Friday, May 22, 2020

FLOAT



One moment at a time...a day passes...a month passes...a year passes.  The first hard moment that seemed impossible to get through seems so distant.  Yet years later all it takes is one tiny trigger...a smell of a hospital room, a childhood photo, words in a sequence, a snippet of a song...and all the emotions come again.  The feelings fill up the heart, the mind, the eyes...and once more you live through that gut-wrenching hard time again.

It can take you by surprise like a summer storm unleashing torrents of rain that cause floods where normally there is stable ground.

During this time I have struggled with fear, loneliness, loss of stability.  I have thought that I am "weak" because of these "flash floods" of emotion.  So I have done what I thought necessary to prevent weakness in the dam that holds me together.  I have piled up sandbags full of whatever I think will keep at bay what threatens to break through.  Sandbags of busyness, sandbags of empty activities, sandbags of surface conversations.  Anything to stay protected.

I am learning that the strength of difficult life experiences is far greater than anything I can try to use to build a fortress.  There is nothing I can do.
I've spent a lifetime trying to figure life out.  I can't do it.

Then the dam breaks (and it does) and when the floodwaters come (and they do) I can only do one thing-float.  Float in the peace God gives.

That's what the survivalist books tell you to do if you are in over your head and you can't swim...float.  You take a deep breath, put your face in the water and relax(huh? equally scary), and float until you need another breath.  Then you push up, take another big breath, and float some more...till you are rescued, till you see land, till you find a boat, till you learn to swim.

So as this unsettled life whirls around me I will remember to FLOAT in peace knowing God controls the waters and knowing He can keep me afloat.  I don't have to try to stop the dam from breaking.  I don't have to try to protect against the flood.  I don't have to struggle in the waters of life.

Jehovah God who made the ark float...can hold me.
Jehovah God who caused an iron ax head to float in the Jordan River...can support me. (2 Kings 6:6)
Jesus Christ-Son of God who gave Peter the capability to walk on the seething seas...can give me what I need to walk on.
Jesus who took the hand of Peter (when his faith was small) and pulled him up out of the sea...
can pull me up into His loving presence as well.

I may not be walking on dry land every day; on ground that is stable, while God holds the waters apart and makes a path through them.  I may be floating...just barely surviving but I can:
F-Fill
L-Life (to)
O-Overflowing (with)
A-Abundant
T-Thanksgiving (today).

I can float.

I can :
F-Face
L-Life (as an)
O-Overcomer,
A-Always
T-Trusting (in Jesus)

I can float.

I can:
F-Forgive,
L-Love,
O-Obey (the)
A-Almighty God (in)
T-Truth.

I can float.

I can:
F-Follow (the)
L-Lord,
O-Offering
A-All
T-Thanks

I can float.

Isaiah 43:1-2
"...Thus says the Lord...'Fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have called you by your name; You are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.  And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you..."

-PJM



Friday, March 27, 2020

Line by Line

My son and I have been spending time doing art...pencil drawings that we found on YouTube.  It has been fun and educational as we learn to draw.  
This morning I woke up with the phrase “line by line” in my mind.  
I am not a natural artist...or a natural musician. My music for years and years was more by note, reading the notes and searching for beautiful arrangements of the notes so that I could play something pleasant to listen to.  Within the past few years I have had a teacher who has encouraged me to get away from note by note and feel the music more...then play from my heart.  Keeping my ears on the sounds and using what I have learned to create something pretty...rather than keeping my eyes on the notes only.  He encourages me to listen to the music and keep my ears open instead of blindly “walking” a set path I have put before myself. 

And the art I have been learning has been by following a teacher.  Line by line.  When the teacher draws a square, I draw a square.  When the teacher says to curve a line, I curve a line.  To me when I am drawing it looks like a lot of lines but gradually the teacher connects the lines and adds shadings and as I watch and follow my blank piece of paper takes form.  It is better than what I can come up with on my own.  Trust me...I tried freehand drawing what was in my mind.  Somewhere there is a broken connection.

But when I take it a line at a time, waiting for the teacher to lead me...something beautiful and unexpected emerges.  When I listen to the music my teacher plays carefully and hear what needs to be added or even taken away, then something beautiful and unexpected emerges.  

And when I keep my eyes on Jesus...and my ears tuned to His Word...despite feeling like I do not know what is going to emerge during this time of stress and anxiety...He will make something beautiful of it.  Sometimes less is more in music...my teacher will say ,”Leave space for the music ...hold it without adding anything to it.”  Sometimes the art teacher will say erase the lines now and leave space on the page. And I think as many things are being removed from me with social distancing and shelter in place...God is saying,” I want to fill the emptiness with Me.  Keep your eyes on Me.  Listen to Me.  Hold on...and don’t add to what I am doing in your life.  I will make something beautiful out of this.”

