New Footprints on Your Life

My Footprints on Your Life (for KELVINGROVE) by Linda Bonney Olin

This week marked the first anniversary of my dad’s reunion with his wife, elder daughter, and other cherished family in heaven. My friend Carol lost her mother this week too. So I decided to give photographer Edgaras Melsiskis’s lovely seagull another flight, this time carrying the updated words to “My Footprints on Your Life.”

Just as footprints on a sandy beach are constantly wiped away by the tide and replaced by fresh imprints, song lyrics can be renewed with new musical settings. “My Footprints on Your Life” was first published with an original melody in Songs for the Lord. I’ve recently adapted it for the tune DIVINE MYSTERIES and my personal favorite, KELVINGROVE. You can hear both settings on the Audio page, but here’s a handy link to listen to KELVINGROVE while you read the lyrics. (My audio is melody-only, because John Bell‘s lovely harmonization is copyrighted.)

My Footprints on Your Life

May my footprints on your heart be deep but gently laid
and remembrance of my presence never fully fade.
May your heart be ever warmed
by the bond of love we formed
and be comforted by sacred memories we made.

May my footprints on your mind inspire and challenge you
to search earnestly for what is just and what is true.
As you meet life’s twists and turns,
may the echo of my words
help you find the righteous way and guide you safely through.

May my footprints on your soul lead you to realms divine
like a treasure map to heaven I have left behind
in the hope one day you’ll be
with our Father God and me,
living joyfully again, together for all time.

Look inside yourself and see
marks that bind, yet set you free,
after I have said goodbye: my footprints on your life.

The footprints left behind by our loved ones aren’t washed away by the next big wave. If we’re fortunate, their marks, along with those of the Lord Jesus, will comfort us, inspire us, and ultimately lead us to our own reunion in the “realms divine.”

Blessings to you who mourn,
Linda

 

Pick ’Em Up and Move ’Em

Pick your feet up and move!

How often has someone at a writers conference said she hasn’t started actually writing anything yet, because she isn’t sure exactly what the Lord wants her to write?

Are you standing paralyzed on the brink of a career choice, afraid to take a step until you’re absolutely, positively sure what God has in mind for you?

Hmm… Maybe while you’re waiting on God, God is waiting on YOU.

Yes, pray for guidance. But don’t stop there. Pick up your feet, or your pen, or whatever tool of your trade you need, and move it! You might be surprised at the direction the Lord takes you in, once you show your commitment with a bit of action.

I’m adding my prayers to yours, right now. 🙂

Blessings,
Linda

 

Yes! Today!

Yes, today!

Are you wasting time and energy mourning capabilities and opportunities you’ve lost?

Still moping about all the great things you could have accomplished, “if only …”?

Today, list and celebrate the gifts the Lord is giving you NOW. Start using them to create something that will be great, if only you’ll get busy and do it!

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Blessings,
Linda

 

After the Cross: Mary the Mother of Jesus

White cross on dark blue backgroundApril 8, 2014

I certainly didn’t intend a five-week gap between posts in my series about how people close to Jesus were transformed by his resurrection. But a few hours after I posted the meditation about the Apostle John, way back on Ash Wednesday, my mother was unexpectedly hospitalized. I hit the road to my parents’ home in Maine the next day. A month of turmoil later, I’m sitting in their kitchen, alone with my laptop and my thoughts about recent evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness—the same faithfulness Mary trusted through thick and thin.

Mary, as far as I can see, never doubted that the Lord God would fulfill all his amazing promises. She pondered and praised and treasured and obeyed, but never doubted. When she asked the angel Gabriel how she, a virgin, could birth the Savior, I hear surprised curiosity rather than skepticism in her question. Even at the cross, her faith did not falter. Of all Jesus’ family, friends, and followers, Mary alone watched her son suffer and die without losing confidence in the Lord God’s word that Jesus was the promised savior. She simply waited to see how—not if—the promise would be fulfilled.

In Mary the Mother of Jesus, Transformed, Mary strengthens John after the crucifixion by revealing her knowledge of God’s plans for Jesus. Even Jesus’ death, painful as it had been, couldn’t quench her faith.

