Thursday, March 30, 2017

And Spring's Song Is

Spring’s song. 


It’s new every morning. 


Every morning the air stirs fuller than yesterday as wind plays her woodwinds and the sound deepens as leaves grow. Baby squirrels strum branches beneath tiny feet and the scrape of their scamper is as beads sliding down the  tube of a rain instrument. And when it does rain, oh, the drip! The barefoot patter on wet ground, the lightest skip across pond’s surface, the tangled race down jasmine vines draped!
Morning’s dawn like this sometimes, and spring’s song opens in an overture of white fragrance.

Spring’s song.
A hawk circles low over the pecan grove just there on the far side of the fence. High screech pitches from the beggar’s beak while Mourning Dove coos low. 
Lonely, lively, longing. Reaching, rising, rambling.
Spring’s song.
A robin pops in from under the fence and I think to myself, Spring’s song is hospitable. I may sing it like that today.
A swallow dances in the air. Spring’s song is light as a feather and strong as wings. I may carry someone’s burden today, and dance for the joy of it.
A spider hangs out in the web she spun half-way between the tree and the corner of the house, somehow. Spring’s song has a logic which borders on the miraculous.
A woodpecker hammers hard-headed, a blue jay tries to clear its throat, a cow across the way sounds like she’s about to become a mama and I laugh to myself.
Spring’s song is unapologetically real. It’s honest.
It’s sweet to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This is the song I hear this spring morning.
Spring’s song! I shall speak words which taste sweeter than honey!
I shall!
These words, they are spoken from the mouth of Life and I will speak them, too!
It’s sweet for the soul to speak so. Sweet to taste each honeyed word. Sweet, too, for the souls who will hear the speech.
It’s sweet for the soul to be quiet. Still. To listen. Hear. Wait. Taste. See.
The robin? Her mate has joined her with his beak full of plans the likes of twined twigs and old hay.
 Spring’s song is a beautiful mouthful of plans, winged hopes, hard work and labor which just happens.
It’s grace for today.
It’s Spirit full.
Spring’s song is-
“be filled with the Spirit;”
and Spring’s song is-
“speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,”
and Spring’s song is-
“singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”
and Spring’s song is-
“giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ;
and Spring’s song is-
“submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:18-21).
Spring’s song is eternal.

written by:Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Life Prevails

When heart is worn and bleeding thin,
Where suffering has entered in;
There is a veil, was torn in two,
When holy heart bled for you.

The questions, wrung out collections of tears,
"Why, Lord, did You shorten his years?"
The answers will come, when it's time,
But now, He keeps you by His side.

Your pain is etched across His face,
His arms protect in fierce embrace;
Sometimes the only words which heal,
Are the words meant only to feel.

As Father, He knows your scarlet grief,
Shades of pain and sorrow's release;
Perhaps His silence, so hard to bear,
Is not because He does not care.

Behind the tears which veil the eyes,
The soul takes solace where angel resides;
"Don't fear." He sees you've entered alone.
"Hear the river flow from the throne?"
And silence hidden away so sweet,
Finds voice and joy, buried, barely breathes;
It comes up for air, joy's lungs inhale,
Till mourning gives way and life prevails.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig
Journaling is good for the soul!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cranberry Marmalade

Cantaloupe and blueberries.

An English muffin and my homemade cranberry marmalade.

The coffee mug with roses and forget-me-nots painted between the leafy pattern swirling the mug. It's gift, the mug.

And these colors gracing my breakfast table. Gifts. Sweet blueberry blue bowled in cantaloupe color. Muffin and marmalade. Isn't food beautiful? Goodness! Blue, yellow, toast, and deep red in one meal.

Food is beautiful!

I sip from the roses and forget-me-nots, and also from this Living Water just pooled on the pages of my Bible.

I chew the muffin and taste the marmalade sweet with a hint of cinnamon and cloves and apple; and also taste the sweet with subtle hints of spice which is this Bread and this taste-the-sweet-Word-of-God kind of spice-God's Word.