My eyes are on You, Jesus.  My ears are tuned to You, Jesus.  I have seen what You bring up out of the ashes. 
You brought life out of death and joy out of mourning. Help me keep focused on You, my Teacher and my Savior and my Lord.  Amen.




Thursday, March 26, 2020

Corona Changes

This is just me sharing a photo that was odd coming home from Charlotte today from E. infusion.  On I-85 for at least a half a mile or so was that highly valuable commodity-toilet paper- strewn down the side of the concrete barrier! Rolls and rolls of toilet paper ripe for the picking of you could master the obstacle course of oncoming traffic :)
It was so strange.  For almost four years now we have been coming to Levine a for infusions.  D. always complains about the traffic when he drives...and it is treacherous at times and frustrating at the least.  However, today in Mecklenburg county there were notable changes .  It was the first day of the “shelter in place” order for their county.
1). The traffic was cut by at least half.  The drive that normally takes us at least an hour and forty minutes was made in an hour and fifteen.
2). In downtown Charlotte it was like a skeleton crew town.  No cars filling the parking lots.  Stores closed.  No crowds of people walking and lingering in small groups talking.  The only people I saw on the streets were construction workers and a couple of people walking their dogs. 
3). The many huge jets flying in and out of Charlotte airport which we love seeing were reduced to just two.
4). The train station where everyone parks to grab a ride into Charlotte had an empty parking lot. 
5). The noise level was so much quieter...fewer cars and trucks and people and construction.
6).  Even the beggars that stand at certain places, the homeless, were not in their normal places.  I did see one man in a sleeping bag with his belongings around him up under a bridge sleeping on the ground and I thought how lonely that must be.
7). On the road to turn into the hospital there is now a booth with a man with protective garb who stops your vehicle and asks what your business is on that road.  He waved us they when we explained that our little boy had to get an infusion today.
8). D. dropped us off but stayed in the truck instead of coming in as usual so there would be one less person in the infusion bay.
9). Before we could enter the hospital there was a guard and nurses set up at a table asking if we had coughs or fevers or runny noses.  We had to fill out a paper stating yes or no.  When I told her we did have runny noses but it was because of the pollen, she understood but said she had to put a pink bracelet on us.
10). Inside there was not the normal mulling around of hospital personnel...just the receptionist to give us our parent sticker and masks and the guard at the elevator. 
11). In the past we have had to wait for the elevator and crowd in with other parents and nurses and children.  Not today.  I pushed the button with a paper towel I carried in and the elevator opened to an empty space.  We rode up to the Infusion center.  Again no families waiting in the waiting rooms.  No nurses and doctors and administrative personnel busily walking and talking.
12). The infusion center was empty...just us.  Usually filled bays.  As we left one other family came in and was out at the opposite end.  Curtains were drawn.  Nurses masked and no hugging like usual.  Distances maintained.  Except the ones doing the IV.  We always pray before the IV and I prayed for our nurses and all those working in the hospital.  I cried a little , thanking God for nurses willing to get out there and keep helping children.  After “Amen” the nurse was a bit teary eyed too. 
13) It was also the first time E. had to go without his special dog that has been with him at all the dr visits and infusions.  To prevent any possibility of contamination we didn’t bring him into the hospital.  And the nurse said he should probably stay home at the next apt. in two months too.  But she went and got a new stuffed dog out of the closet for E. to hold onto which was very sweet but “just not the same”.
14). The things that were different were many.  The things that were the same were the few but the important things...gentleness and kindness from our nurses, caring amongst everyone, and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” sang loudly while the IV was being put in.  I thank God for the blessings and I pray His protection over the medical personnel working to still care for the sick.  
Just my thoughts.


Saturday, February 29, 2020

More To This Life

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;  You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.”  Psalm 30:11,12






