Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Shadow of God's Wings by Jaye Lewis

It’s a subject that few people like to talk about. It can generate fear and denial, yet I live with it every day. Growing old. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a knock-out in a bathing suit? Of course, my bathing suits were never that revealing, but I remember feeling good about my body. I don’t remember how or why my body changed. It just did. One day, I looked into the mirror, and I saw a person who was different than I had hoped to see. It really bothered me. And every time my husband told me that I was lovely or beautiful, I didn’t believe him.

It’s hard, growing old. A dear friend of mine says, “Growing old is not for wimps.” At nearly 63 I am intimately aware that more than two-thirds of my life is behind me, and a short path is before me. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot. What does it all mean, this growing old? To some people it means abandonment. To others it means a loss of productivity. A sense of no longer belonging. Perhaps even a feeling of uselessness.

To the very young, of course, old age will never happen, so many young souls waste the precious youth that God has given them, and one day, when they look in the mirror, someone older, and hopefully wiser will look back at them. In my heart I’m still the barefoot girl on the beach. I’m still the young mother sheltering my children from a stormy night. I’m still the late-blooming lover of my husband. And I’m still clinging to my sight that is failing; yet accepting the road ahead. Each day is a gift, and each breath is precious. Life is not a bathing suit, and happiness is not what once was, but what will be.

I believe that God lights my path. I see His light in every sunset. I hear His laugh in the brilliant flowers of spring. I feel his touch in the night, when my husband’s warm hand gently strokes mine. Many things change as we grow older, we may suffer from the breakdown of our bodies, as we age. Our eyes may grow dim, as mine have. Our bones may ache. Our feet may hurt. Oh there is a host of ills that come to the aged, but that too is not life.

Life takes place in our hearts and our minds. Life is what feeds the soul of those who will not give up, no matter their limitation. Life is a hand to hold in the autumn of your years. Life is the blessing of children, who still love and need you, as time and circumstance brings good-bys that much closer. Life is gathering together every good thing, and letting go of the bad. You may have lost family and friends, as I have. Yet, you still have much to give and receive, if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life is laughter, smiles, and forgiveness, and when that is impossible, life is simply moving on and letting go.

For me, life is first my relationship with God. I often fail in that. He deserves so much more than I give, but I am trying to be better every day. Life is my love for my husband, and my thankfulness that he still loves me. Life is the joy I feel when I see my daughter’s lives entwined with mine…that first cup of coffee of a morning, when we are all together, wrapped in the warmth of our love and laughter. And often, when I am alone, life is the time I spend with our little dogs, and our great big one, whose soul is, perhaps, the tiniest and most vulnerable of all. All these things are life to me, and I hold them close in my heart.

And finally, I am very much aware of my mortality. I have diabetes, asthma, fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuropathy, and other complications of diabetes. Yet, my blood profile is perfect, thanks to new, almost miracle medications. So, life, for me is with limitations. But my heart loves fiercely, my generosity knows no bounds, except for the limitations of my pocket book. I have suffered from illness for a very long time. I have been face to face with my mortality many times. It’s not as awful as you might believe, this living in the shadow of God’s wings. It can be quite beautiful. It can be the best life of all.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, March 23, 2009

Believing is Seeing by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Today is a day when I have a dim view of the world. Oh, not in my heart or mind, but in my eyes. My eyes are failing, and sometimes it scares me. I hurt myself, because of having little or no depth perception. I'll reach for something, and totally miss the object. I have to turn on all the lights, sometimes, just to gather all the information as to where I may step or even to open a window. My eyes are very important to me. I love the natural world, with flowers, bees, birds, sunsets in the mountains, and the illusive sunrise. As a result, I am recording remarkable things on my digital camera, which my husband gave to me for our anniversary. I never thought that I could be so hooked on something that is so technical, and that I was sure was pretty much out of my league. How wrong I was.

