In Job 8:9, the Bible reminds us, “For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:”
I celebrated my 50th birthday this year in September. I can’t help but reflect on the years I’ve been allotted in this life. I’m thankful for all of it; the joys, sorrows, and struggles. I’m thankful for those that have loved me the most and taught me the best of their yesterdays and wished for me more than they’d ever known.
Looking back to my yesterday’s I refect about some incredible ladies that have been a great influence to me. The love they’ve shown me. Their beauty goes deeper than skin. Their strength beyond fleshly understanding. Their faith in God a resounding echo across time, …still.
I still have my maternal grandmother’s “Singer” sewing machine. I can still hear the hum and feel the wind of her pedaling as she quilted and sewed to make things for her family and friends. I can still hear my paternal grandmother call my name “Jan-i-fer,” and I still giggle and smile on the inside thinking of that appalachian accent and some of the phrases I’ve learned and handed down to my children. I hope one day they look back with a little happiness on their “yesterdays” and find I’ve left at least a few “yesterdays” of mine to them.
My mother, she’s the strongest person I know. She has taught me that you can make it through anything, not by relying on self, but by relying on her Savior Jesus Christ. He has helped her through great tragedies. She may not know that she is a true hero to me but she is.
My grandmothers, the love they had for their children and family speaks volumes. I remember Sunday dinners at their houses; they lived across the old dirt road from each other, with the table filled with food. Everytime I hear a sermon on the “Marriage Supper,” of The Lamb, all I can imagine is my grandmaw’s supper table. When supper was over, all the cousins sneaking away from the supper table to find a grapevine swing that swung out over a mountain. What fun we had, O the memories of a “yesterday.”
My grandfather, not biological, but by heart. He loved me like his own daughter/granddaughter and it says so on his death certificate, but he’s gone now. He loved all of us. He loved my Ma’maw past her death and then still in his alzheimers stage of mind. He still saw her, everywhere, talked to her like she was still there even after she’d long gone. He loved her beyond the grave beyond her yesterday. Now that’s love.
They don’t make them like that anymore, do they? You know? What the Bible calls “Love.” It’s called “Charity.” He was charity in overalls.
Job7:7 “O remember that my life is wind:”
It’s funny how we can not grasp the depths of someone’s influence until their gone.
Meditating on the verses in Job, “For we are but of yesterday…,” so much of who we are and who we become is a reflection of those who had much influence in our lives and our yesterdays. I’m so thankful for their yesterday so that mine (yesterdays) might reach across time to those I love.
O remember that my life is wind and 50 years seems like a gust of wind gone by. Where did my yesterdays go?
I pray my yesterdays are like …
Job 19:24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
Psalm 43:4 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Letter writing is becoming a thing of the past with today’s technology. Recently, I mailed each grandchild a letter with a coloring sheet and a handmade toy.
When I finished the letter I sealed it with a wax seal that reminded me of their individual personalities.
One was a Nautical sign for my adventurous grandson
and a lace imprinted heart for the granddaughters.
I wanted them to know they are loved and thought of throughout the week when I’m not with them. I wanted to begin a tradition in our family to pass down to their children and grandchildren for years to come.
I love receiving letters or cards in the mail. It let’s me know I’m thought of and cared for.
Letters are more personal and thought out than a quick text or email, they take time and emotion. Letters involve our personal reflection of others, to others.
Afterall, love is spelled “T-I-M-E.”
Down through history letters have been a very important way to communicate. They have kept love alive while separated by miles and time. They have warned of the enemy approaching, sustained a weary soldier and ended wars. Letters have recorded our history over the years.
King’s would seal letters making a proclamation with the seal making it authentic. The imprint it creates as the seal impression. These impressions were made in relief and others in counter relief known as “intaglio” impressions which is a raised impression. Intaglio printing requires a considerable amount of pressure. It is defined as-“an engraving or incised figure in stone or other hard material depressed below the surface so that an impression from design yields an image in relief.” The Cameo is an illustration of this printing.
There is a great story of a queen named Esther that saved many lives by writing a letter and sealing it with the king’s ring; by permission of course. She saved the lives of her Jewish people as well as her own by asking for pardon from the king. Her life made quite an impression, so much of an impression that God preserved her story in the Bible for us to read and learn from.
Esther 8:8 says, “Write ye also for the Jews as it liketh you, in the king’s name and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
Esther’s story is not as attractive as the Bible describes her appearance. The Bible says, “she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own.”
