Never Alone by Susy Medeski
Simple Gifts by Jane Heitman
Reflecting His Light by Dianne Matthews
Eventide by Muriel Larson
About the Art “My Ways” by Steve Miller
by Susy Medeski
From the moment Jacob was born, he has struggled with the normal functions of life. His experiences in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) for pneumonia and his subsequent doctors’ visits left Jacob fearful of the medical profession. Just getting him through his annual checkup was exasperating for both the doctor and me.
However, Jacob has always been a delightful little boy. He was a hyperactive toddler who had difficulty learning to talk. At age three he started school with a specialized curriculum to help him learn to communicate verbally. As he learned to speak, I discovered how Jacob processed life experiences. He believed everything he was told, followed rules rigidly, and expected others to do the same. Although his inflexibility made many situations difficult to work through, I used it to help him learn to trust doctors.
At Jacob’s 5th annual checkup, I shared my insights with his pediatrician. Using the information wisely, he explained to Jacob that once you turn five, doctor appointments are no longer scary because you are never alone. I could see that Jacob had not realized that before, and after my confirmation, complete peace washed over his countenance. The appointment went smoothly. While driving home, I told Jacob that, just as I am there for his appointments, God is with us through everything. Jacob still has unpleasant experiences with doctors, but he has never stopped believing what we told him and is no longer afraid.
Jacob’s trust is such a wonderful reflection of how God wants me to trust Him. In my quiet time, I discovered that more than any other command in scripture, God tells us, “Fear not” because He is with us. Isaiah 43:1-3 reminds me that I need not be fearful in any circumstance.
But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator… “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God…” (NASB).
Now I understand my son’s peace in difficult circumstances; he believes I will be there for him. As he continues to experience pain on the road to healing, Jacob’s trust remains steadfast, and he is now my little role model. No matter what I face each day, I am learning to trust God and others as my son does. In learning to trust, I have become more aware than ever of God’s presence and protection, and I continue to be amazed by God’s faithfulness to me and my precious son Jacob. We don’t have to be afraid, because we are never alone.
© Susy Medeski
Susy Medeski writes to encourage her brothers and sisters in Christ and mentors women with practical, godly instruction in daily living. In her city of Kingwood, Texas, she leads a woman’s accountability group and Bible study. She and her husband have four children.
by Jane Heitman
Too much hurrying, too many scheduling problems, too many heavy meals, too many sights, and too many miles in too little time—where was the spiritual renewal I expected on this trip to Germany with my church choir? A group of one hundred people, constantly on the move, didn’t provide room for reflection about anything.
In Potsdam (then East Germany), our schedules fell apart yet again. The group from my bus sat at a town hall waiting for the other bus instead of touring the city as planned. Exhausted, I wanted more than anything the luxury of some quiet time alone. But we had to get to Haupstaffe, the church-school-hospital complex, and practice for our concert that night.
“‘Tis the gift to be simple….” The old Shaker song, part of our repertoire, lingered in my mind. After rehearsal, the church’s school hosted our evening meal. Instead of our typical three-course tourist meal, we happily ate what the students did—cold cuts, cucumbers, and tea.
“…’Tis the gift to be free….” While we ate, the students told us that only since the new freedom of 1989-1990 had they been allowed to take the exams necessary to continue their educations. Thus their choices of professions and earning power had been limited. The East German government had made the tests “verboten” (forbidden) at church-owned schools to discourage religion.
“…’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be….” The students looked forward to hearing our concert, and we looked forward to theirs at a reception later. I left the table revived.
“And when we find ourselves in the place just right….” In the few minutes between supper and concert warm-up, I grabbed my camera and explored the grounds. I discovered a lake, nearly surrounded by trees. Several rowboats were tied to an old wooden dock. I cautiously stepped onto it to see beyond the trees.
“…’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.” This was the solitude, the peaceful place I had longed for. I soaked it in then put my camera to my face and arranged the shot. Just as I snapped, a swan flew into the center of the frame, a simple gift from God to remind me whose I am and why I was there.
“When true simplicity is gained, To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed, To turn, turn will be our delight Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.”
I hurried to put on my choir robe, my spirit already singing.
© Jane Heitman
Jane Heitman, a freelance writer and library technician in Grand Junction, CO, writes for Christian and education markets. Her books, Rhymes and Reasons and Teach Writing to Older Readers Using Picture Books were published for school librarians and language arts teachers. She is known to break into song anytime, anywhere. You can find out more about Jane at http://www.childrencomefirst.com/janeheitman.shtml.
Truth in the Shadows
Are you ready for some fun? Looking for pictures in the clouds is a time-honored tradition, but you can also find images in other places, if you look for them. You might imagine that you see faces in the high points and depressions of your carpet. Patterns in tile or wood grain might yield visions of animals, objects, or scenery. Folds in fabric could remind you of swelling seas.
