Writing in the White Space: Grave-tending What Was

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15 MSG, NKJV

the dead trying to look aliveThe roses look dead in my garden.

Yet leaves still cling to thorny stalks that have stood upright through snow, cold, and the wicked winds that have whipped them.

Standing. Through the darkest season.  With the barest appearance of being alive.

Grave-tending the life that once was.

Afraid to let go, lest all becomes lost to death.

Like me.

But.

Today.

Is the first day after.

Resurrection life has been offered to me.

Jesus alive, stretches out blood-stained hands, and beckons me to surrender my grave-tending life . . . to LIFE.

Take my sorrow . . . take my fear, Lord.

“What was, is past,” He whispers.

girl at the graveTurning from tending my grave of the life that was, the eyes of my child open to see what will be . . .

Wonder, joy, and the hope of things beautiful to come.

The grave is overcome.

There’s a day that’s drawing near 
When this darkness breaks to light 
And the shadows disappear 
And my faith shall be my eyes 

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed 
The victory is won 
He is risen from the dead.

(I Will Rise, Chris Tomlin)

The victory over my was is won . . .

“What’s next, Papa?”

“The becoming of beautiful,”  He whispers.The becoming of beautiful

Linda Crawford

 

 

We celebrate the beauty of words…written in the white space–the empty room of freedom of thought–where words are created that sing, dance and illustrate life’s beauty.

More Writing in the White Space:

Astonished by His Grace

Astonished by His Grace

Margins

Margins

We long to create poem

vytvoreni

He is Risen!

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.

Matthew 28:6 NLT

HE IS RISEN

Enjoy the simple beauty of this music video:

I Will Rise

by Chris Tomlin

The Women Who Watched

There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem. Mark 15:40-41 MSG

Magdelana  -Gheorghe Tattarescu

Magdelana -Gheorghe Tattarescu

“Watching from a distance.”

Not weeping, not speaking. Watching . . . as Jesus, whom they had faithfully served and cared for, was brutally crucified on the cross.

These women were not watching in the sense of watching a TV show or a sporting event. The word “watching” in Greek is the word theoreo, which means to be a spectator of, to discern, to literally or figuratively experience, or intensively acknowledge. They watched with discernment.

They watched intensely. They watched as one who tries to enter into the experience of another.

Despite the horrific suffering they witnessed, so intense was their love and devotion, they could not turn their eyes away from Jesus.

But how could they watch? It had to be the most violent and horrific death ever witnessed.

Mary Magdalene watched, and couldn’t  leave Jesus even after He was laid in the tomb. She had seen Him perform miracles, and received one herself when He had cast seven demons out of her. Imagine the torment she must have suffered until the day He set her free. So filled with love and gratitude, she was compelled to follow Him and serve Him wherever that would lead . . . even to the cross.

Despite how painful and traumatic it was to watch, she had to be there.

Have you ever had to witness someone you love suffer?

I remember sitting in the Emergency Room with my ten-year-old daughter watching and wincing as the doctor put five stitches in the tender fingertip she had almost sliced off with a pair of scissors. I remember holding my mother-in-law during an extremely painful test as she battled cancer.

It was excruciating for me. People I loved were hurting. But . . . I had to be there.

In the most painful experiences of their lives they needed to be surrounded by love, and I needed to be there.

Love compelled Mary and the other women to endure witnessing Jesus’ suffering on the cross. They couldn’t leave—even as He suffered and died before their eyes. While others forsook Him, and multitudes of people cried “Crucify him!” the women remained faithful.

“To their everlasting honour, these women evidenced more courage, and affectionate attachment to their Lord and Master, than the disciples did, who had promised to die with him rather than forsake him.” (Adam Clark commentary)

Jesus on the cross

I want to be a woman like that. A woman who will be there, eyes fixed on Jesus…no matter what.

A woman who will watch.

I invite you to watch and pray with me today:

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:10-11 NLT

Thank you Jesus. You paid the price for a debt you didn’t owe. One we can never repay with words, though you will forever own our hearts.

Linda Crawford

 

Love and the Unwashed Feet

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  John 13:14 NIV

washing feet

“I doubt she will work with you this morning. She refuses to get out of bed.”

80-something, independent-minded, and angry-at-being-in-the-hospital, she wasn’t going to budge out of her bed for anybody, and hadn’t for days.

Which is why they called me in.

She had to budge, move her arms and legs, get on her feet again, breathe deeply of life and start to move forward from the sickness that had landed her here. To not move was a slow prescription toward death.

