I read a short bio on this young woman, St. Elisabeth of Hungary while we were on our beach holiday last week. It is such a cliche to say her life struck me, but it actually did. She was a wealthy girl living in an opulent world. As a young woman she was married and gave birth to three children while her husband was continually out on military campaigns. During her short life she fed the poor and cared for the desperately sick. She was widowed and forced to be separated from her children. She spent her last days living in complete poverty subject to her own personal persecutor. She gave up everything in life to serve those around her and endured cruelty to do so. "Her life ended," as one person put it, "when most lives are beginning." She was only 24.
From the outside her life looks like nothing but a tragedy, but the hard facts of Elisabeth of Hungary's life belie the heart of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. History has tried to explain her and label her, but the explanation can only be found in Christ and His unfathomable love and the label may read something more like "pure in heart" rather than a watered down definition of saint. A young girl called out of a secular court by the Voice of her Father to bring His love to her poor and sick and dying subjects. It is not really the story of Elisabeth, it is the story of her Savior and how He brought her through the valley of the shadow and into His glorious light.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Jesus put a song in my heart/ He turned my life around/He gave me a treasure-the heart of a servant
Whoa! Major blast from the past when I started singing that song this morning! My mom always said, "just give her a stage and a mic and she will be set." So now I have a stage (this blog) and a mic (my keyboard) and boy does it make me happy!
When I was a baby, about 9 months old, I started walking and talking. Close behind the talking came the singing and I mean LOTS of singing. No radio? No problem. I had a repertoire like you wouldn't believe (think old school Amy Grant). My parents bought me my own little red record player and I sang my little heart out at home and every time I had the opportunity to get in front of a crowd. Someday I was going to be a famous singer!
A few years ago I had the great joy of getting to sing on our church's worship team. Funny thing, whenever we would have practice I knew that a couple of states away a childhood friend who was also into music was practicing for her church. Somehow, knowing I was singing with my sister in Christ at the same time every week made that practice time so sweet for me.
Now days once in a while I get the privilege of sitting near a beautiful woman of God in our church who is blessed with a gorgeous alto voice (and four children as well). It is fun to see how God fulfills those childhood dreams in such beautifully effortless ways. Especially when we are broken, the love of God just seems to pour out on those around us in a special way.
So as I take those first steps in the unknown, I know I am not alone.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I know what it's like to have unfinished dreams...it takes a long time, but when you are ready, when you are strong enough, we have your pointe shoes waiting for you.
Surrendering my life to God is a difficult process. Sometimes the things that I want and the plans that He has for me don't match up when I want them to. I try to yield to His will, but most of the time I have no idea what He is doing, and that is what makes faith challenging.
God made me one of the scrawniest creatures ever. As a kid and a teenager I was so insecure about my long limbs and tiny frame. I used to cry when people would make fun of me and ask me if I was anorexic, more when adults looked at me with all-"knowing" pity. One day though, I discovered a place where I had the ideal body (albeit a long torso). It's an art where music, movement, and spirit meet: ballet. No teacher will ever say to a healthy ballerina "you are just too skinny." I had finally found my place. But in my mind, I found it about 12 years too late. Nineteen is not the ideal age to start training as a classical ballerina!
So I held back. Oh, I loved it with all my heart. I slept it and ate it and fell asleep with the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing in my head. But, I knew that there was only so much I could give. It was very clear to me that God never intended me to be a professional dancer: in part because I have zero turnout, but also because having a big family was higher on my list of priorities.
So, I have come to the place where I get to enjoy participating in this beautiful art form in my own way. But I still struggle with the desire for more. To get to experience the joy and pain of training all day every day. To watch my body and my skill develop into something beautiful that touches people's hearts. What fun that will be!
Posted by Lissanne at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth...
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable." -- Kahlil Gibran
One of my favorite Disney moments is Wendy singing the lost boys to sleep. When I finally took the time to read Peter Pan, I fell in love with Mrs. Darling and her desire to have everything "just so." The way she folded up her children's thoughts and feelings at the end of the day in the same way we mothers tidy a bedroom inspired me in the care of my children's needs. There are so many little chores that we do as mama, and the care and keeping of the hearts and minds of our little one's can sometimes get pushed behind more immediate needs like "what's for lunch?"
As we ushered our fourth child into the world, I felt the assurance of a job well done and completed. It really doesn't get any better than giving birth in total surrender to God and allowing Him to redeem even the act of bringing a life into this world. I knew I had learned my lessons about natural childbirth when I pushed this beautiful 7 lb. 13 oz little boy into the world. He was the reward for all my hard work.
So, as I go through life and learn through the hard experiences of really living, I know that there is a reward. Someday all the pain will be over and I will hold my inheritance for a moment before I lay it right down at the feet of my King.
Posted by Lissanne at 4:35 PM
I love my husband. He is such a fun, great guy and we have the joy of living with and loving each other. I am so honored to be his wife and have his trust, his confidence, and his love. I can't believe that he let's me have so much room to figure life out without any judgement or restraint. He truly loves me and I love and adore him.
The other important relationship in my life is the one I have with Jesus. I have been following the sound of His voice since I was a little girl. He is the one who has carefully guided me and protected me through every situation and every blunder that I have ever made. He covers it all. Every emotional outburst, every stupid retort, every sin. Someday I will stand before Him and I will be the flawless, beautiful woman that He created me to be. For now I have to live with the person that I am and continually yield my will to His. But someday....hallelujah!
As I struggled recently through the long winter of my heart I knew I could not give up or give in. In some ways I settled in, like the mouse Charlotte Bronte talks about in one of my favorite books, Villette. But a part of me has always wanted to be awake to see, to understand what goes on outside in the swirling blizzards of the dead of winter. The fear of my heart freezing to death while I rest does not sit well with me! But rest is what we need, and what we are all called to. "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest". So now I know, winter comes whether we want it to or whether we expect it or not, but so does spring!
His will be done, as done it surely will be, whether we humble ourselves to resignation or not. The impulse of creation forwards it; the strength of powers, seen and unseen, has its fulfillment in charge. Proof of a life to come must be given. In fire and in blood, if needful, must that proof be written. In fire and in blood do we trace the record throughout nature. In fire and in blood does it cross our own experience. Sufferer, faint not through terror of this burning evidence. Tired wayfarer, gird up thy loins; look upward, march onward. Pilgrims and brother mourners, join in friendly company. Dark through the wilderness of this world stretches the way for most of us: equal and steady be our tread; be our cross our banner. For staff we have His promise, whose "word is tried, whose way perfect": for our present hope His providence, "who gives the shield of salvation, whose gentleness makes great"; for final home His bosom, who "dwells in the height of Heaven"; for crowning prize a glory exceeding and eternal. Let us so run that we may obtain: let us endure hardness as good soldiers; let us finish our course, and keep the faith, reliant in the issue to come off more than conquerors: "Art thou not from everlasting mine Holy One? WE SHALL NOT DIE!" -Charlotte Bronte
Posted by Lissanne at 10:28 AM