New Year Pause


©Jeanne Webster – All rights reserved

Resolutions, everyone? How about a revelation then? I’m not a great resolutionist of idle thought, but give me revelation of a gap in my relationship with God, I’ll report for duty every time. This New Year I have resolved to intensify my closeness to God. My spirit tells me I need to; my heart rejoices with the thought.

Where do I begin this trek? I think I’ll start with my prayer time. I’ve rather become a mite flippant, a little fiddling instead of a lot of communicating. With a bit of introspection, we could all draw closer to God, don’t you think?

A favorite hymn that always causes me to ponder with wonder:
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I Know Whom I Have Believed
~Daniel W. Whittle 1840-1901

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me he hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for his own.

Refrain:
But I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that he is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

 

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

Refrain:

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word
Creating faith in Him.

Refrain:

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

Refrain:

BUT I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED,
AND AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE
TO KEEP THAT WHICH I’VE COMMITTED
UNTO HIM AGAINST THAT DAY.
.
Happy New Year, my friends in Christ.
Shalom,
Jeanne

He Came…He Redeemed


© Jeanne E Webster – all rights reserved

From a tiny baby in Mary’s womb
To a Savior risen from the tomb–
He came…
to save the lost.

In Gethsemane’s night He agonized much
His Father’s heart, He surely touched–
He paid…
the ultimate cost.

From Nazareth town a carpenter’s son
To a wooden cross, His onus done–
He redeemed…
our every sin.

From heaven down to earth below
He would be lifted up to show–
He is…
our everything.

Come, Emmanuel, this holy day
Bless our Nativity Feast we pray–
He commands…
us to love.

Little Child, Our King of Kings
Let Your true love help us sing–
Oh, sing…
in heaven above!

(O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.)
~Phillips Brooks, 1868

Leaves…Leaving


©Jeanne E Webster All Rights Reserved

Frank Sinatra’s tune put me in the mood for autumn ponderings.

“The falling leaves
drift by the window,
the autumn leaves
of red and gold,”

LEAVES ARE:

Flaming papery shards burnt to a scratchy crisp–

Floating kaleidoscopes of yellows, oranges and reds–

Flying vibrant pieces of parchment gravitating earthward–

Flippant shreds of tree embellishments settling to the ground–

Freefalling wax papery scraps rehearsing their aerobatics–

Fluttering colorful debris delighting in merry-go-round rides–

Fragile remnants intermingling, forming loosely knit piles–

Fragments of mighty oaks forced into the atmosphere and back–

Fractured leftovers from past sun-filled summer days–

Frolicking foliage dancing wildly in tiny wisps of wind–

Frivolous flecks of decaying verdure appearing here and there–

Fidgeting scrappy leathery rags scurrying across the road–

Falling shapes flip-flopping as they twirl down, down to the ground–

Fiery shapely bits, as ashes from a flame,

Filling the dusty atmosphere with musty sweet aromas,

Flattening horizons of hills, rills and potholes,

Freeing the once green giants from their thick outer coats, and

Flitting pieces of spent adornments returning to the dust.

Have Mercy on Me

©Jeanne E Webster- All rights reserved

 

Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, sat
Beside the Jericho road,
Crying out to those passing him by
For alms to lighten his load.

One day a great crowd swarmed on past
He inquired, “Who goes there?”
When told that it was Jesus the Christ,
He shouted into the air:

Chorus:
“Son of David, have mercy on me!
Oh, please have mercy on me!”
Some of the crowd tried to quiet him
But he still cried out his plea.

Jesus heard him and looking around
Commanded, “Bring forth that man!”
Bartimaeus rose and dropped his cloak
And grasped for the Master’s hand.

Jesus asked, “What do you want of me?”
“Oh my Lord, that I might see!”
Jesus replied, “Then go your way;
Your faith has set you free!”

Chorus:
“Son of David, have mercy on me!
The Lord had mercy on me!
I once was blind but now I see;
Christ Jesus has set me free!”

Are you stuck by your Jericho road,
Tired of your life full of sin?
Cry out to Jesus; He is the door.
Open it and walk right in.

The crowds may tell you it’s all in vain:
“Be quiet; let Him go by!”
But open your heart and pray out loud;
The Master will hear your cry.

Chorus:
“Son of David, have mercy on me!
The Lord had mercy on me!
Oh, what joy is ours, what peace divine
When Christ Jesus sets us free!”

Based on Matt. 20:30-34

(I have written the score for this song also.)

Why All the Hurtin’?

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved

A friend of mine just called to say
That her dear mama died.
I heard her words of sorrow, Lord,
And hung my head and cried:

refrain:
Lord, why all the hurtin’?
Lord, why all the hurtin’?
So much in life is painful, Lord,
so hear my prayer tonight.
~
I know your angels took her mom
Home to be with you;
My friend is lost and weary, Lord,
She needs to know this too.
refrain:
~
This friend of mine, so full of love,
She just shines, she just shines…
So help her through this bad time, Lord,
For she’s a friend of mine.
refrain:
~
I love this friend so very much,
It hurts me so I cry.
I lie awake alone at night,
Just wond’ring, wond’ring why:

~
Lord, why all the hurtin’?
Lord, please stop the hurtin’?
So much in life is painful, Lord,
Please hear my prayer tonight.

