This Old House

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven,
not built by human hands. 
2 Corinthians 5:1

This old house is getting shaky. This old house is getting old. This old house lets in the rain and this old house lets in the cold. On my knees I’m getting chilly but I feel no fear or pain ’cause I see an angel peeking through a broken window pane … From “This Old House,” 1954, Hamblin Music Inc.

Patty Duke died yesterday. (Tweet That!) Our earthly tents–my old house and hers–were the same age. 

God willing, I’ll enter the decade of the 70s soon … not the 1970s … my 70s. (Tweet That!) 

How in the world did this happen? Where was I as 70 years whizzed by? 

I may not remember all the years, but I feel them. (Tweet That!) At times I catch myself hunched over and limping–or sitting down in an easy chair with a whew like my grandmother. 

hand-141669_1280Gone are the days when I hopped from chairs and skittered across rooms, folded myself over to tend a baby on the floor, or sat with my legs bent backwards, playing Solitaire. Nowadays I rise from my bed with a hand at my back. I have no choice but to carve out time for stretching. Four foot surgeries have left me with an altered gait, and after three hand surgeries my fingers catch and pop. I’m three inches shorter and sixty pounds heavier than when I was sixteen. 

Knowing I’m not alone lifts my spirits. (Tweet That!) Paul the Apostle describes aging somewhat as I would:

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened because we do not wish to be unclothed …
2 Corinthians 5:2-4a

A Christian, groaning? I’ll say. Sometimes even with medication, groaning is about all I can do.

mourning-360500_1280A Christian, burdened? Oh yes, some days, more so than others–like those times when a shroud of depression takes hold of me, blocks every ray of light, weighs me down. I’m burdened–with disappointment, disillusionment, and discouragement. I remember squandered opportunities and affections, both past and present. Trauma. And sin. My heart breaks under the weight of regrets that threaten to swallow me up. 

Fortunately, Paul doesn’t stop at groans and burdens. He inserts purpose and promise: (Tweet That!) 

… but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 5:4b-5

angel-1026502_1280The 1954 song “This Old House” by Stuart Hamblen echoes the words of Paul, from groaning under burdens to looking for an angel to take us home. (Tweet That!)

This old house once knew my children
This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin’ walks about

This old house is getting shaky
This old house is getting old
This old house lets in the rain and
This old house lets in the cold
On my knees I’m getting chilly
But I feel no fear or pain
‘Cause I see an angel peeking through
A broken window pane

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
 Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the window pane
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
I’m getting ready to meet the saints

In the Book of 2 Timothy, Paul offers further hope:

… the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8

As comforting as it is to know I’m not alone … and as hopeful as I feel when I read of a heavenly home, I sometimes feel guilty just for feeling guilty, for being depressed, for regretting. Aren’t I a daughter of the King of Heaven? Isn’t He preparing a home for me? What in the world do I have to be depressed about? What’s wrong with me?

The guilt over depression is enough to … well, to send a person into depression. (Tweet That!)

thistle-287467_1280But then I remember a phrase tucked away in Paul’s fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, words easily overlooked that stear me in the right direction: … so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God. (Tweet That!) 

Why am I burdened? Why do I groan? Because I’m mortal. God intends my mortality for a purpose. (Tweet That!) I don’t understand it, nor do I like it most days. But, unlike Hamblin’s old house that’s destined for nothing but decay, my body may be falling apart, but–because of Jesus–I’m destined for life! (Tweet That!) Such a promise carries me through periods of depression. Such life is worth the wait. For Jesus’ sake.

Thank you, Lord, that our mortality will be swallowed up by life one day! Because Jesus lives! Hallelujah!

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Worth the Wait: Baxter Lesson #5


Writing The Calling of Ella McFarland has required a virtue: patience. But learning to wait is hard.

Baxter, my four-month-old Cavapoo, spends a goodly portion of his day waiting. At my feet. While I write. In his 4 months of life, he’s learned some things are worth the wait.

Baxter’s in good company.

Take Abraham Lincoln, for example. Good ol’ Abe suffered one defeat after another from 1832-1858. Granted, he enjoyed some successes those years, but the big win didn’t come until the presidential election of 1860.

lincoln_president-391128_1280What if Abraham Lincoln had given up in 1832 when he suffered his first defeat for state legislator and a business failure? Or in 1835-1836 when his sweetheart died and he had a nervous breakdown? There were defeats for Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, nominations for U.S. Congress, land office, U.S. Senate, and U.S. Vice-President.

Or if Abe had given up in 1858 when–again–he was defeated for the U.S. Senate, the Emancipation Proclamation wouldn’t have been written in 1863. Nor would General McClellan have finally been removed of his command and the way cleared for General Grant to lead the Union to victory. 

Immortality as arguably the greatest American president was worth the wait.

GrandmaMosesStamp1969-public-domainThen there’s Anna Mary Robertson Moses–otherwise known as Grandma Moses–who first painted as a child using lemon and grape juice, ground ochre, grass, flour paste, slack lime and sawdust for creations. What if she hadn’t been willing to wait for the right time for her talent to emerge? After decades of marriage, child-rearing, and farming, and after arthritis had destroyed her ability to embroider, she picked up a paint brush at age 78. And the rest–including a U.S. postage stamp in her honor–is history.

Reaching icon status was worth the wait.

And, oh, how long Frederick Douglass waited! From his birth in slaveryFREDERICK_DOUGLASS_public-domain around 1818, he never knew his mother–I do not recollect ever seeing my mother by the light of day. … She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone–until his death in 1895, Douglass never ceased to stand for freedom. Born into slavery, he made repeated attempts to escape and finally made it to freedom in 1838. He became the foremost voice for the abolition of slavery and stood for a woman’s right to vote. 

At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party’s roll call vote. And he died in 1895 shortly after returning home from a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C.

Advancement toward equality was worth the wait.

Baxter’s contentment comes when he gets my attention. Abraham Lincoln wasn’t content with emancipation; his next goal was reconstruction. Grandma Moses painted as long as her fingers could hold brushes, and Frederick Douglass rested only in death.

At the moment I’m basking in the joy of the release of my long-awaited debut novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland.

But I’m also waiting for that day when all the wars and rumors of war will end. 

Some things are worth the wait. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

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