Life Trees

Dying drying trees

Brown and lifeless

Or

Rebirthing trees,

Waiting for new life?

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Strong foundations

Branching off, crisscrossing,

Intersecting each other

New paths

Giving way to

New life.

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Solid trees, grown upright,

Branches reaching upward

Unity in growth

red tree shendoah

Brown transformed to green

Renewed

Replenished

Beckoning us..

zoo woody path

Foundations rooted

 in

Rich soil

Growing, dying, rebirthing

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All reaching up

All branching out

All rooted in hope

Watered in love

Growing through faith.

Maggie Marcum

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The Empty Arms of Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be a painful day for many women.

  • It is a reminder of a child lost.
  • It is a reminder of a child given up in adoption.
  • It is a reminder of a child never born.
  • It is a reminder of broken relationships between a child and a mother.
  • it is a reminder for some couples of the child they are desperate to have.
  • it is a reminder for some singles of the life they have without loving their own child.

And for some it is a  day of defending their choice not to have children.

For all the joy that Mother’s Day may bring to many women, some find themselves in a sad spot today. They may not look forward to walking into church and seeing others around them sitting with their children and celebrating the day. They may feel uncomfortable when someone wishes them a Happy Mother’s Day when they don’t feel happy at all.

If you are one of these women, I want to remind you that you are loved by a Father who understands your pain. He too lost a child. He has a plan for your life regardless of your status as a mother. Perhaps he is calling you to come along side other women and encourage them in their sadness. Maybe he is calling you to walk with other singles and encourage them of their value as a woman.. Maybe he is calling you to work with children and fill the void you believe you have by sharing his love with them.

God does not leave us in our circumstances without purpose. You are a strong woman made in God’s image and you have value and worth in this life.

You may carry the memory of loving a child gone and that is a precious gift to give to others.

You may not be at the point of having children yet and can use this time to support others in a way God is nudging you.

You may have children living apart from you and today you can reach out and remind them that you love them, no matter what has happened in the past.

I want to encourage you today as you run into women who you know are in these circumstances to love on them. Genuinely love on them. Maybe pick up a little bunch of flowers on your way out and give them to a special lady and remind her that  she is special and is a beloved child of God herself. Let us use the love God has given to us to lift up others in sharing that love today.

Happy Lovely Wonderfully Made Women’s Day!!

Grief Life

We planned for our future.

We had a vision for our lives.

Together we would do this.

Then one day;

You were gone.

The future we planned no more.

The vision detached,

Distrupting my life.

No more together adventures.

Me alone

The world turned upside down.

New plans to imagine.

New routines to make.

New life to find;

With others.

Stuck between what was,

What is, and yet to come.

Pulling myself forward,

Out of the dark;

Into the unknown.

Looking for his plan in this.

Holding onto faith.

Yearning for love.

Hiding from tears.

Praying for me.

Resting in his will.

Trusting in his love.

Shattered pieces healing.

New life emerging;

Breathing…living

Finding new purpose.

Walking a new path.

Willingly restored.

Stepping forward.

From grief to life.

A Day of Remembrance: 9/11 Thoughts

This morning I woke with that same somber cloud of quiet sadness that has hung in the air every September 11th since 2001. I don’t know why, but going to bed last night I thought this morning would feel different from all the other years. Fourteen years has not changed anything. I still want to cry and I still have trouble believing what happened as I, and millions of others, relive the hours and days of that tragedy.

Funny the things I remember most, beyond watching the news unfold around me. I remember wondering if I should go to work only to get the call that we were evacuating to be safe. I wondered how to explain this to our daughter because we would have to tell her. The Pentagon was just a few miles away and well, everything was changed. We called friends and family to make sure they weren’t in the Pentagon that day and we called simply to say, “I love you.” I remember the silence that evening more than anything else. Living outside of Washington, DC the sky was always full of planes flying over and cars rushing between work and home and sports fields. Not that night. All we could hear were fighters flying over for our protection. That night we drove to churches to pray. We walked the streets in dark quietness because all the stores were closed. As a nation, we simply shut down.

In the days following we were changed people. We cried openly at work and in the grocery stores, and people placed their hands on our shoulder because they understood. We let people pull out in front of us and nodded in shared grief. We held onto our children and wondered if it was safe to let them continue to live. We were kind and gentle with each other as we processed what was happening in the places near to us. We came to understand that we had to get back up and live our lives to show the world and the people who wished us harm that we were stronger than them. We had to show we were a nation united and that together we would recover.

As you head out today under the cloud of such enormous loss, I pray that you will remember who we were for those few days after. We are still kind, compassionate, praying people. We can still set aside our political and religious bickering to find a way support each other. We can still let someone pull out in front of us and not blow our horn when someone doesn’t move as quickly as we think they should. We can still help our neighbor if they are struggling. We can still ask a stranger if they are ok. We can still gather together, hold hands, and pray for our country. We can rise up from the ashes of that day and honor the memories of 9/11 by being good to one another. Who knows, maybe today could begin anew a nation where we turn off the TV and turn to our families. Maybe today we will pick up the phone and check to make sure a friend is doing ok. Maybe tonight we will remember to say prayers with our kids and tell them how we love them. And maybe tomorrow we can carry on as if every day is the day after.

Dear Lord, out of the shadows of our grief and sadness may we find new hope and light. Lord, make us a people who care for one another, who help each other, and who pray for our nation. Lord help us to remember out of evil, good will prevail. Make us a people of compassion with giving hearts that change our neighborhoods and that brings renewed joy and hope for the future.

©maggiemarcum.com

Measure Your Day

It’s a new month. It’s the start of a new week. It’s time to evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to do bridge that gap. It’s time to plan for the month, the week, and the day ahead. It is time to make every day count.

