Steps

Upon this earth we leave our mark
Our steps upon its mantle

What do they say about us though?
What stories do they share?

They speak of joy in simple pleasures
Like playful children we jump and twirl

Gentle tiptoes expressing love
Angry stomping voicing pain

Striding forward on our own
Or strolling companionably arm-in-arm

A footprint left now clear and firm
Speaks of wisdom skill or knowledge

Those scuff marks left as we drag our feet
Signs of struggles or despair

As determined toddlers do we rise again
…learning growing trying the new?

What do we see as we view our ways?
Steps and steps upon the trail

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Love You!

“Love you!”

“Love you, too”

These words between friends, family members, or others are an expression of mutual affection and support. Have you ever considered how powerful they are?

For those on the receiving end, these simple phrases can bring a wealth of meaning, can’t they? I’m happy… We’re enjoying each other’s company… You’re special. They can also express empathy and compassion. I’m so sorry… I regret what happened… I still care.

What about when we speak those words? Sometimes it is so easy to say them, especially when we are happy and are spending enjoyable time in each other’s company. In parting, they are reminders for each other which we take with us, lifting each other up and bringing smiles to faces.

Have you ever struggled to say or to return them? Maybe there has been some strain in your relationship, some hurt or struggle… some unkind or ill-spoken thought. How difficult they can be to say in the face of great loss. Death, poor health prognosis, violence, or our own failures… In those times “love you” and “love you too” can be both painful and healing.

As I was reading in the book of Romans this morning, I came upon a word that expresses these very thoughts!

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” *

I was curious about the word “honor”, so I looked up the meaning for its use in this passage [Yes, a bit nerdy maybe but doing this has really helped me to understand verses in the Bible better!]. It said: “a valuing by which the price is fixed (of the price itself, of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold); honor which belongs or is shown to one (by reason of rank…, deference, reverence)“.

Honor is linked with price and value… and (in that passage) with love! 1Corinthians 6:20 uses the same word, translated as “price”. “For you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It struck me of the great price already paid for us through Jesus. Each of us are loved, valued, and honored. Do we love, value, and honor each other to this extent? How do we even wrap our minds around that?!

My prayer for us today, is that we will be more aware of the power of these simple words to and from God and with others. May we use them often, with greater appreciation and understanding. May we be transformed and filled as we both give and receive.

* Romans 12:10
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Surround Us

I wrote this poem several years ago. It is still so applicable to us each day
a call, a remembrance, a celebration, an affirmation of God’s Spirit and love for us.
May it bring us peace and hope.

Surround us, oh Lord
Guardian protector Father
Wrap us in Your holiness
Surround us, oh Lord
Strong sure eternal

Surround us, oh Lord
Refresh renew restore
Nourished by Your Spirit
Surround us, oh Lord
To grow in wisdom and stature

Surround us, oh Lord
Great One mighty and present
Strong and sure deliverer
Surround us, oh Lord
That we too may stand

Surround us, oh Lord
Wrapped in Your breath
Sustained and filled
Surround us, oh Lord
Satisfier of our souls

Surround us, oh Lord
Our firm foundation
Shield and defender
Surround us, oh Lord
With the cloud of Your being

Surround us, oh Lord
Your comforting presence
Banish our fear
Surround us, oh Lord
Abba Father and King

——————————————————————————————————-
Thanks to God, who surrounds us each day
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22

– Charlotte-Anne Allen

A Better Day (Our Easter Journey)

Heading toward Jerusalem
He entered it that day
Shouts of acclamation
Cries to be saved

Walking among the people
He spoke lasting words
Showed us servant giving
As storm clouds gathered

Oh, where now is our Savior
Betrayed by those beloved
In agony and prayer
Obedient Lamb of God

Can there be such compassion
In the midst of fear and doubt
Loss grief despair confusion
Striking buffeting death

What’s this now seen in darkness
Piercing light and open way
Speaks of new beginnings
Life rises out of love

Jesus walks among us
Transforms our doubt to joy
Fellowship for all who come
Hear see eat with him… Believe

Can it be so simple
Toddler’s first wobbly step
God’s strong hand and presence
Direction faith and hope reborn

Light’s rays to guide us
To lift and reassure
Life’s purpose now before us
There is a better day

Bright Stars

Bright stars piercing the night with their clarity
Or shimmering through tree branches and distant cloud
What vastness and might you speak of!
What awesome power and beauty!

We look, we behold such majesty
Mind does not contain
The works of our Creator
And His great love for us

Stretch our arms wide
We who stand below in our smallness
Securely wrapped in the arms of God
Bright stars showing us His splendor

Moments

Oh, that time would stand still!
In those moments of bright clarity
Treasured in our hearts and
Seared in our memories

Of those we hold dear
For life and love and family
Friends and church gathered ‘round
God’s holy ground, simple and true

We open eyes to brilliant color
Ears to laughter and tears
A gentle touch and helping hands
Life’s essence … caught in a fleeting moment.

Charlotte-Anne Allen 2/25/2022

Tender Child

This special child
Now held so close
Cradled softly in loving arms
Resting, trusting, safe from harm

Compassion born
Full of grace and truth
Heaven announced
Good news, great joy

Peace and goodwill
Now come, make haste
True light’s glow
Awaken our hearts

Cast aside our fears and doubts
Draw us close as tender child
To treasure words of hope
Christ Jesus come to earth

*Luke 2:8-20, John 1:14, 16

Reflections on Gifts

• Gifts from the heart come in many forms
• Give simple gifts freely and daily
• A child’s embrace and trust are to be treasured
• Receiving gives others the opportunity to give
• Material gifts, while nice, should not be overrated
• Do not turn away what is needed when offered in love
• Gifts of time and service express compassion and fellowship
• Examine what you value most
• Share faith, family, home, and strength of community
• Be genuine in giving
• See those in need, be present with the lonely, hear the hurting
• Give quietly and without expectation or demand of personal return
• Do not reserve gift giving for holidays, celebrations, or other remembrances
• Give “just because”
• God gave all because of the greatest of love

from “Reflections from the Everyday” – Charlotte-Anne Allen

Sacrifice

Giving selflessly is not always convenient.
When done in love, this is no loss!

Offered in laughter, pain, or sweat,
The greatest sacrifice is self.

Look then at our world around us,
At those who give in sacrifice,

Parent’s heart or family’s bond
Friendships dear or stranger’s face.

Giving brings the greatest gains,
Healing, helping, lifting spirits.

True sacrifice… It takes more effort
And it comes from deep within.

Love’s celebration. Glad thanksgiving
Greatest sacrifice … Savior’s touch