REDEEMED

 Mary Redemption

Her room was still like time had stopped, Her eyes at nothing, stared                             Until a beep from the machine, brought her back crystal clear.                                       She looked down at her arm and saw the IV in its place                                                       Just for a moment, she had gone back, to another time in space. 

Tears trickled down that old drawn face, her lips began to quiver                                     As she recalled the years gone by and pain that she’d delivered.                                         It all seemed clear, as she looked back; it wasn’t clear back then.                                   She wished to have a second chance, some way to make amends. 

The angry names her mother hurled still made her cringe in pain                                  And knowing that she did the same brought grief, regret, and shame.                            She didn’t end dysfunction, as she was sure she would                                                        And life went by, so very fast; it was too hard to change. 

She looked up at the ceiling, and yelled out “Are You there?                                               Do You care about me? Can You remove despair?                                                                 Does hope exist? Can change be known? If so, then show the way!                                  Hear my prayer, see my heart; I’m buried in mistakes!” 

Questions filled her weary mind as she lay there exhausted                                                  Is it true that God restores the hurt and broken hearted?                                                   She shut her eyes; her shoulders shook, as tears continued falling                                With humbled heart, and contrite spirit; she longed for a new calling. 

The hours trickled slowly by with no response from heaven.                                                But a strange rest had filled her heart and peace was like a fragrance.                           That restful state was broken with a stroke upon her hair                                                      A voice that she had longed to hear said “Mom, I’ve news to share.” 

“A year ago, at my ropes end, I gave my heart to Jesus                                                               Since that day I’ve changed and grown, more than I can measure.                                        I’m learning to submit my will and die to my own way                                                                   The chains that tightly bound us, He’s breaking more each day.” 

“I love you Mom, and know your plan was never one to hurt us                                      You too were hurt, and it’s been said; hurt people… will hurt people.                            But hope has come into my heart, revealing a new path.                                                      We cannot change the hurt-filled past, but hopes with us at last!”  

“For I can see a future paved, with a new legacy                                                                         It’s there for us if we will grow and seek God on our  knees.                                                     In God’s all knowing timing, He’ll heal each hurt and scar                                                          Submitting all and letting go; our lives will be restored.                 

“The devil brought destruction, to our heart and soul                                                              But God is here to lift us up and take back all control.                                                             We can forgive each other, as Christ’s forgiven us                                                                     He’ll wash us clean and make us new as we give Him our trust.”  

“Dear Mother, I invite you, to join us in this path.                                                                        To know that you’re forgiven and all that’s past… is passed.”                                          That withered hand reached out to hers, as tears rolled down their faces.            With breaking voice the elder said, “OH…the years I wasted.”  

“I’m sorry for the things I’ve done, and for the words of pain                                                   I wish that I could turn back time and wash it all away.                                                              But know dear, that I love you, and I’m sorry for the hurt                                                           I need the hope that you have found to mend my broken heart.” 

Just before the morning broke with no bells or alarms                                                        With peaceful heart, she breathed her last, and went to Jesus’ arms.                             Her children knew that she was free from bitterness and shame                                  And they rejoiced, with hands upraised, to hope in Jesus’ name. 

God used her children’s hurt-filled past; took beauty from the ashes                                 As they reached out to hurting souls and others who had suffered.                               No troubled path, no chains that bind, no mountain sized life problems,                   Are greater than the power of God who brings good from our losses.                         But stubborn hearts we must lay down; to change, we must be willing                       And as we do, we shall fulfill, God’s awesome, glorious, calling.                           

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Contemplating the Declaration of Independence

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I’m taking a side trip this post into some patriotic history, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve made it deliberately brief but hope my encouragement for you to read the Declaration of Independence is heeded. I know you won’t regret it.

 This morning I read The Declaration of Independence in honor of The Fourth of July (America’s Independence Day) and once again I was overcome by the wisdom and courage it possesses. I’m also made aware of the determination and strength of character the 56 original signers possessed. Each one put their lives at risk when they publically signed and formally declared the United States of America a sovereign nation. Their convictions that the USA needed to be free from Great Brittan’s rule were so strong the risk of death was a small price to pay.

The signers were a diverse group of men, many had the privilege of a formal education and were lawyers, doctors, professors, and politicians. However, others had an informal education and were craftsmen, farmers, printers, and politicians. Though their walks in life were varied they shared a deep conviction that the United States of America should be autonomous, self-directed, and unencumbered by the dictates of England’s King George III. This conviction kept them discussing and fighting with each other from June 7th 1776 until July 4th, 1776 when the finished document was agreed upon by all and signed.  After a month of discussion and several revisions this group of men managed to agree upon and create one of the most significant documents in the history of man.

The last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is not quoted as frequently as the second paragraph, but I find it empowering. It couldn’t be more straight-forward. “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.” What strong and clear words these are, King George III had no choice but to take them seriously.

I encourage you to read the Declaration of Independence in full this Fourth of July to gain insight and knowledge into our Country’s independence and the start of the Revolutionary War. The USA’s freedom from tyranny came at a high cost then, and continues to require sacrifice today; a price paid over and over again by men and women whose convictions and courage lead them to fight for their beliefs, much like our Founding Fathers.

This Fourth of July I feel a particularly deep gratitude to our Founding Fathers and their courage to argue with each other but not give up on their goal. Their courage to fight against a tyrant and their wisdom to agree that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

May you know  you are blessed to live in these United States of America.

 Debora Shelford Hobbs