So Esther was an orphan. Not only was she an orphan but her family became slaves to the babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. After the passing of her parents her uncle, Mordecai, took Esther as his own daughter, only to be taken once again from the only family she knew. Esther was brought for preparation to be the next queen without her consent.
Was it fair? No, but Esther went anyway. Life is not always fair and it’s time to realize bad things are going to happen to decent people. These kind of hardship and trauma will change anyone, some it will soften, others it will harden. Like the “Cameo”, we can allow the impressions of life to harden us or we can permit God to carve out a beautiful story in “relief ” by giving our “hard things” to Him. When we give it to God he can make a beautiful impression of the mess life has left on us for His glory.
Esther didn’t seek pity for herself from others because of her past, she pressed on and rose above self-pity. Even in unfair circumstances, Esther maintained a positive attitude through all her trials. Her positive attitude helped her altitude. She became Queen Esther of Persia.
Esther 2:15 says, Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of women, appointed. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
Esther was a simple girl, not high-maintenance, she only used what was given her. This made her stand out from the crowd. She didn’t try to look like everyone else by trying to fit in. She didn’t spend an excessive amount of time on her outward appearance. Esther didn’t require a lot of attention. When will we as ladies learn the beauty in simplicity? Being genuine, kind, selfless and not “made-up” is real beauty inwardly and outwardly. There’s nothing wrong with enhancing our natural appearance with make-up and jewelry, but real beauty comes from God and His Word. Our inward daily “make-up” routine in His Word is so much more adorning than the outward make-up we apply daily. You can be the prettiest girl in the room, but if you have an ugly heart and attitude, it will surely take away from your outward appearance.
1 Peter 3:3-4 relays beauty as “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of the plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Though she was beautiful in appearance, Esther’s inward grace and charm was more radiant than all the others and it won the heart of the king.
Esther 2:17 says, And the king loved Esther above all women, and she obtained favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Esther was a Jewish girl brought up to know about God and the coming Messiah. Without the inward beauty of God’s Word in her heart, she would have been just like all the rest. Like cubic zirconia or costume jewelry, at first sight, their attractive and dazzling but when the inward is revealed all the tarnish comes to the surface and it’s not pretty. Like diamonds, they’re common almost everyone wears them or has them. Standing out to be noticed is not outstanding and being like all the rest is boring.
“But I thought diamonds were a girl’s best friend?” Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous women? for her price is far above rubies.” Rubies are rare, hard to find and more precious than diamonds.
Esther was placed just where God wanted her at just the right time. Yes, things looked tragic for Esther and it seemed all a misfortune for her. But God had a plan for her life and He allowed it to happen to shape Esther into the virtuous women she became. Without her character and influence, her lineage would have ended and she would have been killed by the evil plot of one of the king’s men named Haman. He was promoted by the king because, in my opinion, he took credit for Mordecai’s investigation of two men plotting to kill king Ahasuerus and Haman hated the Jews and plotted to have them annihilated along with queen Esther. Thus, ending the lineage of our Savior Jesus.
Esther was brought to the kingdom to save the people and many others in the future for years to come. Esther 4:14 says, …Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
A recent event happened to one of my friends, Crystal. She is always diligent to check on those that are sick or hurt. She’s been doing it for years. She stopped by to see our other friend named Pam, and Pam wasn’t feeling well. She became disillusioned and complained of her ear hurting, she began to tremble, she couldn’t speak and then unresponsive. Pam ended up having a major stroke which could have been devastating had Crystal not stopped by to check on her. She saved Pam’s life by knowing the symptoms of a stroke and calling 9-1-1. Had she not been there our friend Pam would not be recovering today. Crystal is a real hero in my book. Please keep them in your prayers.
Let this story of queen Esther be a reminder to us that being rare and a friend could possibly save someone’s life, literally. It may be that you encourage someone to keep going as you send them a friendly letter, card, or note of encouragement or stopping by for a visit.
My daily letter of Love and encouragement God wrote to me through His Word being sealed by the Holy Spirit, gets me through the hard times keeps me persevering in the face of my daily battles, preparing me for what may come.
The greatest preparation God ever enlightened upon my heart is the day I realized I am a sinner in need of a Savoir and that is the day I asked for pardon from the King of kings, Jesus, my Savior and he sealed my pardon with the “Holy Spirit” of promise, preparing me for eternity.
(Ephesians 1:13-14) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
His authentic seal, The Holy Spirit, is on my heart till He decides to take me home, by death or by His return. I’m sealed! Are you?
Ending the blog with this and sharing by permission:
It seems that all of these things fell into place while writing about the topic of letter writing, hearing the song, “For Such a Time as This”
The letters being sent weeks ago to grandkids, my friend Crystal saving the life of our friend Pam. Also meeting the ladies Lois and India through messenger and via facebook/blog post, with Faith music Radio’s Janice Wolfe and her show Eleven2one. Please listen to their song and interview here:
Mordecai came to Esther He said, "It is up to you. You must go to the king to deliver your people, the Jews."
But Esther showed fear when she said, "I might as well be dead." That's when Mordecai would not back down, he sent a reply like this,
"Who knoweth whether thou art come into the kingdom for such a time as this" You might have other plans in your mind but your thoughts are not as high as His If you run from God's will all that you will find is a dead end. So step up to what God has for you, for such a time as this.
You have a future ahead of you, you have goals and dreams. A doctor, a lawyer, a pastor, So many choices it seems But when you make your choice Don't ignore the Holy Spirit's voice for you will be miserable if you don't do what He has planned for you.
Who knoweth whether thou art come into the kingdom for such a time as this. You might have other plans in your mind but your thoughts are not as high as His If you run from God's will all that you will find is a dead end. So step up to what God has for you, for such a time as this, For such a time as this.
I’m thankful for the slowdown that recently happened in my life. I’ve been out of work because of some health issues and it’s been challenging and rewarding.
For now, I’d like to focus on the rewarding.
Some of you may say, “How can being ill be rewarding?”
Let me use an example of a car battery to illustrate. For every positive you must have a negative, or it will not function properly.
You see, if I had never became ill, been out of work, I wouldn’t have had more time at home with my husband and family.
Without my existing health issues, I wouldn’t have had the time to recharge my relationships, and to focus on the healing of my body, mind, and soul.
In this slowdown I’ve been able to spend precious time with my husband, kids, and grand-kids.
Time is a great way to say, “I love you,” and their time, whether it be in large amounts or small, “sparks” my heart and gets me going. I can never get enough of it.😊
Instead of rushing through the day as usual, I’ve had a little more time to reflect on what’s most important to me and to “be” where I’m at in the moment.
I’ve cooked more meals, done more sketching, writing, crafting, a little gardening, and a lot of soul-searching- just living a simpler way of life during this illness.
I’m thankful that God uses things like this in our life for a slowdown to reflect on what’s important.
Ephesians 5:20 reminds us, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I read in the Bible recently of a man who had a slowdown to recharge his life.
2 Kings 20 tells a story of a man named Hezekiah that became ill and was going to die. God used a slowdown of illness and a slowdown of time to recharge Hezekiah’s life.
Verse 1 says, “Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”
When Hezekiah heard these words he turned and became sad and wept.
I would have too if I’d just received a terminal illness diagnosis.
Illness can bring on depression, but we shouldn’t give in to that depression or dwell in it. Depression causes more illness.
When I become depressed or down because of illness and not having all the answers, I find the best way to overcome that depression is to do exactly what Hezekiah did- turn to God and pray.
Verse 2 says, “He turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord,”
Verse 3 says, that God heard, saw his tears, and answered Hezekiah’s prayers. God said, “behold, I will heal thee…”
God told Hezekiah to take notice, I’m going to give your physical life back.
Verse 6 goes on to say, “And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for Mine own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.”
God not only delivered Hezekiah and the city he lived in, but he also defended it.
Did you notice what God also did? He added.
God added days to the 15 years He gave Hezekiah.
In other words, and I’ll quote it for you,
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts, It’s the life in your years.” ~Abraham Lincoln~
Then the story goes on to say in Verse 8 Hezekiah asked, “What” shall be a sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day?”
You see, Hezekiah knew God was going to do it.
He didn’t question the “How.”
He knew God was all powerful and that He could do whatever He wanted.
He wanted to know the, “What shall” of the thing God was about to do for him. He asked for “signs” or “hints” from God.
Verse 10 and 11 says,
“And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of A’haz.”
They used sun dials in those days to tell time.
Did you hear that??!! God just slowed down time for Hezekiah. I believe Hezekiah was a different person after God did that.
Somehow I just believe Hezekiah stopped to reflect on life more, appreciated what he had more, and let others know it. So much so that another man wanted what he had, but the rest of the story is for another day and time.