When you discover these pictures, find a way to relate them to the truth you know about God and your relationship to Him. For example, if you see an old man with a beard in your wood floor, it might remind you of Moses, and God’s gift of the Ten Commandments. A lamb in your carpet could be a symbol of Jesus, the Lamb of God who paid for your sins. If you envision flowing draperies in your tile, think of the curtain that tore in the Temple the day Jesus died, tangible evidence that His sacrifice opened the way for you to approach the throne of God. Map-like pictures could remind you that God removes your sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more (Psalm 103).
Do this exercise for a few days, and you will never look at carpet, tile, wood, wrinkles, or clouds in the same way again.
Reflecting His Light
By Dianne Matthews
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV).
Late one summer night as I sank into bed, I was surprised at how brightly the moonlight was shining through the curtains. I had to go to the window to admire the full moon pouring out its soft, dreamy light on the landscape. How beautiful it is, I thought. But then I recalled pictures I had seen of the lunar surface—gray, rugged, and rocky, not exactly beautiful when you get a close-up look. I remembered that the moon has no light of its own, but only shines because it reflects the light of the sun, the center of our solar system.
And so it is with me. Paul wrote, “I know that nothing good lives in me….” (Romans 7:18). Any beauty or goodness I have comes not from me, but from the reflection of the beauty and glory of the Son shining in me. To reflect His beauty and glory, I must make Him the center of my life so that He can transform me until I become more and more Christ-like. Then I can pour out the softening light of His love and grace on those around me.
Reflecting Jesus . . . that is the operating principle of my “so[u]lar system.”
© Dianne Matthews
Dianne Matthews has written numerous devotionals, magazine articles, and newspaper features. Her newest devotional is Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture (Baker, 2010). Dianne and her husband, Richard, live in Salt Lake City. They have three grown children and two adorable grandchildren. Her website is http://diannenealmatthews.com.
by Muriel Larson
The river at the sunset hour All rainbow hues reflects, And with its rippling glistening face Each color change detects. Magenta splashed across the sky Has fallen on the tide, And mixed among the gold and blue With twilight hour doth ride. But now the shadows darkly fall, Stretch long the silhouettes, The trees on farther shorelines Stand silent soldierettes. The moon starts rising o’er these guards And makes a golden path Across the glistening waters In lonely aftermath. But this, the silent tranquil hour Brings to my soul sweet rest, And as I watch the night flow by I know I’ve been God’s guest.
© Muriel Larson
Dr. Muriel Larson, author of 17 books and more than 8,000 first and reprint published writings, poems, and songs, is a professional Christian writer, speaker, and e-mail counselor for two online publications and has taught at writers conferences across the nation. Her advice columns appear at www.christianwomentoday.com and www.retirementwithapurpose.com .
Roaming the Path
Here are some resources you might enjoy as you continue down the path of childlike wonder and faith:
In Faith Like a Child author Johnny Parker uses stories from children’s lives to inspire adult readers to develop more childlike faith. The book is divided into 61 short chapters, making it a natural for daily devotions or snatches of free time between activities. Rather than a book to read straight through, this is the sort you may prefer to keep on your bedside table for when you need a dose of inspiration.
If you or someone you know has recently experienced a loss, consider getting a copy of Jane Kirkpatrick’s gift book, A Simple Gift of Comfort: Healing Words for Difficult Times. Illustrated with gentle, creative photos, by Lisa H. Sorensen, the text echoes the lovingkindness of God as he carries His children through suffering.
Jim Robinson’s CD Prodigal Song, is a collection of honest, heartfelt songs ranging from tender to upbeat. Cuts like “You Still Love Me” and “Every Voice” testify to God’s faithfulness. Others like “It’s Never Too Late” and “Carry Me” offer hope in the midst of life’s troubles, while “Until the Light Goes Out” and “Daddy’s Gotcha” speak profoundly of familial love. This CD will move you to tears, inspire you to worship, and fill you with the joy of salvation in ways you will not soon forget. An experience in childlike faith, Prodigal Song is a gem not to be missed. Visit Jim’s website at www.prodigalsong.com for information about his ministry and music.
About the Art
“My Ways” by Steve Miller
Steve Miller, whose wonderful painting “Childlike Faith” graced our premiere issue makes a return appearance in Barefoot Path with his painting “My Ways.” Having drawn and painted all his life, Miller creates computer-generated graphics and animation for various companies and clients as well as illustrations for publications.
He writes, “This painting was originally painted in oils on canvas from a photograph I shot in the atrium of a ten story office building where I once worked. Located in downtown Dallas, Texas, the building had a roof made entirely of glass. ‘My Ways’ celebrates light, sky, and beyond. As the sun shines through the many skylights of this lofty ceiling, its rays curiously illuminate a particular section of steel in the shape of a cross, reminding us that even in our busy lives, God is present. When hard times come, God is present. When tomorrow seems uncertain, God is present. I was reminded of Isaiah 55: 9 that states, ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (NRSV).”
To view more of Steve’s paintings or to purchase prints, please visit his websites at http://www.stevemillerstudios.com.
Editor: Jeanne Gowen Dennis
Associate Editor: Sheila Seifert
Assistant Editor: Christine St. Jacques
© Heritage of Truth, LLC
Return to Home Page.
Return to Barefoot Path main page.