March 27, 2016
I had a lot to learn about Jesus when I first accepted him as my savior. I turned to him when I was n fourth grade, at the first foster home, but I wasn’t given much guidance. I was given bible verses to memorize, I was told to follow the ten commandments, but that was about the end of it. When I was molested by an older boy I was told that “I” had committed a huge sin and my foster parents made me get down on my knees in front of the couch and ask forgiveness. I was confused to say the least. Why was I being forced to ask for forgiveness for something someone else had done.
None of the other foster homes were Christian, so my introduction to church and Jesus quickly faded over the years. When I was 42, I was invited to church for a Christmas program by a little girl. I started attending faithfully after that and gave my heart and life to Jesus again. Sorry to say, again there wasn’t much guidance. I was congratulated, I was given phone number to call if I wanted to talk, but that was the end of it.
It wasn’t until a few years later at an Easter service that I came to realize the real sacrifice of Jesus. Before that service was over, I realized in full what was meant “by his stripes we are healed”. The visiting preacher went into great detail about what was done to Jesus, every gory detail. I had never heard it preached like that and by the end of the service the tears were streaming down my face because of the realization of the pain and suffering he physically and spiritually went through.
I have often thought about what I would do if someone told me I had to sacrifice my son to save the world, and knowing my nature I would try to find other ways first. Basically that is what God did too!
When you stop to think about it, look at how many times he saved his people, brought them out of bondage, gave them their own land, gave them everything they needed and yet they still turned away from him to other gods. They did their sacrifices, but after it was burnt on the alter, they went right back to their sinful ways.
“By his stripes, we are healed” doesn’t always mean a physical or medical healing, in fact I believe that it means more of a spiritual healing. Today I am thankful today to be “healed” by the stripes inflicted on our savior, washed in his blood and promised forgiveness of sins and eternal life through his sacrifice and death.
March 28, 2016
I can picture my dad sitting in his wheel chair in front of barred window in our basement apartment on Cherry street, in Chicago. He would sit me and my sister Dee on the garden lounge that served as a piece of our living room furniture and then read to us from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I can still see him struggling to make us oatmeal at the stove when mom was in the hospital having Cindy. I still see the big publishing house he had me walk to with him to get scrap paper so he could teach me to write, and I still see him sitting by the living room window in Parker, Colorado. There aren’t very many memories for a child who only knew their father for five years, but I cherish the ones I have.
I can still see my mom, in that long quilted robe, standing in the kitchen on Cherry street, drinking her morning coffee. I can still see her sitting on the porch or in the kitchen baking in Pueblo, Colorado, and I still remember the visits I paid her in Euclid, Ohio after I graduated and moved away from home. There are many more memories but these are some of my favorite.
I can still see little Francie, 4 years old, sleeping on her little bed in Euclid, in the room that we three sisters shared, when I would get up for school or came in late at night from my after school job. I can still see her picture in the newspaper clipping Papa sent me of her asking a congressman what he was going to do to help the poor and homeless. I still see the shocked look on her face, 16 years later when I appeared out of nowhere on her doorstep in Mesa, Arizona. She was gone too soon at the hands of a murderer about a year later.
I can still see Papa, leaving for work from the apartment we shared in Cleveland, cooking Lentil soup to hand out to the homeless down on the square, and leaving for church on Saturday evening. I can still hear is roaring laugh watching Lucille Ball on TV land, here in Butler, and I can still hear his voice when Walter would put him on the phone in Colorado Springs.
I can easily picture Ken, my late husband, standing in pulpit in Brecksville, Ohio, in Barre, Vermont and a small church up in Maine, preaching his favorite sermon about the little girl and the Charring Cross. I can see him leaving in the early morning hours in Florida, headed to the YMCA to get his exercise, and I clearly remember the times we would drive along the beaches past Clearwater, St. Petersburg and all the way out to Sana Bell Island.
I can recall easily the little blond boy that loved his tonka trucks, that came for inspection before he went across the street for swimming lessons on 32nd Street in Cleveland. I remember the worry when I let him go away for a weekend with the church choir and the people next door on Storer Avenue. I see the 15 year old that got up and went to his job at the summer carnival, never being late or missing a day.
I see him coming out of the kitchen in Florida to sit and talk to his mom for a few minutes after she got of work, and I see him standing in the cooks window at the Landmark, cooking up special orders for customers and joking with them and the waitresses as he worked. I see him playing with his kids out in the parking lot, handing out presents at Christmas time, and working like a slave to fix those special holiday meals for us all.
These are some of the fondest memories I have. There are so many more but way too many to list. As each day goes by, I remember something about each and every one of these loved ones. They are gone now. I can never call them again, I can never knock on their door again, I can never see their face or hug them again, but I have so many beautiful memories to hold onto until I meet them in heaven.
Make memories while you can. Life can linger many years or it can be gone without a seconds notice. Cherish every moment that you can spend with your loved ones, your family, your friends. Even keep a journal and fill it with special days, events and pictures, for when they are gone, it will be your link to them.
Today I am thankful for a good memories I have and the Lord allows me to remember more every day.