MARY:  It’s not necessary for servants to understand their master’s plans, John. A faithful servant obeys his master and trusts his promises.

JOHN:  Are you suggesting that Jesus’ death is part of the Lord’s kingdom promise? (He shakes his head.) How could such a thing be?

MARY:  Do you remember the angel Gabriel’s answer to that question?

JOHN:  “The Lord God is able to bring it about. Nothing is impossible with God.” But—

MARY:  I know. Jesus’ death doesn’t make any sense, not to us. But his conception and birth didn’t make any sense either.

JOHN (wryly):  That’s true enough.

MARY:  Besides, look how generously our master in heaven has favored you and me with personal glimpses of his plans for the future. Shall we repay such extraordinary gifts with anything less than our complete trust?

 

August 11, 2014

Yes, it’s been four months since I started to write this post. When I began, I was sitting alone in my parents’ kitchen for the first time ever because, by the grace of God, I had been able to settle them into an assisted living facility in record time after Ma’s latest discharge from the hospital. I expected to do a little cleanup at the house, chauffeur her to another medical appointment or two, then drive home on the weekend to get my farm bookkeeping caught up before driving back to Maine for her next round of tests and procedures. But, Friday afternoon I arrived at an office too late to transact a piece of business for my parents, and I had to postpone my trip home. So I was still in town when the call came Saturday morning. My mother was in an ambulance en route to the emergency room.

She was barely responsive when I arrived. I didn’t know what to think, what to expect, what to do. Least of all, what to say. I asked if she’d like me to pray her rosary for her. She nodded, or at least I thought she did. Somehow the words bubbled up from my memory and out of my mouth. Fifty Hail Mary’s, ten at a time. Five Our Father’s and Glory Be’s. I probably missed something, but I don’t suppose the Lord held it against me.

The priest came in to give Ma the Anointing of the Sick. Doctors spoke to me, each grimmer than the last. It finally sank in. Ma wasn’t going to pull through this time.

I prayed to Jesus, as one child to another, asking him to deal as lovingly with my mother as he had dealt with his own. Hadn’t he put aside his agony on the cross to place his dear mother into John’s care? Now I placed my dear Ma into Jesus’ care. If not to heal her, at least to ease her journey to heaven.

A very short time later, she slipped away from this life, her hand clasped in mine.

I imagine Jesus, with great big smile, handing his good and faithful servant an Express Pass to Glory, to collect her reward for 84 years of devoted service. I think of the many blessings that fell into place for her and Dad over her last months—evidence of the heavenly master’s generous favor. Yes, my prayers were answered, long before they were uttered.

There’s so much more to tell, but I haven’t had the heart to write about it. Finishing this post is a start.

For more about my mother, Theresa Bonney:
Faith of Our Mothers

For more about Mary the mother of Jesus:
Luke

For more on Mary the Mother of Jesus, Transformed:
Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas

Please post a comment to commiserate, console, or converse. I’d love to hear from you.
—Linda

 

After the Cross: Mary Magdalene

White cross on dark blue backgroundThe other Mary at the cross

Crucifixion tableaux commonly picture Jesus’ beloved disciple, John, and his mother, Mary, consoling each other at the foot of the cross. But the Bible tells us that another Mary endured the anguish of watching Jesus die. Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ devoted disciple, followed him all the way to Calvary too.

Mark 16:9 calls her a woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. Who else—what else—was Mary Magdalene? A saint? A sinner? A sort of Galilean Yoko Ono, whose influence over Jesus aroused jealous resentment among the other disciples? Jesus’ love match? Wife? Mother of his children? The embodiment of the “sacred feminine,” as suggested in modern speculative fiction?

I don’t know how much truth each of those depictions contains. But one thing seems certain: Mary Magdalene loved Jesus deeply. She loved him as the healer of her body and the savior of her soul. He didn’t merely cast out the seven demons who had subjected her to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse, though that would have been enough. He made her whole again with his encompassing, unconditional, personal love.

How profoundly, then, she must have suffered along with Jesus at the cross! How devastating her loss, when he was snatched away by death!

