When the clouds became the darkest, I pulled out an old recipe book--my grandmother's-- and found the ingredients for Poor Man's Pudding penned in her familiar loops and swirls. Pent up emotion broke loose like the sun, and dripped melancholy all over faded paper and ink.
I whispered: This life is hard. I want to be where you are!
My grandmother taught me to see beauty in simple things, to find God in non-religious places. In the summer, when her work was done, she and I would sit side-by-side on the old, wooden, porch swing, sipping sweet tea from golden colored glasses, and swaying to peaceful rhythms, bringing heaven down.
We talked some, but listened mostly, to the symphony of nature's serenade. We became rocks crying out, sometimes joining our voices with song, but more often catching the wind as it blew through Weeping Willow, Red Maple and leafy Catalpa, lifting up silent praise in the language of worship.
When she died with cancer, I celebrated her promotion to Glory--I always knew she was meant to live where angels and saints gather around. But I was devastated. Not only had I lost my best friend--and the one who loved me closest to heaven--she took what I knew of Jesus with her. It took me years to recover, to find Him again, and realize...
..He was with me all along.
Now when I get weepy, needing to touch heaven and doubting that God is near, and while there is still warmth to be found in these Appalachian hills, I swing, sometimes with tea, and sometimes without, but always singing the song Grandma taught me.
And I rediscover what I didn't always know--Jesus lives to make the Father known, and heaven has made my heart His home.
My perseverance in pushing through dark clouds and searching for evidence of the sun paid off, with small glimpses at first, then full-blown glory burst of light and beauty. It came early on this weekend.
Grace reached down and soothed my soul. I know His touch. I felt it in my grandmother's hugs. Lord, I am sorry I doubted. He reassures me with a husband's love.
I will feel her arms around me again, and Jesus will wipe away every tear. But until then, heaven is here--where my toes wiggle in the earth and my heart is held up high as an offering to the One who is worthy. I will praise--with words and without--thanking God for His goodness, every day...
...for 38 more graces:
Because the sun still shines even when the clouds get in the way.
And I am glad this suffering is making me lean into Him.
For beauty that moves my soul to tears,
and a hunger for heaven in my heart,
I am but a sojourner here.
I thank Him for fall fruit: apples, peaches, pumpkin and...
Finding an old recipe for Poor Man's Pudding.
For light-dappled trees and falling leaves,
The canopy of brilliant blue sky over top,
The swing my parents gave me,
For tea, cold or hot, sometimes sweet like Grandma used to make, and sometimes bitter plain.
For the delivery of a furnace, something to keep us warm,
And the warmth found around a table,
An all-girls night for tacos at Artie's,
And ice-cream after.
For a sleepy Sunday morning where I meet with the One I love,
And see Him in the eyes of my husband and children.
For grilled hamburgers with half-moon Gouda and bacon-tomato-macaroni baked,
The hands, big and small versions of the same, given to cooking.
For a clean bathroom and shiny, smooth floors,
And questions about home-work,
For a daughter who says, "The trophy isn't mine, but ours,"
And another who takes time to cut her grandfather's hair.
For a man who sacrifices his sabbath to take me to see Secretariat,
And the feel of his warm leg rubbing against mine,
As we watch the least of these become a Champion.
For the tears that come as I realize,
There is greatness in his blood--and ours,
And we will overcome because of Him.
For the way God speaks in our everyday surroundings,
And sends a glimmer of light when we can't find the way,
A friend that calls just to check on you,
And the laughter she spreads like strawberry jam on toast.
For the peaceful hush that comes when He is enough,
And another day to praise,
The One who loves us most.
Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.
I join every Monday with Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces. Click on the button below to read other grace lists....
Poor Man's Pudding: This links to a recipe similar to my grandmother's. She also included in the batter: 1/2 C. each chopped nuts and raisins, and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy!
Photos: uploaded from my mobile phone