The Word of God isn't bland.

It's not colorless.

It's not sickly sweet.

It's breakfast in the morning.

Between bites, I ask God, "What have You given me which is precious to You?"

I've been reading the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, "The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them."

I know the man in the parable is the Son of Man, Jesus, and that He's telling His disciples what the kingdom of heaven is like. Seems to me He's also telling them how to live until that day when they will enter the kingdom of heaven and see for themselves what it's like. At least, this is what He's telling me.

The Son of Man is coming. He is! And when He comes? Well, He tells about that, too. "When the Son of Man comes in His glory...He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left."

I wonder, the two servants who are invited by their master in the parable to enter into his joy, are they the likes of the sheep which Jesus is talking about? And the servant who was called wicked and lazy, would that servant be as goat? I think so.

Seems His servants will be separated according to what they've done with His goods, and seems also that none will enter His joy because they've done all the right things. Works alone are as blueberries rolling around on a plate. Faith without works is as hollowed out empty cantaloupe.

One supports the other, and the other fills the one. When faith and works come together, they prove one another as tart cranberries and bitter orange zest in the same pot with grated sweet apple and a bite of cinnamon and clove in a rolling boil prove the best marmalade you'll ever taste.

"What have You given me which is precious to You?"

It's right here on the page I'm sipping from. He's given the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, foreigner, lonely. These are His precious.

These are to Him what the talents were to the master in the parable.

These are given to His servants to feed, give cold water to, clothe, comfort, heal, visit, treat with respect, welcome, and keep company.

Maybe it's mystery that when His servants do these things, they do it unto Him; but it's not so mysterious in the doing of it. Seems the mystery unfolds as it's being done. Seems He gives what is precious to Him, and then gives more-the desire to respond.

May I respond the way He tells me to and with the desire He gives me, rather than the way I think I'd like to and with a desire I try to give myself. The difference is this-respond the way He says and with His own desire, and find out that it's a response directed to Him.

It's what His servants do with what's precious to Him, and what they do because He is precious to them.

This is entrance into His joy even before He returns.

It can't be helped.

Enter His joy by entering His joy.

Cranberry Marmalade
1 c. honey
16 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
juice and zest of one orange (juice should be about 1/2 cup-add water if necessary)
1 apple, grated
cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
couple pinches brown sugar

Place all ingredients in a pan on medium heat. Bring to a low rolling boil for about 15 minutes. 

Stir often to check for thickening. If the cranberries haven't all popped and it's getting too thick, add water or orange juice. You may also mash the unpopped berries.

Pour hot mixture into jam jars and refrigerate.


written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Somehow Glory

When battle scars are painfully fresh,
When salt water seeps
Out from beneath
My lashes,
My warrior cry escapes from trembling lips.

As salt water washes and heals flesh wounds, surely tears wash and heal soul wounds.

I think about the tears which seeped from beneath my Savior's lashes-His lashes!

“Thank You! Thank You!”
What healing soaked and spilled from the lashes,
When Savior eyes wept
Tears that were shed
For this time,
My Warrior's cry escapes for my passion.

It saturates deeper than skin-by His lashes I am healed.
Wonderful to be healed while I'm in my skin, and wonderful to be healed when my skin dies.

It reminds me of what the apostle Paul said when he had the choice to live on in his skin, to live on with an eye ailment which probably caused his lashes to crust as eye ailments are known to do, or to die-

"To live is Christ, to die is gain." That's what he said, and may I say it, too?

I may. I can. But, wow-I can't do it without the grace of His tears and the healing of His lashes.

I’ve unsheathed the Word of God and battled against disease that aimed to destroy a man’s mind and body and a woman’s hope.

And somehow battle scars have become glory.

What is glory, really? The World English Dictionary defines glory: "adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving.”

Somehow this glory has become.

Somehow this glory is.

Somehow scars have become reminders to give this glory.

Sheer grace.

Grace unveiled.

Only God can heal like this.