When John led Mary the mother of Jesus away from the scene, did Mary Magdalene follow the body of Jesus to the newly hewn tomb and watch with a tight heart as it was quickly wrapped in linen and laid to rest? Did she hurry back into the city to buy burial spices before the vendor closed shop at sundown for the Sabbath?

Ah, that Sabbath day!

By the following morning, the protective numbness had surely worn off. Jewish law prohibited most activity on Saturday, so there was little to distract the grieving woman from the ragged pain of once more being … incomplete.

 Excerpt from the dramatic monologue Mary Magdalene, Transformed

(MAGDALENE echoes Jesus in an anguished voice.)
My Lord, my Lord, why have you forsaken me?
(MAGDALENE covers her face with her hands and stands with her head bent down for several moments. She uncovers her face and raises her head before continuing.)
The next day was the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. (bitterly) I found no rest in it. Questions invaded my mind, like demons rushing to take possession.
(MAGDALENE speaks forlornly.)
Where does this leave me?
Why did he leave me?
Who is Mary Magdalene now?
What am I, without Jesus?
Is everything (a beat) finished?

(MAGDALENE mournfully sings O Lord, Whose Touch Once Made Me Whole. Click the title to listen to vocalist Theresa Olin.)

1. O Lord, whose touch once made me whole, whose love restored my very soul, how can it be that you are gone? Without you, how can I be strong enough to carry on?

2. O Lord, why did you have to leave? Should I be angry? Should I grieve? I was so sure we’d never part. But death has taken you and left me with a hollow heart.

3. O Lord, will I see you again? Does “It is finished” mean the end of everything I thought I knew? Of everything we all believed that you would someday do?

Lost love? Eternal love!

Have you ever experienced the raw pain of abandonment when a person you loved so profoundly—one who completed you—walked out the door, never to return? Perhaps the departure was a deliberate breakup. Perhaps, like Mary Magdalene, you lost your loved one to death, without a chance to brace yourself against the blow. Either way, you might have felt as forsaken as Mary did. And asked the same desperate questions.

But we know something Mary didn’t know on that terrible Saturday. Jesus had not abandoned her. He continued to love her with an all-encompassing, unconditional love. In fact, their love was transformed into an eternal bond!

Be encouraged by the knowledge that the living Christ loves you—yes, you!—with that same eternal, forgiving, redeeming, all-encompassing, personal love. Others may forsake you. He will not!

Learn more of Mary Magdalene’s story in Transformed: 5 Resurrection Dramas, a collection of one-act plays. Mary Magdalene, Transformed is a dramatic monologue portraying Mary as a visiting speaker/singer who relates her history with Jesus to a not entirely sympathetic audience. Three solo songs provide an optional musical element.

Find more information about the music in Mary Magdalene, Transformed, and listen to my diva daughter’s informal vocal recordings on the Audio page here at Faith Songs.

Edit 3/26/2016: Mary Magdalene, Transformed is now available as a single-script ebook, too.

Edit 2/5/2017: O Lord, Whose Touch Once Made Me Whole (Theresa Olin, a cappella) on YouTube

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. Please leave a comment below. Your two cents is worth a good buck and a half to me! ♥

 

Elizabeth Bristol ~ Confidence in the Prophecy

My Kindle music book, SONGS FOR THE LORD, will be offered as a FREE download on Amazon.com and its European affiliates on Friday, November 2 through Monday, November 5. Mark your calendars! And please help me get the word out!

Photo of Elizabeth Bristol

Elizabeth Bristol

Here is a related message—a testimonial of sorts—sent in by kindred spirit Elizabeth Bristol.

A native of Foxboro, Massachusetts, Elizabeth has lived in many states and other countries. She says she loves the school of life and looks for opportunities to step into another pair of shoes for deeper understanding. She can be conventional, but she’d rather color outside the lines.

(I happen to know that Elizabeth has applied to work in Antarctica. That’s coloring outside the lines, all right!)

Elizabeth writes:

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To the Ends of the Earth

Photo of a mailbox on a country road
How does the Lord deliver his words of comfort and challenge to the people who need to hear them?

Oh, he has his ways!

In my last post, I described how I wrote a collection of hymns and faith songs and filed them away while the Lord assigned me other kinds of writing.

But that wasn’t the end of the music story …

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