“New Beginnings, New Mercies, New Life”, Scripture and Hope from L.Willows (a new thing, in Christ, the portion of Love)

As we look towards Spring 2021, my heart is filled with the hope of new beginnings. Life is filled with gratitude for God’s countless mercies, and as I look about- though I cannot escape that there is still much that grieves God’s Heart and needs to affect our own, there is a good and secure place to stand and say, “I am ready, life is about to be new.”

I am not, hopefully we are not who we were a year ago and I don’t want to go back. Lord, show us how to walk forward as a changed people, walking forward into the new time, with a new beginning that You are lovingly calling us into.

That may look like a challenge but after a time of rest or recovery, God will ask us not to dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18-19) He will ask us to do a new thing in His Name. His Holy Spirit will be calling us forward. We are being called into a new season, a new time. (1 Peter 1:3) God’s mercy has been with us even when we were tempted to lose heart. But we remember to that the Lord is our portion and His faithfulness never ends. (Lamentation 3:22-24).

Journeying under the banner of Christ’s Love and Power gives the ability to endure any wilderness and any trial because He is the one that walks before us. He secures the next steps, He directs our path and sees what we cannot know.

The illusion of control and desires for personal glory are set aside. They cannot exist in the same portion as Love. A portion is a space that is emptied and ready to be filled by God’s love and grace. His Spirit pours in generously. We become new and the old is gone. We are born into His Love and His Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 43:18-19
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. God is making all things new.

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 21:1-3
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21:4-5
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

“My Neighbor’s Hand”, from L.Willows (Mercy, Loving One Another, Blessing)

NeighborHandsBeloved

My Neighbor’s Hand, by L.Willows

Yesterday I broke a rule. It was a beautiful day and I was eager to take a walk in the morning so I was “suited up” with my mask, sunglasses, sunscreen, tissues for my hands as I would need to handle some door-nobs and the elevator buttons in my apartment building to exit and a sun hat for protection when I walked. I had ear-plugs so that I could listen to scripture on my iPhone as I paced through God’s beauty in a nearby garden park. I was set to go and covered with protection.

But life is full of the unexpected. As I locked my door and glanced down the hall I saw my neighbor that I had not seen in many months. She is an Ethiopian woman in her nineties that I have revered and deeply loved. She is my friend. Since the beginning of the Pandemic, I have not been able to visit with her. Her Caretaker told me that her sons and family stopped visiting at the same time so she has been alone- something which never happened before COVID. I remember that her home was full day and night “before”, filled with the aroma of Ethiopian cooking and the chatter of her visitors.

There she was in the distance in her cotton whites that fell upon the ground as she slowly struggled to walk in the hall with her Caretaker. She looked fragile. I waved and she waved back. My heart was drawn to go to greet her. Most of her petite face was hidden beneath her mask. It was a sweet reunion. Her large eyes were shining. I took off my prescription sunglasses. We were probably both blurry eyed. Her vision was most likely better than mine.

“Oh Sweet One. I have missed you. Are you well?” I asked? She looked directly into me with concern and said, “Yes. Yes. Well, but I am feeling very weak. I have not seen you. I walked by your apartment but did not see you. I was worried about you. We don’t see you. So much time…” I told her that I was home all the while, the same as she was, just staying safe inside of my apartment and that I was fine, very good!

Then, I said, “I love you. I miss you.” My heart was overwhelmed by her loveliness. I told her that she is like part of my family to me, that my own family is far away, some parts of it very distant for a long time. Here she was, sweet and kind, steps away and separated from the ones that she loves. I knew that no one had hugged or greeted her with love for a very long time. That was when I broke the rule.

I put my hand upon hers. It was the first time that I touched a person’s hand since isolating in the Pandemic. (the Rule-breaker alarm went off in my head) I said to her, “Is this alright? Is it alright that I touch your hand?” I knew that I was breaching the “code”.  She looked at me knowingly. Then she placed her other hand on top of mine and cupped mine as if in a blessing.

The breach became Blessed. In that moment, I knew that love was stronger than anything in this world. Is the Love Code larger? When? How? Why? I did not intend to break the laws of man or to disobey safety. The moment seemed to be pointing to a deeper truth.

When we reach in the Name of Love, in the Motive of Love, namely because the Love of Christ is our cause- then our steps become Blessed, wherever they lead. There is no breach, no break because we walk under the Law of God not the law of man. We are sons and daughters of His Covenant. God covers us with His Protection though His Promises.

I did not “think” in the moment.  It only felt full, lasting with Love and sent to me by God’s Spirit. The memory is vivid to recall. I pray protection for my dear friend and for us all. As I walked afterward, I prayed in all of God’s beauty for my precious family, my spiritual family, my community, the suffering everywhere and for our wisdom and discernment as we walk forward with our neighbors- whoever and wherever in the world they are. Lord, bring us together as Your Own and give us hearts that do not know separation.

© 2020 Linda Willows