All she wanted was to go home.

“I don’t want to get up. Just let me go home and I’ll be fine. I don’t need you telling me what to do.”

A bright sunny day lay just beyond the closed shades of her darkened room.

“I understand how you must be feeling, what can I do to help you feel better?”

“Just leave me alone.”

“I have an idea, you must be feeling sore from lying in bed so long, if you sit up I’ll massage your back for you.”

The defiance in her eyes softened. “Oh, alright, I suppose that would be nice.”

I gently washed her back and massaged her frail frame with lotion.

“I’ve got this nice chair set up and I’m sure it will feel good to be in a different position for a few minutes. We can move here and I’ll fill this bucket with warm water so you can soak your feet.”

More softening of the defiance.

Her feet were cold. They also gave evidence to how defiantly independent she was.

As her abandoned feet soaked in the warm sudsy water, she began to speak of her life. Farm girl, ranch wife, self-sufficient widow.

I sat down on the floor and began to gently scrub away the years of the lonely paths of  self-sufficiency she had walked.

She looked down at me in embarrassment, and said, “I’m sorry they are so bad, I can’t reach them anymore.”

“I know, and you’ve always been the one to do for yourself and others, so it’s time for someone to do something for you for a change.”

“This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,” she said, trying to hide the glistening in the corner of her eyes.

“It’s my honor.”

I scrubbed around her crooked toes and massaged lotion into the cracks of her heels.

The door opened and an astonished nurse’s face peered in.

The woman who would never get up . . . was up. She had walked, was washing up, changing clothes, and . . . smiling.

“How did you get her to do that?” she asked me later at the nurse’s station.

 “I just washed her feet.”

It worked every single day, with every single patient I saw in my work as an occupational therapist.

Jesus washing feetIt worked because Jesus did it.

He washed the feet of his disciples and even his enemy, the man who would betray him.

It was an act of love to a person with perhaps the ugliest feet ever, the man who was the most un-loveable of them all.

LOVE washes the unwashed feet.

Linda CrawfordHelp me Lord, to bow low and wash the feet of the loved and un-loved today.

Writing in the White Space: Upending the Thief

On Sunday, Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna!”

Hosanna

On Monday, he entered the Temple courts and began overturning tables and clearing out the “den of thieves” that had taken up residence there.

jesus upending

Thieves and robbers living in the courts of the temple–the holiest place of worship. . .

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10 NIV

THE THIEF.

STEALS. KILLS. DESTROYS.

JESUS.

DRIVES OUT THE THIEF.

I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34 NIV

BRINGS LIFE.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV

REBUILDS WHAT WAS BROKEN. 

Our temples, our lives, our hearts.

white space prayer

Prayer . . . the white space of his house for us to fill.

Love heartLord Jesus, I ask you to enter the courts of our hearts today, to upend the dwelling places of the thief, to cleanse us of the destruction and death, and to restore that which the thief has stolen from us–our lives, our love, our praise, and our prayers.

May we receive the fullness of your abundant life and beauty today, for you have written LOVE, in red, in the white space of our cleansed hearts.

Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Linda CrawfordWriting in the white space of prayer for you to behold more of the beauty of the Lord today.

 

We celebrate the beauty of words…written in the white space–the empty room of freedom of thought–where words are created that sing, dance and illustrate life’s beauty.

More Writing in the White Space:

Astonished by His Grace

Astonished by His Grace

Margins

Margins

We long to create poem

vytvoreni

Six Minute Sabbath: Hosanna!

palm fronds

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”  John 12:12 -13 NIV

Celebrating the triumphal entry of Jesus this Palm Sunday in words, pictures and music.

Hosanna! Blessed is our Lord!

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Everything is possible

Love is

You are beautiful

Anything Can Happen: Sit. Rest. Listen. Breathe.

the conversation

Sit.

Your feet are tired of running, your knees sore from bending low, your hips weary from carrying the load.

Rest.

Your body aches for stillness, your mind for tranquility, your spirit for harmony.

Listen.

The breeze rustles the first leaves of Spring before it brushes warm against your cheeks. Your friend speaks…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”      Matthew 11:28-30

Breathe.

Breathe in the rhythm of grace . . . Breathe in rest.

Rest

Linda Crawford

 

 

 

 

More Anything Can Happen posts:

In His Hand

Genius

It's Not the End of the World

The Face of Beauty: Mothers-in-Law

Mothers-in-law too often get a bad rap.

