayer
And slip into dreamland without a care.

To live each day as if it were my last
I’d better start now! Time is moving fast.