Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Encouraging Words for Those Who Are Alone at Christmas by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

The holidays can be a hard time for those who are missing loved ones.  There are so many sad feelings that are difficult to share.  Thoughts that you might hear, if you listen closely are:

“Christmas is simply not Christmas without Mama’s smile.”

“I miss Daddy’s laugh.”

“My brother always made Christmas special.”

“I miss all of us going caroling and laughing when we hit the sour notes.”

Midnight Mass as a family.”

“Christmas morning church.”

“My heart will not stop breaking for the loss of  the love of my life.”

You may not hear the words spoken from the lips of a friend or loved one, but if you listen with your heart, you will hear.

Christmas is Over  by Jaye Lewis

Christmas is over,
The New Year's almost here.
The tree lights are darkened,
I sure do miss you, dear.

The stockings are empty,
As is my aching heart;
Yet I needed to tell you
Before the New Year's start.

I'll always love you;
You're always in my prayer.
If ever you need me,
My thoughts will be right there.

Although there's a distance
Between us, I still smile,
Because I can hold you
In my heart for just awhile.

I realize God gave me,
A gift I know is true.
The gift that he gave me
Is all my love for you.

I don't know the reason
God gives and takes away.
I just know this season
I turn to him and pray.

"Bless all my loved ones,
The ones for whom I care.
Keep them in safety,
Until I can be there."

I know that God loves me,
And He loves you, too.
So in His season,
I shed my tears for you.

© Jaye Lewis, 1999

With Love to All Those Who Are Alone This Christmas,
Jaye Lewis

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Encouraging Words for the New Year: A Healthy Life by Jaye Lewis

I have never been an athlete.  I’ve never had much interest in sports, ever since I stopped playing touch-football with the boys.  I tried tennis.  I hit the ball too high, too long, and way over into left field.  I’ve tried softball.  I don’t know why it’s called “softball,” because it felt pretty hard when it hit me in the eye.  I tried running, but I couldn’t get serious about it unless someone was chasing me.  I tried swimming, but even though I float like a cork, and have had numerous lessons, I can’t seem to get over the idea, that I’m really going to drown.  Finally, I settled on walking, and for a number of years, I walked three to five miles a day. 

I’m never going to be an athlete, but I make do, especially in my mid-life years.  Which brings a question to my mind.  When did I hit mid-life?  I remember that when I hit thirty, I thought my life was over.  I remember my fortieth birthday, I was suddenly “over the hill.”  However, it was at fifty that I began to discover “me.”  I didn’t have to run, jump, play tennis, or prove myself in any athletic way.  I could just “be.”

Fifty became the beginning of my age of enlightenment.  I figured that as long as I was in fair health, I had another fifty or so years ahead of me.  Then came the life threatening asthma attacks.  A disease that had been merely an annoyance, was now in control of my life.  Within months I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis.  At fifty-five I found out about my diabetes, and I became fascinated with pharmaceuticals, hoping that they could give me quality of life. 

One day, when I was least expecting it, I became free.  I discovered that God had given me a priceless gift.  Time.  I began by noticing the sunsets, and I had the time to stop and really wonder, at the beauty and magnitude of it all.  I moved on to the sunrises, and I quickly found out that if I wasted the early morning on self-pity, I missed the loveliest part of the day.  I began to notice feelings of gratitude.  I found myself with time to witness the changing of the seasons:  that first whisper of spring, with its tender green shoots; the warmth of summer, with it’s flowers, bees and butterflies; the rustling of copper-colored leaves beneath my feet in the fall; and the hush of that first winter snow.
When illness would hit me, leaving me alone and housebound, I began to enjoy the solitude. I had time to reflect, gather my thoughts, and pray at leisure.  I found that I was experiencing this mid-life season, and I was no longer missing every moment, shackled to the chains of worry and what might have been.  Worrying about tomorrow only served to make me overlook the blessings of today.
It’s not always easy.  A few loads of laundry and a pile of dishes can take an entire day; but then I don’t push myself much.  I often neglect to make the bed, as I watch the rosy glow of dawn meet the rising sun.  I have time to walk our wooded acre with my little dachshund straining at the leash.  I read the signs with him, sniffing the air, and gazing out at whatever takes my fancy.  I spend my time by studying the sky with the same intensity that my little dog studies the ground.
I get to meet the day, every day.  I get to say good-night to the ever deepening sky.  I’ve studied a lot of sunsets, in the last fifteen years, and I’ve never seen two that were exactly alike.  I’ve learned to know my Creator as I never have before, and I’ve made my own mind up about the mysteries of life.  I am quite certain that all of this creation is no mere accident.
I feed the birds, and I take great delight in their multicolored hues.  I drag a chair to stand on, so that I can fill the feeders without help.  I say a prayer as I struggle, thankful to be able to do something for someone besides myself.  I often chuckle at all the pretensions of my former youth.  I take great delight in my life.  I thank God for all the precious little things of every day.  It has take me many years, but I have finally come to understand what real health is.  It is a health of the soul, and when I have real health, then I truly have everything.