It’s more than I can wholly grasp, but let the holy grasp me.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Found Out

She tried to hide it, her laughter, but it escaped from her elderly lips before she could hold it back. She hadn't meant to burst out like that. She only meant to quietly snicker like she did when she was a girl pressing her ear to the door to hear her parents' conversations. The best conversations were the ones held behind closed doors. Those were the conversations where she sometimes learned about a coming surprise and overheard her name. She loved surprises. She still loved surprises, even at ninety.

"You laughed."

"No I didn't." She was caught and the lie slipped out like the laughter had just moments before. What is wrong with me today! Have I no control over my mouth? She scolded herself.

But it was laughable. It was! She nearly burst out all over again, and might have if she was alone. But, no, this was a serious matter. She was going to have a baby. She, who was ninety and barren.

She delivered Laughter. That's what his name, Isaac, means.

I'm boning an oven roasted chicken and the oldies song, "Walk Hand in Hand with Me" has me humming along. I sing this one in recognition of my heavenly Bridegroom.

Walk hand in hand with the Father and walk trusting Him.

Isn't it an expression of trust to place my hand into another's and go with that one? Well, for me it is.

For the likes of those who have given their hand to another in marriage, to walk hand in hand with another through life, it's a sure expression of trust.

I did that decades ago, gave my hand in marriage just all happy, "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay." It's wonderful fun when a husband goes where a wife wants to go, and when she gets to go wherever there is, with him. It's not so fun when everything inside wants to pull hand away.

Yet here's something I found out when I really didn't like where we were going--my husband's hand isn't the only one holding mine.

There's another pair of hands holding mine, and those hands belong to God.

Oh, this poor chicken. I'm not good at boning. Never was much for dissecting in science class, and in Home Economics we never boned anything. We baked cake.

This poor trusting chicken with no hands!

Sometimes we are taken where we don't want to go.

But, when there's the kind of hand-in-hand relationship which trusts the Father who holds all things in His hand-and who is good--then don't we go? What I found out is that I go. I do.

I found out that I go, even when laughter, tremendous expression of joy, is at stake.

I found out that I go, remembering others who went before me with their hands firmly in the heavenly Father's hand.

I go, remembering Jesus. The Apostle Paul. The heroes of faith written of in Hebrews 11. And Isaac, the name sake of laughter who, by sovereign design, was the first and only child of Sarah born to Father Abraham, grandfather of Israel.

I'm held in the same hands--the hands of the God of Israel. So, yeah, I found out that I go.

Something happens which seems only to happen in the thin altar places.

A veil opens and a glimpse of holiness so holy that one glimpse brings inexplicable joy and it's the joy of the Lord.

The joy of the Lord! That's some mighty joy!

That's a joy which gives might and returns laughter in fullness.

Maybe Sarah laughed more loudly than she meant to, but I imagine the visiting angels and the Lord meant to bring attention to her laughter because maybe they meant to make a point about the expression of joy.

And about trust.

Joy and trust. It's a delicate relationship.

Ruffle the feathers of trust and joy will become as skeptical as a chicken on the block.

Joy and trust. It's an often abused relationship.

Or it's a beautiful relationship.

I gave my hand in marriage and walk hand in hand with this big Bavarian husband of mine and my small hand disappears in his.

I also take the hand my heavenly Father offers.

He won't always lead me away from places where my heart will tear, but I found out that He holds His own joy and trust in His own hands.

I found out that when He offers His hand to me, He offers everything He holds.

I found out that He proves what He says.

I found out that He proves the exchange of mourning for joy. Of ashes for beauty.

I found out that He proves the return of laughter, and He returns it more full.

Sarah's snicker came from elderly lips, and her belly was filled with laughter.

I can just imagine how full her laughter was when she saw afar off the figure of her son Isaac-the figure of Laughter-walking toward her when maybe she didn't know if she would see him again. I don't know how much Abraham told her when he went out with Isaac and wood for the altar and without the animal to be sacrificed, but I do know that we wives are fairly astute when it comes to the ways of our households, and intuitive when it comes to our husbands. I imagine that if Abraham told her everything, she might have had a bone to pick. I know I would have, and it wouldn't have been pretty. All I have to do is look at what's left on my cutting board to know that.