Each day that we are given is a day to build on all the previous days and each one of those days lays a foundation for our future. Therefore, it is important that you invest your time doing something, no matter how small, to move you closer to reaching your goal. What’s that you say? Yesterday was awful. You couldn’t find time to do anything to support your goal? You are stuck in a job that doesn’t align with your long-term goal.  Are you filled with “I can’t…,”  “I didn’t…,” and “I wish…” statements that are holding you back and focused on your lack of success?

If you look back and all you see is failure and you feel like you will never get to where you want to be; it is time to change your thinking about those situations!

Every day provides an opportunity for you, even the days that didn’t go so well for you.  You have to be willing to find that opening, rather than focus on all the other thousands of moments that don’t match your plan. All it takes is one action each day to keep moving forward. You have to decide what that action is today and then do it. Maybe that action is looking at what didn’t work so well yesterday and correcting how you will respond today. Maybe it is looking for something new that supports your long-term goal, even if it means taking a risk. And maybe it is as simple as accepting that you are where you need to be today because this is the point from which God wants you to grow. Maybe you aren’t stuck; you just aren’t seeing the potential in where you are in your life today.

It’s the season for basketball and hockey playoffs. I have watched these players rise to the challenge after a night of demoralizing loss. They have a choice—throw in the towel and book their flights home or come out ready to win. They have to believe that they can rise above their setback and believe that today they can be more productive. Some teams will of course end up packing their bags as another team moves forward toward the shiny trophy. For those who leave unsatisfied there is no question that they will look at what didn’t work and make a correction—build on their ‘failure’ to improve in the next game or the next series. Even the winners are looking at what didn’t work so that they can improve their odds in the next game. They never stop trying to be better. They never stop working their plan, even if it is to watch tapes or talk to someone about their performance.

Are you looking at your ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ as a way to improve? Are you capitalizing on what doesn’t work so you can find what does?

If you are going to focus on what has yet to happen for you or what you did wrong or how difficult your journey forward is, you will never reach your goal. I can almost promise you that. However, if you are going to look at the missed opportunities or mistakes in the previous days, I suggest you do it with an eye to make some course corrections. Do not focus on what didn’t work but focus on how to improve today. Although there may be some things beyond your power to change right now, you have the power to make where you are work for you. Ask yourself what you can do in the midst of your circumstances to build a bridge, plank by plank, in your plan. Don’t waste another minute measuring your failures. Measure your day by what you have done right and what you will do right in the moments ahead. Measure your day by what God is doing in your life and find joy in knowing that you can learn and grow and keep moving forward. It will change everything you do to simply measure your day well.

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” Job 6:11

Morning Light

From my prayer seat;
I watch the sun slice into darkness.
God’s reminder of a fresh start.
Each new moment,
replacing the one before.

Light fills the sky;
Shades of yellow replacing the grey.
God’s workmanship revealed again.
Lighting the path,
I seek his inspiration.

Words become alive;
Perfect knowledge guiding the day.
Inspiration feeding the soul.
God’s grace and peace,
Strengthening and encouraging

The sun is up;
Light pushing darkness out of the day.
Words bringing hope to move ahead.
The Son with us,
Sharing his love in all I do.

The path well lit;
The body and spirit well fed.
Called out from my sanctuary.
Into the day,
Anticipating Glory

© maggiemarcum.com

See Psalm 139 and Romans 1-2

The Healing Secrets We Keep

These days I am rather transparent about the life I have led and the choices I have made. I share my experiences because many of them, by the Grace of God, are now behind me. I share my secrets so that others might believe that God still loves them. I share my stories that others who struggle may know that a new life awaits them. I share my story so that others don’t make my mistakes, and if they have made similar mistakes, they know it is not the end. I share hope.

All too often those of us who come through the refining fire refuse to share our stories. I think it is selfish not to tell others how God has changed and redeemed your life. I also believe, that the secrets of our mistakes that we keep hidden, could be the stories that save lives. Yet, many still continue to hide behind some veil of shame refusing to tell others this wonderful thing God has done in their lives. Yes, there may be pain in talking about the past, however, that shared pain may just be what another needs to hear as they struggle with the choices in their lives.

Have you lived through an abusive relationship and are now on the other side living free from fear? Your story of courage and freedom may be what someone else needs to hear for their freedom and to save their life. Share your fears and how you were able to get away and are free to live with joy today.

Have you had an abortion and lived through the tears to finally find forgiveness. Would you do it differently today? Your story could save the life of a child today. Your story could help another woman avoid the pain and loss you experienced.

Did alcohol or drugs once control your life? Did you live with someone abusing alcohol or drugs? Have you found recovery and a new day? Get over anonymity! Share your healing story that another drunk or addict might ask to go to a meeting with you.

Were you once so far in debt or without money that you weren’t sure if you could feed your kids? Have you ever been without a home or a car? Are you out of debt and in control of your finances today? Let go of yesterday and share how you did it with someone like me. Teach us how to work a plan.

Is suicide a part of your family? Have you lost, or nearly, lost someone because of mental illness? Is depression something you have struggled with? Is there hope today that you never had before? Tell your life-giving story that someone who wants to die might live. Share so someone who has lost a loved one might come to understand and feel freedom from guilt. Save a life today.

I could go on with examples. We all have a story. Even those of deep life-long faith have a story. Let your testimony be real. Make what God has done in your life something you don’t think twice about sharing. Share your secrets—especially if you are drowning in your secret today. Reach out and share with someone you trust that they may walk with you. Don’t let your secrets destroy you.

Pass along the gift God has given to you. Multiply his mercy and grace. I encourage you to read The Parable of the Buried Treasure found in Matthew 25. Invest in others. Don’t be the one whose gift is lost.