© Jaye Lewis, 2000

With Love,
Jaye Lewis

May God Grant You a New Year Filled With Happiness!!!!!

Miracle in a Manger by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

Christmas is for children.  Children of all ages.  Everyone who is a child at heart.  So let us not forget the child who started it all.  A little boy, moments old, filled the world with hope and love.  I cannot tell the story better than the Gospel of Luke, in the Bible, but I can give you a peek into my heart at Christmas.  I see four dogs, keeping their watch by night, peeking into a manger where the Son of God and Savior of the World lies sleeping.  I see a night where I would have wanted to be, should I have lived then, just me and my dogs, in a manger.

Miracle in a Manger  by Jaye Lewis

Miracle in a manger
On a midnight clear,
Singing filled the universe
From angels far and near.

Shepherds heard the story
Marveling at the words;
Making haste to see the King
They left their grazing herds.

On the climb up to the manger
Deep within a darkened cave,
They could hear the shushing voices
Telling animals to behave.

And then the shepherds saw the cave
Send forth a golden glow.
The light spilled down the mountainside
And filled the valley below.

Stars that twinkled in the night
Shouted out with silent joy.
To celebrate the miracle
Of Mary’s baby boy.

Around the tiny manger
The animals stood in awe,
And something deep within them
Made them celebrate what they saw.

The ox began it’s lowing
As Donkey began to bray.
“Shout out all you creatures!
Christ is born for us this day.”

Then other creatures, great and small,
Moved forth to take a peep
As Mary held her little one,
Who lay there fast asleep.

Mini-dachshund gazed in wonder,
As mini-schnauzer smiled;
Shepherd dog and Pomeranian
Beheld the little child.

“Rejoice!” Sang angel voices.
“Behold a marvelous thing!
In Bethlehem of David
Is born our Christ the King!”

© Jaye Lewis, December, 2011


With love,
Jaye Lewis

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Encouraging Words for Those Who Are Searching for Answers by Jaye Lewis

When I was a little girl I had a very big faith.   I loved Jesus with all my heart, and I was willing to fight for him and trust in his goodness.  I remember a church service in a cemetery, once, where the soil was so rocky, there was no where to kneel, so I knelt on rocks.  I was glad to do it.  Proud to do it.  And then it started to pour down rain.  In my passionate child’s heart, that made the service even better.  I loved God, and I wanted to serve Him.  That was my way.

As I grew older, especially after being ripped from my childhood home, and everything familiar and loved, that is when the doubts crept in.  How could God allow so much heartache in my life?  Why did my mother spiral down into depression, and later, manic depression?  Why was my father an alcoholic?  Why was my family so poor?  Why were the nuns, the priests, and children whom I did not know, so cruel?  Why did no one like me?  And why was I ridiculed because of my faith?

By the time I was fourteen, I began to doubt the very existence of God.  If there was a God (note how the word “if” crept in) why would He allow so much sorrow?  If there was a God, wouldn’t He have given me a good family?  If there was a God, did He love me?  And if He loved me, why did He not take me away from the people who on a day to day basis made my life miserable?

From doubt and “if,” I moved to certainty, then back to doubt and “if” again.  Then a strange revelation came my way, I began, at the age of fourteen, to read the Ethics of Aristotle.  It was there that I was introduced to logic.  Logic, said Aristotle, proved the existence of God.  Something, or Someone, came first, and that Something or Someone had to have created everything else.  That revelation impacted my life in a profound way.