I won't take a picture of it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Poignant Hope in the Laundry Room

Her name was Mother of all Living. That's what the name, Eve, means.

I remember when I folded the tiniest socks. They were blue for the boys and pink for the girls.

The socks grew.

And grew.

They outgrew their colors and favored white which quickly turned grass green or grey; and they grew holes, too.

There were other socks which were all grown up. They were black and brown with very important business patterns on them. I paired up and folded these socks a good solid year before there were tiny socks in my laundry room. The big business socks didn't grow holes very often and, oh my, I felt important just folding them.

I was a young bride in the laundry room where God first began to instruct me in matters of socks and life. Ask Him to tell you about it, if He hasn't already, and I'm sure He will.

She wasn't always called Eve.

Eve wasn't Adams first name for her. His first name for her was Woman.

Then Woman, well, she did what God forbid. The whole story is an open book to for all to read in Genesis.

Blame was cast, and she wasn't the only one at fault. Yeah, she did what she wasn't supposed to do, but Adam really didn't do what he was supposed to do. Seems he stood by as Woman conversed with the serpent. At least, he wasn't too far away to know that she was naked. The only one who did exactly as was to be expected was the serpent, Satan.

And he was the one who was cursed.

Adam wasn't cursed. The ground was, and I wonder what was God thinking when He didn't put a period after, "Cursed is the ground." He didn't. He couldn't. Something in His character is displayed by the absence of a period and the presence of three more words--"for your sake."

Eve wasn't cursed. She would desire her husband and her pain in childbirth would be greatly multiplied. Kind of a catch 22, but not a curse.

Woman was then named Eve.

I don't know about her, but I'm not sure I'd have liked that name, given what it means and given on the heels of what God just said about desiring her husband and bearing children in increased pain. Did she cringe just a little when she heard her name? Was her name a continual reminder of what had happened in the garden, as the weeds taking over the ground might have been a reminder to Adam? Maybe.

I relate to Eve.

May I say that she's the mother of my flesh nature?

And may I say that though this I be, Eve's daughter after the flesh, I am after the Spirit Sarah's daughter?

I do say these things, and then I add them together and isn't it remarkable that Sarah was, after the flesh, also Eve's daughter? Call me simple as socks turned right side out, but turned right side out and paired with these two there is for me what I call poignant hope.

Poignant hope. Though there is within me the old nature, daughter after the flesh of Eve, I may be called a daughter of Sarah.

Poignant hope. Though my old nature contends for what is not hers to have, and sometimes wins, I am a new woman in Christ and He contended for me, and won.

Poignant hope. Though she would deny me the richness of the poverty which is rightfully mine by blessing, she snags her socks on a cursed ground and mine are blown off by what is written, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

It's poignant to me that there's a reason of redemption that God cursed the ground for Adam's sake. 

Poignant that there's a reason of redemption which comes from God's sentence that Eve's desire would be for her husband and that she would be "saved in childbearing if they continue in faith..." (1 Timothy 2:15).

Pain with a point to it, rather than pointless pain, brings a reality to hope. And isn't that reality what we call faith? It must be, because faith is the substance and evidence--the reality--of things not yet seen but hoped for.

I pair up socks. Mine. They are the no-show type with "No Nonsense" stamped on the toes. It fits.

No nonsense faith is a hope-bound faith, no matter what thorns, thistles, weeds, sweat of brow or multiplied pain.

I reach for more socks and turn them right side out. I find a where a sole has worn a hole in the heel and nod. Yep, I get it.

So, this is my laundry room. This is where I pair up no nonsense faith with poignant hope.

Poignant hope.

Isn't poignant hope the kind which hopes all the more when the soul has worn a hole where faith's gotten real?

Isn't poignant hope often the strongest hope there is?

I think so.

Should I enter heaven with a well worn but no worse for the wear soul, it'll all have been worth it.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig