The Bravest Thing

I rarely share other people’s blog posts, but this one is so good for my soul. I thought you might like it as well.

Dear John, Your poem “The Bravest Thing” has carried me through many a day the past year. I have read and reread, and shared and re-shared your words. I am not sure if I am in a full bl…

Source: The Bravest Thing

On Planning My Own Memorial Service

Surprisingly, when my pastor, Hilario, his wife, Lois, and my second daughter, Katie, sat with me today to map out a memorial service, after my departure, I felt a weight had been lifted. Yes, I cried my way through some of it – I hate leaving loved ones. Truly, I love my people and wish never to say goodbye. However, before I knew it, I was laughing at the idea of joy and celebration (with Indian and Italian food and festive international flags) being the over-arching feelings during the service. Additionally, I sat with profound gratitude that these three dear ones would take the time from full and rich lives to do the hard work of helping me prepare my own memorial service.

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Joyful Dancers, Marcia Carole, acrylic on canvas

It was actually fun reviewing Scripture I wanted my two older grandsons to read. I could just picture them, taking a break from Legos, snacks, and their Seahawks shirts, only to don their khaki pants and nice shirts to honor their Gigi. They are both about to be baptized, so I know the Words they read will mean something important to their hearts. Those who gather that day will hear that “I have been crucified with Christ; it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…and, there is no longer any condemnation for Marcia because she is safely in Jesus – right into eternity.” Marcia has Jesus as her Rock and her redeemer for this life and the next. My young grandchildren will lead my people into these truths.

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Katie with her boys – my grandsons!

My friend, Judy, calls my departure, “Going Off Planet.” My friend, Gretchen, has reminded me, more than once, that when we get to Heaven, we will see that life on earth has been living in the low-rent district in contrast to the speech-defying beauty, goodness and glory we will be a part of in an Eternity with Jesus. By me remembering these sort-of jokes, coupled with my cancer, I am helped to press on in making my final plans.

I think we long to not die, on planet earth because, aside from the unknowingness of it all and the lack of control we possess over dying, I think there is a part of us, deep in our souls, that remembers the Big Story and how life was in our first Garden, our Home. There really was a beginning point in time when there was no death. Somehow, we know. There was just beauty, fearlessness, a vibrant garden, a totally transparent, loving couple, a tree filled with life, and rich community with God. However, the enemy of our souls snuck into our perfect Home and snarled, lied (God’s holding out on you), robbed and darn near destroyed us and everything around us. I think, we have this deep, unfulfilled longing for that Home. An angst. I’m just saying it’s there.

So, I got to do some planning today – important planning. As I was encouraging Pastor Hilario to really preach the Gospel during the service, my heart was gripped, my tears flowing, because my passion since nineteen years of age has been: there is a God, He faithfully loves you and me, He proved it by coming to earth as God with skin on – Jesus. He lived a perfect life. He died in our places for our evil thoughts, words, deeds. We can be forgiven for all our just plain darknesses of hearts and for believing that first lie that God was holding out on us. How? If we turn from trying to find Home apart from God and run to Him. I want Pastor Hilario to be sure to let everyone know; we are given Jesus’ righteousness when we run to Him, when we reach past our doubts and faint remembering of Eden. When we run and reach out to Jesus, and HIS palpable love, in faith, then Eden, Home is won back in our hearts. It’s a gift – a gift of being eternally Home with God.

And that is where I will be when the celebration of my life happens.

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Sunflower, Marcia Carole, watercolor

One song I hope to have at my memorial service: Give Me Jesus, by Fernando Ortega.

 

What A Team! – Peru

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The team of women serving in Peru consisted of women from a variety of experiences, ages, churches, unchurched, and friends. Our fearless leaders, Konnie and Shannon, handled their roles, and this team, admirably! We saw several unique spots in Peru during some down time. One such spot was the beach where the reed boats pictured above are still in use for fishing.

Each woman on the team was brave in processing her own story, and sharing what she could in order to heal, minister to others, and bring darkness to the light. I had the opportunity to teach about the importance of sharing our stories by using the illustration below. My friend, Judy, has counseled people using the illustration. I had the privilege of sitting with her as she counseled one woman using this illustration, and it really rang true for my own healing journey.

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When we have a physical wound, say, an open gash on our forearm, we hold it close to our bodies. We protect it, and seek medical treatment to clean out the gash, stitch it up, cover it with sterile bandaging, and keep it clean until it completely heals. We wouldn’t be able to fully use our arm until the gash is healed. We are extra careful to make sure it isn’t injured while it is healing.
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Many of us are walking around with emotional gashes that we are protecting and holding close to ourselves. We need to have care for these gashes as well, but we often keep quiet about them, hoping they magically go away. But, they don’t. They, too, need to be cleaned out, stitched up, bandaged and cared for until healing is complete. We must bring emotional gashes into the light for loving care and healing. We often limp through life holding these emotional gashes close, fearful of them being further hurt.
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By speaking out our stories, using art as a bridge, and being heard, we have a way to move toward emotional healing. As others give us the gift of listening, and as they speak truth, love and light into our stories, praying through them, healing may begin.
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Praying through our stories in Peru.

Being Brave

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Still Life With Open Bible, Vincent Van Gogh

In order to collage Bible stories, I study. I study the Bible, and I listen to the spoken Bible reciting the passage I will collage. I read history of the time period. I listen to sermons on the passage. I read other people’s thoughts on the passage I will collage. I read the passage again, and listen for God to speak with me about the passage. I wait on making the art. I begin to internalize the passage; the Word works on my heart – even before I begin the art.

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You can’t just rush into collaging the Bible.

Then, I paint papers, with acrylic paints on watercolor paper, to use in my new book. I have the whole book in my mind’s eye, the colors, the scenes, and the rise and fall of the action. I know it may change as I actually start making the book, but I’ll have a “palette” of colors on paper to work with that the story prompted me to paint.

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Marcia Carole Painting Papers For Storying.

To be continued as my next story unfolds! I’ll be storying a woman’s tale of being brave. I’m trying to be brave in tackling the whole project!