Now, became the real journey.  Since there is a God, does He love me?  My father often said, “Why should He?”  Then, dear old Dad would launch into all the reasons why it was impossible for God to love me.  I was a little girl, barely in my teens, and I was offered no hope of God’s love.

When I arrived into adulthood, I still struggled with the question, does God love me?  Is there a reason why He could love me?  Was I lovable?  Was I forgettable?  And when I was taught in Sunday School that God loved me as my own father loved me, I thought I had found my answer.  No.  God didn’t love me, just as my father didn’t love me.  I was devastated and cast adrift.

However, instead of leaving me in the dark, God never let go of me.  When He seemed farthest away, as I’ve matured, I have found Him closest to me.  I only wish that I had clung to Him with a stubborn faith, instead of blaming Him for everything bad that ever happened to me.  Through the years — and I have lived quite a few — God has never left me, and He has told me about that whole father/Father confusion:

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:15-16a NIV

So, though my mother accused me of incredibly awful things, whether she was in her right mind or not; though my father made it quite clear with his insults and cruelty that he did not love me; though my brother showed contempt for me, holding himself up as an example; whether my sister spread horrible lies about me; whether any of these things, and worse were said about me, God knew me, and He never forgot me.  I am so special to Him, that He engraved me on the palms of His hands.  God not only tells me that I am special, but He knows me, again I know this from His own words:

“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.   You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue You, LORD, know it completely.”  Psalms 139:1-4 NIV

If only I had a Bible teacher when I was young.  If only I had been led to understand just how much God loves me.  However, I went to Catholic School, in the old Catholic Church, where we were taught that reading the Bible for oneself was dangerous.  We were not capable of understanding without the Church’s interpretation, we were told.  I hope that times have changed, and that Roman Catholic children today are taught of God’s love through His Word, the Bible.  Perhaps if more people had been taught about the love story between God and us, we would live in a different world.  God's love for us is the greatest love story of all time.

Searching for Miracles  by Jaye Lewis

Before God spoke the universe into existence He knew my name.

Before He created the atmosphere He held me in His heart.

Before He created the oceans, the land, the plants and creeping things He chose the color of my hair.

Before He created the animals and before He created the first man He loved me.

He placed within Adam’s body all of the DNA of every human being who would ever walk the earth, and within him he placed the color of my eyes.

Before He knit me together within my mother’s womb he cherished the sound of my laugh.

Before I shed my first tear he felt my pain.

Before my sins, my sorrow, and my stubborn disobedience, he chose to carry them to the Cross.  He hung there His blood pouring out for me.

Why he chose to do this I cannot comprehend.  God wanted me to be his own child.  How can that be?

With all of my flaws and character defects He wanted me to believe in Him, and He gave me the grace to believe in myself.

God loves me with a fire that can never be quenched.  I am special to him, even if I am not special to anyone else, including myself.

I have tried to perfect myself, and I have failed.

I have tried to believe the world’s message, but I have found no answers.

I have followed the paths forged by others only to find disaster at every bend in the road.
Only God has given me the answers that I have sought.  Peace.  Love.  Fulfillment.

The change in my life is not a complicated one.

It’s not about how good I am or how I pray or how often I go to church.  It’s not about money or fame or popularity.

I cannot speak for others.  They must decide for themselves.

I only know that the world has given me no happiness.

After searching my entire life, I have only been able to find the answers to my questions, on my knees at the foot of the Cross.

© Jaye Lewis, 2003

So, in spite of me, God pursued me, He caught me up in His arms, and He loves me.  God.  Jesus.  My Redeemer.  My Messiah.  And in this time of Advent, as we prepare for Christmas in so many secular ways, let us not forget to prepare for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth.  Our lives may not be perfect.  We may be alone.  We may be surrounded by people who do not love us.  Our dreams may seem far away, but 2000 years ago God so loved the world, each of us, that He sent His One and Only Son who showed us how to live, and who died for our sins, that we may have eternal life and live with Him forever.  In this time of chaos, that is what I cling to.  If that is not an answer, then I don’t know what one is.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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