Category Archives: Christianity

If Martha Had an Open-Plan Kitchen

If Martha had an open-plan kitchen she would’t have missed out on what Jesus was teaching; she might not have whined about Mary not helping her, and Jesus might not have chided Martha that Mary did the better thing, (Luke 10:38-42). And we might have missed that lesson from the Lord.

This silly thought occurred to me when friends were visiting. Sunday morning we had church at home. The dad of the visiting family was giving a little homily to his kids. I was puttering away in the kitchen, making waffles for brunch. I enjoyed doing both: serving our guests by cooking and listening to the Word of God.

Martha, Lazarus’s sister, must have just been having a grouchy day when Jesus was in her home, because we later see her to be a woman of great faith. Whatever the reason, the Lord knew what was in her heart and used the opportunity to teach and encourage her.

Here’s Martha meeting the Lord after Lazarus has died, John 11:20-27:

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Martha trusted Jesus completely. 

Mother’s Day’s A Pain

You motherless children of all ages…you know what I mean.

I lost my mother when I was 22, and she was 46—too young. Ever since, a long time ago, Mother’s Days have been tough.

The pain lessens, but it’s always there.

Being a mother helps ease the heartache of the motherless—so I’m told. Being a step-mother helps—this I know. Being a grandmother helps—yes it does. Being a Christian—well, that’s plugged the hole in my heart from the inside.

If you’ve lost your mother, and on this Mother’s Day you’re remembering her rather than giving her flowers and taking her to brunch, I pray comfort for you.

A wise woman I spoke to years ago said, “A woman is always too young to lose her mother.”

Mother's Day Flowers—Poppies for Remembrance
Mother’s Day Flowers—Poppies for Remembrance

Lilias Trotter Devotional

Screen shot 2013-02-13 at 8.30.23 PM

He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

Taken from “A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter”, compiled and edited by Miriam Huffman Rockness.

Desert Teaching

…And then the desert hills took on their pink and blue afternoon lights and shadows. One moment’s glory of sunset flashed out between the showers, after we got in, shading the desert from the mauve of the distant hills to the flame color of the cliffs of the riverbed in the foreground—a chord of color that is simply unpaintable and indescribable and unimaginable.

Oh, the desert is lovely in its restfulness. The great brooding stillness over and through everything is so full of God. One does not wonder that He used to take His people out into the wilderness to teach them.

A Parent’s Heart

LET FREEDOM RING
LET FREEDOM RING

Prayer request: Pray for our friends in Christ who are parents of soldiers. Pray for their children who are at war on our behalf.

I have three friends whose sons are: on deployment to a war zone, waiting for the next deployment, and starting Basic Training.

These young men, two of them fathers, have been on our prayer list for some time.

Though we’ve been told a timeline for an end to US involvement in the war in the Middle East, it seems like a war without end. It must especially seem so when people you love are in harm’s way.

I’m privileged to be a counselor for a military benefit program which serves our soldiers and their families, particularly (though not exclusively) related to deployment and reintegration issues. It breaks my heart to see spouses sobbing with the pain and stress of separation.

PRAY FOR THEM.

The Greatest Paradox

Joy is the Lord
Joy is the Lord

The greatest paradox: our sins are washed white as snow, washed in the blood of the lamb.
I don’t get it, I’ll never get it this side of heaven, but I know it’s true.
And I’m so grateful!
Leaping with the Joy of the Lord.

“Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!”

Text: Henry Van Dyke
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, “Ode to Joy”
Cristine Eastin © 2013

Writing Contest Results

The five-month wait is over. I now have my score and critique in hand—the results of having entered my first writing contest. It’s been quite an experience so far. If you’re an aspiring writer, I highly recommend putting your work out there for judgement. Sounds ominous, but it’s a great way to improve in our craft.

I entered Operation First Novel, a contest sponsored by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. In the cover letter accompanying my critique, Jerry Jenkins encouraged entrants. He reminded us that many writers never get this far, actually completing a manuscript, and he spurred us to “press on”, (Philippians 3:12).

Having read that, holding my breath, I turned to my score and critique. I had mistakenly thought the score was based on 100 points, so you can guess my reaction when I saw my score that was actually based on 70 points. A 30 point difference in expectation caused a moment of angst before I caught my error.

Overall, I didn’t do too badly. I’ve participated in countless auditions and contests, so this is a familiar place—though I’ve never had to wait five months for results! (I’m of the school of thought some days that says instant gratification isn’t fast enough.)