So today, here at Beauty Minute, it’s Mothers-in-Law Day. A day to celebrate the beauty of mothers-in-law and to give them some much deserved honor.

Happy Mothers-in-Law Day!

Here’s my tribute to my mother-in-law. . .

I first met her on August 7, 1988, her 66th birthday, a few weeks after her son and I had started dating. I was understandably nervous about meeting the mother of my new boyfriend and didn’t know the proper way to address the birthday card I’d picked out to give her.

Should I put her first name? Mrs.? What do you call the mother of your new boyfriend?

He told me to just write “MOM” and to not worry about it. Although that sounded way too presumptuous, I did it.

In our first moments of greeting I nervously handed her my card–only I handed it to her upside down. She roared with laughter as she read it and sang out in a loud voice, “WOW!”

I was mortified! Was she mocking me? I wanted to shrivel into a corner and hide. Then she turned to me, took me in her arms, and greeted me with such genuine acceptance and joy I was overwhelmed!

From that day on she was never Mom, but always WOW!

If she was WOW, I was wallpaper. I did everything to try to fade into the background. I tried not to be noticed—not to attract any attention.

She wore gold shoes, drove a bright red car, wore neon green and pink (often together) and had a voice to match! When going about town to do errands I spoke to no one. When out in public with her I would secretly pray she would not talk to people.

I was embarrassed. She spoke to everyone, asking personal questions, giving advice, and teasing total strangers! It seemed she didn’t care how much attention she drew to herself.

She even called the newspaper when a tree blew down in her backyard just to get her picture on the front page with her new granddaughter!

I tried to be invisible when I was with her, but wherever we went people knew her. I was noticed because I was with her.

It was uncomfortable.

As the years went by I slowly began to have a deep respect for her fearless approach to people. She had suffered many hardships in her life. Her family had lost their farm in the Great Depression. Two beloved sisters passed at young ages, then her husband died three months after their son (my husband) was born. This forced her to be a single working mother in the late 50’s and through the 60’s–an unusual role for a woman in those days.

She could have become bitter, sad and withdrawn, but she chose instead to enjoy life and enjoy people. She had no fear of rejection—she didn’t even understand the concept. To her it was inconceivable that people should be afraid of one another.

I was, on the other hand, bound by fear of people, and her presence in my life made it very obvious. Over time, I began to loosen up a little, but unfortunately, it wasn’t until she became terminally ill that I realized what a valuable influence she was on my life.

I spoke with her candidly one day in the Hospice unit and told her I was sorry I had been embarrassed by how outgoing she was. I admitted I was basically afraid of people to which she replied, “I know, and I could never understand that.” I told her I wanted to be less afraid and more like her. She seemed pleased and patted my hand…

Soon after, she went to be with the Lord—an event she looked forward to with great anticipation, and the Lord gave me the honor of being with her as she took her last breath and moved her lips as if to speak…”Wow!”

She may be gone, but the influence of her presence in my life is not.

my red shoesI was wallpaper when I met her, yet now, on occasion, I wear a bright, bold color, and I even own a large collection of red shoes! (She would be so proud.)

Her presence in my life revealed a bondage of fear in me and gave me a building block to a freer future. I will never be a WOW; she was the one and only WOW. But I pray I may continue to be touched and influenced by her example and may the Lord set me free, as she was free!

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)

Linda Crawford

May today be a happy and beautiful Mothers-in-Law Day!

 

 

More Faces of Beauty:

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Lygon Stevens

Lygon Stevens

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Photo: The Banner

You planted a flag to rally your people, an unfurled flag to look to for courage. Psalm 60:4 MSG

balcony bannerThis picture from Wednesday night of this week inspired a question that turned into one of the most beautiful and meaningful beauty moments of my week. I shared the conversation below on Facebook, and it seemed to inspire others as well.

So I’ll share the beauty with you. May it bless you as it has me.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

bannerQuestion to hubby: “What’s the meaning of the banner they hang over the balcony before the pope appears?”

Hubby: “Flags were invented because from a distance you can’t see where your commander is in battle. They mark his presence.”

Holy Spirit:

“My banner over you is LOVE.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Are you in a battle today?

Linda CrawfordLook for the colors of God’s flag!

Praying for those of you in the midst of a battle. 🙂

Linda Crawford

 

 

 

More Photos:

The Tree

Focus

The Kingdom's Perfumery