Friday, May 01, 2009

A Flickering Light

Still loving my Bible study Passionate Prayer by Catherine Martin. In a reading a couple of nights ago, it directed me to write out Psalm 104:1 Let all that I am praise the Lord! O Lord, my God how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. Psalm 104 is one of my favorites, and I've read it many times before, but of course, each reading bring new understanding as God chooses to open my eyes. This time my eyes kept going back to the first sentence: Let all that I am praise the Lord! It's the kind of verse I've probably read and sang hundreds of times, but for the first time, I thought about what exactly it meant, especially the word all.

I, like all other women, bear so many roles in my life: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, and church-goer just a few. What would it mean if ALL that I am, in every one of those roles, praised the Lord. Then I started thinking of others things I am: blogger, reader, writer, citizen of the township of Gillett, part of the Oconto Falls school district, Wisconsinite, American, consumer, producer. What would it mean if I praised the Lord in all of those roles as well? What would it mean if we all did?

I added that idea to the peace of mind that came with the Psalm 42:8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me. I hung on to that peace and it carried me through fights with my kids, worries about money, and daily frustrations that would normally having me cry to Heaven for mercy. But today I woke up with a flare up of my rheumatoid arthritis. My joints felt like someone had taken a hammer to them in my sleep. I could hardly walk, and every movement took enormous effort. I had forgotten about another role I have: RA sufferer. How do I praise the Lord in the midst of this overwhelming pain? I prayed about it and turned it over to God, and in his grace and mercy he gave me an answer. It's one I'm only beginning to understand, but it's my lifeline right now. In Claudia Mair Burney's haunting novel, Wounded, the protagonist, Gina, suffers from the pain and evidence of stigmata. She has the one of the most amazing faiths I've ever read about, and she turns her suffering into a way to come closer to Jesus. She embraces it, because she's suffering they way He did. It doesn't relieve her pain, but it gives her a way to understand and accept it. My faith is nowhere near as strong as Gina's, but I am praising God in ALL that I am, even with RA. My pain brings me closer to God, because I am forced to lean on him for the strength I do not have, and because I know that he suffered just so for my sins. All that I am, and all that I have, all for Him.

A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick in the first in the historical fiction series A Portrait of a Woman. Kirkpatrick has fictionalized the story of her grandmother Jessie Gaeble who worked as a photographer's assistant in 1907 Winona, Minnesota for F.J. Bauer. Jessie is a feisty, tiny girl of fifteen when she starts working at Bauer's studio with her own ideas about how photographs should be taken. Bauer takes her under his wing and teaches her how to pose photos, develop them, and run a studio, which is necessary when he succumbs to occasional mercury poisoning leaving him unable to run the business for months on end. Bauer has a less than perfect marriage, and the two are drawn together by their common love of their craft. Kirkpatrick has an unusual talent for creating incredibly real characters. It's the rare book that is so great that its characters find their way into my dreams. For me, that's an indicator of a book that is far above the masses of similar books in the genre. I am completely pulled into the story, and when the final page is turned, find myself missing the characters inside. Thank goodness this is a series! Kirkpatrick captures turn of the century life in a small Midwestern town and fills it with characters the reader can't help but take to heart.

The winners of a copy of The Noticer were Judy Brockman and Christy Glover. Here is Judy's entry: I have been a hospice volunteer for the past 15 years. In 2001 one of my patients talked me into going back to school so she actually lived long enough to help me study for my first 3 classes. I graduated in 2005 from NWTC with a 4.0 GPA and just love my job as a certified medical assistant.

And Christy's The person who has impacted my life the most was definitely my grandma, Joan Hart. I lost her too early, when I was thirteen, but I remember her being the person I always wanted to spend time with, no matter what. I loved to watch her putter around the house, vacuuming, cooking, ironing Grandpa's hankies (what a saint! I don't think I would ever iron my hubby's hankies!). Grandma always looked her best, too...cute little wedge shoes, pedal pushers, and lipstick. Always lipstick and Chanel Number 5...basically Grandma taught me about being a lady. About grace under pressure, making the best of things, treasuring family, and never, ever letting the men know that we ladies are actually the ones running the show.

Congratulations to them both! I'll be starting a new contest on Monday. Happy May Day and have a wonderful weekend!