My judge wrote helpful comments and suggestions for each of the seven criteria. The judge also had plenty of positive feedback which confirmed that I’m on the right track. I don’t know where the track’s going yet, but it’s the right one to be on.

So, with critique in hand, I’ve started the revision process—the fourth pass through. The judge suggested a resource book on revision: The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman. Writers, trust me, you need this book.

I feel good, even a little exhilarated. I’m the Little Engine That Could. I’m pressing on. Revision. Agent hunt…

When I feel discouraged, thinking I started this writing game too late, I remember what an 80-something friend said, “but you wouldn’t have had the maturity to write then like you do now.”

Press on to take hold of the prize. Win the race!

Be blessed to be a blessing.

2013, A New Year

Screen shot 2013-01-01 at 11.03.31 AMIt’s a new year. All the holiday hype is over, and we can settle down and get on with it. If I hear one more bit about shopping I think I’m going to scream—CHRIST-mas! Seems like we have to dig through quite a discarded pile of wrapping paper to find Christ in Christmas anymore. But that’s another soapbox for another time.

2013 is new for me. I’ve taken a leap off the social media cliff and started a Facebook Page. The few times I was brave enough to jump off the high board at the pool I had to remember to hold my nose or get a snootful. So here goes.

Full Pitcher Christian Women—that’s my Facebook Page. If you click on the link in the top right widget, you’ll zoom right to it.

Why? Countless times I’ve told my women psychotherapy clients, “because you can’t pour from an empty pitcher“. Women especially are prone to pour, pour, pour until they’re drained, then pour some more.

Join me. Let’s drink from the well the Lord has for us—and refill.

Cristine Eastin © 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas 2012

May the next year bring you blessings.

May you find peace and joy in spite of this crazy world.

And may you know the love of the Lord and those people He’s put in your life.

Christ's birthplace may have looked like this home.
Christ’s birthplace may have looked like this home.

Infant holy, infant lowly, for His bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing, little knowing Christ the child is Lord of all.
Swiftly winging, angels singing, bells are ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the child is Lord of all! Christ the child is Lord of all!

Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping vigil till the morning new;
Saw the glory, heard the story, tidings of a Gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow, praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the child was born for you! Christ the child was born for you!

Polish carol
Cristine Eastin © 2012

Rejection #l

The wait is over. After three long months, the ten semifinalists, out of 102 entrants, for the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest were announced; the list did not include my name and the title of my novel.

Rejection #1. I can start the official count.

I’m disappointed, but not as much as I thought I’d be. I’m familiar with this process. I once responded to the psychological projective questions of—”I am___, People are___, Life is____,”  with “Life is an audition.” I have what seems like a life-long history of competitions and auditions—waiting for results. Now I wait for the critique and the score on my novel. Then I revise again.

In the meantime, I get busy. Since I now know the OFN isn’t the door I’ll go through at the moment, I keep preparing—developing my platform (social media), identifying agents for the query phase, trying not to fall off the path.

Rejection can do one of two things—discourage me and get me to quit, or galvanize me to action and improvement. I choose the latter. I remember the first time I was videotaped in preparation for a speech contest in high school and really saw my performance. I learned to welcome critical feedback and use it.

Rejection never feels good. But it doesn’t feel quite so bad when you trust the source of the rejection. The CWG is committed to helping writers do their best.

So, congratulations to the ten semifinalists. I know they worked incredibly hard to get where they are and that they’re obediently using the gift of writing the Lord gave them.

Cristine Eastin © 2012

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for…well…thanks.

In between the cynicism and stress I am thankful. I know it should be the other way around. It should be—there’s cynicism and stress sprinkled in the thankfulness, but it’s tough. The world is relentless, and we people, being people, make it hard for ourselves and others.

It’s like the Thanksgiving I forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie. Expecting dessert, I bit into the pie—and got vegetable. Ick!

I have to say, and this is politically incorrect, but the sugar and spice and anything nice comes from the Lord. If any of you readers aren’t there…if you’re willing…read the Bible, the book of John for starters, and just see…

So, I’m thankful—for Jesus—and that we don’t live where the church is persecuted…that we have enough…that I have hope: the assurance of things not seen…that this earthly world isn’t the end of the story.

This Thanksgiving we’ll have our family with us around the table—and we’ll give thanks.

Cristine Eastin © 2012