I have always loved to dance.  I love the movement of arms and legs and body to music. I’m not saying I am a good dancer LOL! With the music flowing around you though it is a deeper participation in the music to move in the rhythm.  I was not a girl who took dance classes...not unless baton classes with a choreographed routine counts :). I just danced in my room to a record player. 
Dance as a teenager had the capacity for great sadness as it was rare for me to have a partner when other girls had partners.  But with age dance lost all the sadness and only brought joy.  Dancing alone is more about connecting to the music intimately.  
It became more about exercise than anything else in college.  Still enjoyable but with more purpose and less creativity.
Now in my older years I realized how the longing to dance never left me ...but I began again to see dance differently.  With two sons there have been many dances in the living room when they were little and thought I was the best mom in the world :). As they get older they don’t dance with me as much, but they smile when a summer rain comes on a hot day and Mom goes out swirling and dancing and laughing in the rain.  Or in the winter when snowflakes fall and I am outside twirling, I think they will remember the intense joy their mom had with life and the things God created and sent to her...like rain, snow, sons, husband, music.  
My husband is not a dancer but he has publicly danced with me twice (very special moments to me).  And as he has grown to know me through the years, he has acquiesced to my pleas to dance at home more often than not :)
I know as I age my knees will not bend as low and I can’t spin without risking vertigo, but today I danced and realized I have never danced alone really.  My dance has truly always been with my Lord in the joy of the blessings He has given me.  The yearning to dance is just Him pulling me closer to Him and I will always love the closeness I feel when I am seeing God  in my life.  I rejoice in the Lord my God!  

When Jesus told the story of the prodigal son who returned home He told of the welcome home party with music and dancing ( Luke 15:25).  So I know that one day I will be able to dance in heaven in praise to Jesus for His love for me and His forgiveness of my sins!

Today I heard the whisper of God in movement of dance in music as I praised His Name for the blessings He has given me :)
“Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;  let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.  Let them praise His Name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbre and harp.”  Psalm 149: 2-4

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Battles

Battles are intense. Your life, your eternal life is on the line. I’ve never been in a battle for my life like soldiers, battered women, victims of violent crimes have been. But I have fought on the battlefield of my mind and heart many times. When I was younger it seemed I breezed through battles with hardly a scratch. Now that I am older it seems there are scars left and some wounds that have yet to heal.I find myself wanting the war to be over so I can go home... be done with fighting. But just as soldiers have to continue on, just as police officers get up and fight crime...I cannot give up. A warrior gets tired and needs refreshing, nourishing, encouragement...and in some seasons so do I, and I am sure you do as well. I wonder what difference I have made if any. I wonder if I am useful at all to God. I ache in body and spirit each morning . The battle seems long and hard, and yet I can pray along with David,the psalmist, like this: ““May the Lord, my rock, be praised, who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare. He is my faithful love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him; He subdues my people under me. Lord, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭144:1-4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ I must persevere. I must not give up. I must prepare and do battle every day against the enemy. Who is my enemy? I will tell you for he is yours as well. It is the devil, the liar of all liars. “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-13‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ People are not the enemy...although it seems like it at times. The enemy is evil itself. And who am I to fight against evil? I am no superhero...I am a tired, battle worn old woman. How can I expect to fight much less win the battle? The answer is I can’t. But I serve the One who can. “You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.’ ”” ‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:17‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ So when I am weary...or when you are weary... remember the victory is already won and the battles that we face we are not expected to win on our own power. We have the Lord fighting for us. I am preaching to myself...reminding myself of these facts. “A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ “Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:12-13‬ ‭HCSB‬‬ There is a song that reminds me of how much I need the Almighty God to fight for me. It is called “Fight For Me”.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Deserving



I wrote this song a few months ago .  With a circle of friends we have been going through the book of Revelation and chapter five just resonated with me.  It speaks of how deserving Jesus is of our praise and worship.  So this song is one of praise to the One who saved me from a life of sin and death and walks with me each day, renewing my mind and creating a new heart in me.  Only God can do that work!!

"Deserving" by Pammy Martin copyright 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

Preparing for Fifth Grade!



As the school year is about to begin, I relish the time spent in preparation.  I have all the books in order on my bookshelves.  Notebooks and pencils are ready.  Teacher's guides and textbooks are ready.  The only things I have to do is to order two sets of activity sheets...one for Science and one for Eastern Hemisphere.

We are so looking forward to our Sonlight 5th grade year!  Our first year was last year and it was the first year of homeschooling that my son actually was excited about math, and by the end of the year really ENJOYED reading!  He actually pleaded to do Sonlight again this year!  I love the time saving lesson plans, which gives me more time to actually teach and do hands on activities.

This year we plan on adding a cooking curriculum since he wants to be a chef which will involve learning the chemistry of cooking, trying new recipes, and interviewing local chefs and restaurateurs. Also, we will be working on learning to read music and using the voice as an instrument.

Sonlight Curriculum is the best! With prayer, enthusiasm, and coffee as well as support from our local homeschool group ....I have a really good feeling about this year !!
Sonlight Curriculum

FLOAT

One moment at a time...a day passes...a month passes...a year passes.  The first hard moment that seemed impossible to get through seems so ...