Christianity

Mother’s Day’s A Pain

You motherless children of all ages…you know what I mean.

I lost my mother when I was 22, and she was 46—too young. Ever since, a long time ago, Mother’s Days have been tough.

The pain lessens, but it’s always there.

Being a mother helps ease the heartache of the motherless—so I’m told. Being a step-mother helps—this I know. Being a grandmother helps—yes it does. Being a Christian—well, that’s plugged the hole in my heart from the inside.

If you’ve lost your mother, and on this Mother’s Day you’re remembering her rather than giving her flowers and taking her to brunch, I pray comfort for you.

A wise woman I spoke to years ago said, “A woman is always too young to lose her mother.”

Mother's Day Flowers—Poppies for Remembrance

Mother’s Day Flowers—Poppies for Remembrance

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A Parent’s Heart

LET FREEDOM RING

LET FREEDOM RING

Prayer request: Pray for our friends in Christ who are parents of soldiers. Pray for their children who are at war on our behalf.

I have three friends whose sons are: on deployment to a war zone, waiting for the next deployment, and starting Basic Training.

These young men, two of them fathers, have been on our prayer list for some time.

Though we’ve been told a timeline for an end to US involvement in the war in the Middle East, it seems like a war without end. It must especially seem so when people you love are in harm’s way.

I’m privileged to be a counselor for a military benefit program which serves our soldiers and their families, particularly (though not exclusively) related to deployment and reintegration issues. It breaks my heart to see spouses sobbing with the pain and stress of separation.

PRAY FOR THEM.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas 2012

May the next year bring you blessings.

May you find peace and joy in spite of this crazy world.

And may you know the love of the Lord and those people He’s put in your life.

Christ's birthplace may have looked like this home.

Christ’s birthplace may have looked like this home.

Infant holy, infant lowly, for His bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the child is Lord of all.
Swiftly winging, angels singing, bells are ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the child is Lord of all! Christ the child is Lord of all!

Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping vigil till the morning new;
Saw the glory, heard the story, tidings of a Gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow, praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the child was born for you! Christ the child was born for you!

Polish carol
Cristine Eastin © 2012
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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for…well…thanks.

In between the cynicism and stress I am thankful. I know it should be the other way around. It should be—there’s cynicism and stress sprinkled in the thankfulness, but it’s tough. The world is relentless, and we people, being people, make it hard for ourselves and others.

It’s like the Thanksgiving I forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie. Expecting dessert, I bit into the pie—and got vegetable. Ick!

I have to say, and this is politically incorrect, but the sugar and spice and anything nice comes from the Lord. If any of you readers aren’t there…if you’re willing…read the Bible, the book of John for starters, and just see…

So, I’m thankful—for Jesus—and that we don’t live where the church is persecuted…that we have enough…that I have hope: the assurance of things not seen…that this earthly world isn’t the end of the story.

This Thanksgiving we’ll have our family with us around the table—and we’ll give thanks.

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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Saudade, A Deep Longing

Saudade–I have a bad case of it. Wikipedia defines this Portuguese word as, “…a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.”

Sigh.

My saudade sighs are for England.

In my mid-twenties I lived in Beaconsfield, England: halfway between London and Oxford. This was my house—minus the two-story addition on the right where the brick is darker and plus masses of tall Queen Elizabeth roses. My house must also have a new name, or no name, since one chimney was removed. The Post Office once directed a friend visiting from Geneva to my house when the friend said, “I think her house is called ‘Two Stacks’.” How quaint.

For two years “Two Stacks” was home. I arrived a young, naive woman and left with a heart full of the love of friends—a heart that’s got a chunk of it shaped like England into which only England and things English will fit.

I long to return: a longing so strong it feels as if it might pull my heart right out of my chest and stick it to some place in England.

I run back to England as often as I can—to the dreary weather, the quaint houses, the endless footpaths, the English way of life—and to friends.

Almost every day a friend and I walked our dogs here. Public access to private land gave us miles of hill and dale for the dogs to run, providing the dogs didn’t bother the livestock. The only time that almost went wrong was when I watched helplessly as a stud donkey chased my dog. Fortunately my dog ducked under the fence an inch ahead of the hoofs.

Sigh.

I long to walk in England. Tramping the sidewalks in my rabbit warren urban US neighborhood doesn’t cut it. Nor does walking the Department of Natural Resources land near my house where they’ve just clear-cut the woods to make way for a prairie restoration. “Progress!” she spat out in disgust.

Sometimes my English friend and I ate lunch here, both dogs resting under the table—the Royal Standard of England. I had already had a taste of living overseas by this time, having lived in Geneva, Switzerland, for two ski seasons, but the Royal Standard was an eye-opener. I understood why England viewed its American step-children as unappreciative of history. Part of the Royal Standard was 900 years old. I had no sense of history like that.

England has changed  tremendously since I lived there. The pace of life has almost caught up to the US, horrible blights on the architectural landscape have gone up, economic stress is rife, and the country struggles valiantly with ethnic diversity. The butcher shop that brined my corned beef for me and the butcher that gave my dog treats are gone, replaced by a huge, convenient grocery store.

Yet I can’t wait to get back. It makes me feel righted somehow—like my bones have fallen into place.

I know all this saudade silliness flies in the face of  Paul’s wisdom: “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content,” (Philippians 4:11). It’s not that I’m not content in the State of Wisconsin. But, for some reason, God put this love of England in me. I do know that my next novel will be set in Scotland and England. If I can’t live there in reality, at least I can live there in my imagination.

If only they wouldn’t drive on the left!

Cristine Eastin © 2012
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