 

(A song I wrote shortly after a friend called to say her mother had died. I have written the score for it also.)

A Long Ago Story

 

© Jeanne E Webster. All Rights Reserved

“Jesus loves me this I know…”

Curled up in bed, she finds no escape from Mommy’s piercing cries. Softly tiptoeing to the window sill, she  longingly looks up to the heavens, as if searching for an old friend. She believes her home is out there and a heavenly, loving Papa awaits her return. Since learning the “Jesus Loves Me” song at Vacation Bible School one summer, she drew much comfort and hope. Peering impatiently into the dark, starry expanse, she pleads with her Papa. “I don’t like it here anymore, Papa. Please send an angel to take me back home.”

Only five years old, she knows fear… fear of her stepfather. He’s hurting Mommy now, and she’s afraid she’ll soon be the next victim of his drunken rages. Trembling with dread and hatred, she hears him bellowing her name. The routine is humiliating. He forces her to remove her clothes and stand before him naked, then proceeds to beat her with his army belt. Glaring into his eyes with intense rage, she is most afraid of crying in front of him, not the pain he inflicts. He mustn’t know he has hurt her; she must remain strong. “Please, Papa. I’m so afraid. I want to come home.”

“For the Bible tells me so…”

Stumbling through school with average grades and many sick days, she grew slowly into an angry, stubborn, withdrawn young girl. Teachers comment on her report card, “She will not act like a young lady. She’s always fighting with the boys.”

Home life is chaotic. Constantly on guard when her depraved stepfather is present, she keeps mainly to her bedroom or stays outside until nightfall. His lack of morals is evident as he prowls the house, naked except for a newspaper shielding his privates. “Thank you, Papa, for making me strong and protecting me. I wish Mommy would be strong enough to leave this nasty person.  I asked her once why she puts up with the beatings. She said, ‘Because I love him.’”

“Watch over me, Lord.  I still want to come home but I don’t know how to make that happen.”

“Little ones to Him belong…”

Many years passed.   The young girl mellowed into a happily married mother of four. Life was good for the first few years, but overshadowing this semblance of normalcy was the Viet Nam war. “Papa, watch over my husband and protect him from harm and send him home to us soon. The kids really miss their daddy. Thank you.”

“They are weak but He is strong…”

Daddy returned from war a stranger, dishing out physical and mental abuse on a daily basis to the young wife. Physical battles ensued with resulting scratches and bruises. Before long Mommy had become the villain, according to Daddy. He encouraged the kids to hit her, declaring her an unfit mommy. The Sears & Roebuck catalog was searched routinely for a new mommy. Divorce ensued after Mommy got on a greyhound bus headed for nowhere, leaving her whole world behind and calling it quits to the abuse.

Due to the fierceness and severity of the divorce dynamics, the young mother had only one viable option regarding her children. She had to leave them in the care of their father. There were no safe houses, no support for abused families in those days, and she had no family support or a job. Her husband promised to shoot her if she applied for a divorce, removing the children out of state would result in a kidnapping charge, and both options were not in the best interest of the kids. A dead mom and a lifer-in-prison dad were not good alternatives. So she walked. And inside…died…for a long while.

“Please take care of my children, Papa, and protect them from harm. I know You are stronger than anything life can throw at them, and they are good kids. They are my life. I give them back into Your hands. I know I will see them again someday; that’s all that matters. I love you, Papa!”

Epilogue:
Long ago Anna B. Warner penned the song, “Jesus Loves Me.” A young woman took those words to heart and believed them and staked her life on them. Why? The Bible told her so! The Word of God is far mightier than abuse, fear, threats and even death itself.

The Song of the Lark

 

© 2013 Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved

A dazzling orange sphere emerging in the eastern sky
[Or is it slowly setting in the west? Any comments?]
Roof ridges atop a teetering, shadowy farmhouse and barns
Cutting into a golden idyllic horizon.
.
Acres of lush verdant weeds/crops lie in a blurry expanse
Fast forwarding to the large brown cultivated plot of dry rows
As the viewer closes in on the central figure with amazement
A peasant woman standing in the front of the field.
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She is the foremost and largest object tiered in the painting
A dark blue bandana wrapping most of her dark brown hair
A faded blue weather-worn short-sleeved blouse
Tops her denim work apron tied across her mid-section.
.
Muscular arms and hands accustomed to farm labors
Dark cotton-looking full length skirt stops at mid-calf
Soil smeared stout feet walking forward in mid-stride
Along a well-worn compressed field path.
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Thick black eyebrows outline her bright blue eyes
Her lips part in wonderment as her cheeks flush
Standing erect, her eyes seem transfixed and glassy
She waits–gripping a scythe in her right hand.
.
Lo, she is suddenly mesmerized by the song of a lark
Her entire being appears to hold in pause mode
Beautifully enraptured facial features,
Almost religiously painted, one can sense the passion
Of the young peasant woman abruptly taken aback
By the sacred sound of the lark.
Beautifully done.

 

[Ekphrastic poem describing a painting by Jules Breton: The Song of the Lark]

The reproduction seen here does not do justice to the painting, as it is dulled in brilliance and the colors are quite subdued. This is offered merely to give the reader a small semblance of the real painting.

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