I think I was first hooked when I took my first pictures of a rainbow. After my husband downloaded the pictures to our computer, I could see that they were breathtaking. I moved onto sunsets and sunrises, which are spectacular in the mountains where I live. I became transfixed with cloud patterns, the changes in the weather, and lovely celestial events, that I never want to forget. Even when I have no camera, I see the world in pictures. Right now, if I close my eyes and think of something beautiful, I can literally see it…flowers, blue skies, and sunshine. Most of the time I see flowers or simply colors. When I write, I see pictures in my brain. Like my camera, I have taken snapshots throughout my life, which are themes written upon my soul. You might say, that for me, believing is seeing.

It is the same, I believe, with faith in God. I believe, therefore I see. For some people, such as the man who wrote to me on Thursday night, there is not only a lack of faith, but also an unusual need to contact me. This gentleman let me know that I’m a very nice “guy,” (He obviously had no idea that I am a woman.) but I am "somewhat na├»ve." There is no God, he explained, there was only a “Big Bang.” God is not God, but Big Bang is God. Or God is Big Bang. Yes, it was confusing, but I understand where this person is coming from.

I once lived in the fear of not believing. It was a dark and lonely place. There was a strange need to reach out, and seek to make light of another’s faith. I once feared that this world was all there is. To justify a lack of faith, many people reach out to me and explain how stupid I am. That’s okay, though, because I have been there, too. I am ashamed of it, but I did it. What I found, however, is that one who is truly a believer can rarely be overcome by such an obvious attack. Grace is the answer, and the only answer. God placed this faith in my heart, after many years of running away from Him. I ran so far, that I bumped into myself. One day, I stopped running, and that was when His grace poured in. I wrote a poem that day, that I would like to share with you.

THE GIFT by Jaye Lewis

How many times have I run from Your Presence;
Sighting the target, yet, missing the mark?
How many times have I wandered the wasteland?
How many times have I run in the dark?

Over and over I failed You and failed You;
Yet, somehow or other, You never failed me.
Constantly looking over my shoulder;
The freedom before me I failed to see.

What made me blind, that I just couldn't find You?
Why was I so stubborn, I just wouldn't see?
Yet, now, here I am, so aware of Your Presence;
For the first time I feel so incredibly free.

Constantly Present; Constantly Guiding.
You never gave up on this vessel of clay.
Passionate, Loving, Your vision surrounds me;
I'll praise You and thank You the rest of my days.

Halleluiah to Jesus, Beloved of the Father.
Praise to the Spirit, three Persons, yet One.
I'm no longer my own, I belong, now, to Jesus.
He loves me in spite of all I have done.

My heart is so full of the blessings He's given.
I cannot contain all the joy that I feel.
God knows I have done nothing to earn this;
Yet, without a doubt His Salvation is real!

© Jaye Lewis, 1999

So, this is the truth. I finally understood what God had been telling me all along. I am His. Do I believe that the earth is only 5,000 years old or 50,000,000 years old? To tell you the truth, I don’t care. I believe that there are truths that science discovers every day. My new diabetes treatment is a perfect example. They discovered this drug in the saliva of a Gila Monster, which has a deadly bite. A synthetic of this element was then created in a laboratory, and now I take two shots a day. It is one more medicine which has given me back my life. I also believe that God is the Author of my life, and the inspiration for scientists who don’t even know Him or acknowledge Him. But, you see, I do. I believe, and in believing I see. Believing is seeing, at least in my life.

So to this man who was so needing to ridicule my faith, you asked who created God, the very person whom you say you don’t believe. If you don’t believe, why does it matter to you? You also said, if there is a God, why can we not have peace. Well, I say to you that He pours out His peace into our hearts, and it is our responsibility to bring peace about. Jesus gave us a command to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and embrace the stranger. He couldn’t be more clear.

Father in heaven, I know that many readers of this blog do not know You. There are also those who do. I thank You for Your gift of grace, and I ask you now, for a blessing for each soul who visits this site. Bless them, Lord, with your grace, in this uncertain time, when belief seems to slip through our grasp. Help us all, Lord, through our many adversities. And for those of us, who are still struggling to pay mortgages that have doubled, as well as keep up with the rest of our bills, grant us the grace to still reach out a helping hand to our neighbors. To You be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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