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Seasons

Dear Reader,
Truth settles us as we move through the seasons of life. Many seasons ago, we made the short trip across the Eau Gallie Causeway for our weekly visit to my grandmother’s apartment. Upon our arrival we learned that Gram’s goldfish had passed on. My young daughter left the fish food standing like a soldier in its place. No longer able to fulfill her assigned responsibility she asked me, “Why? Why did Grandma’s fish die?” So, I sang my rendition of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Turn, Turn, Turn as we buried the fish outside. It’s ok to giggle at my teacher ways and my propensity to go with the simplicity of child-like faith. To this day (about 25 years later) she still remembers me singing to her and tells me that the song got the point across. We chuckled about it again recently as we recalled the sweet and silly memory. To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn, turn, turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven. . . The lyrics, inspired by the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes and set to music, settled her. Truth settles us in the joy and in the pain and in everything in between. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the

Life. He is the only one who can calm our restless hearts. He is the answer to every question mark that we have, even when we still don’t understand. Welcome to the pages of this new issue. Our editor, Dr. Emily Climaco, pours her heart into the pages of every issue. Thank you, Emily. Thank you also to Lindsay Tallman, Theresa Cavalier, and Julie Crask for contributing and being a part of the Between the Lines team to plan and pray with us. Our Christ Church graphic designers take great care in meshing the theme with what will be pleasing to your eye. The Journey prayer team prays for you the reader and for the writers included in every issue. Thank you to the staff and team. Each person mentioned here is faithful in this season of life to serve with a willing heart until God says otherwise. After all, he is the author of the seasons. He always writes a page-turner. May God Bless You in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall,

Mary Ann
We appreciate hearing from our readers. Please let us know how this magazine has touched your life. You may send your e-mails to:
thejourney.betweenthelines@gmail.com

Between the Lines is a magazine of the Journey, a ministry of Christ Church Fairview Heights, IL. © 2013, Christ Church. mychristchurch.com Graphic Design by Michelle Sweeten

Between the Lines • Spring 2013 • Volume 3, Issue 2

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In the next issue: Freedom in Christ - Freedom Indeed! This Issue’s Theme: Seasons Verse of the Season: To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under
heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Meet the Contributors
Emily Climaco, Ph.D., is a Journey Team member and the volunteer editor of Between the Lines. The wife of Phil and mom of Caroline, she spends her “free time” being silly with her four-year-old daughter and writing on her blog, www.commonplacesoil.com. Debbi Cutright is a Journey Team member and enjoys volunteering in various women’s and children’s ministries through Christ Church in Fairview Heights. Debbi is a registered nurse and long-term care administrator. She has two grown children and three grandchildren who keep her busy and happy. Betty Haskins attends Christ Church with several beloved family members, including her daughter and grandson. She’s a greatgrandmother who enjoys playing bridge and knitting. Turn to page 8 to read more about Betty. Lindsay Tallman is a freelance writer who writes about family and faith. Her work has been featured in Thriving Family and Family Fun magazines. When she’s not busy writing or tripping over toys, she enjoys reading, traveling, and playing with her quirky kids. She and her family live in O’Fallon, Illinois, and worship at Christ Church. www.lindsayntallman.com Mary Ann Turner is the leader of the Journey Team at Christ Church. A former elementary school teacher, she is the wife of Mark, mother of two grown children, and grandmother to two precious little boys. She enjoys great conversations, hiking with her family, and encouraging others to grow in their Christian faith. www.maryannturner.com

For more information on the Journey ministry or to sign up for a free subscription to this magazine, please take a look at www. mychristchurch.com/thejourney.

The Bleak Mid-Winter
by Lindsay Tallman

I have to admit, when I think of winter the first thing that comes to mind is Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day when he says, “It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be gray, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” Not only has this winter been unusually long, but my family is lying beneath a self-imposed emotional winter as well. In January, we added a fourth child to our family through adoption. Our new three-year-old daughter is a delight, and we love her dearly. Like any major life change, adding another child to our family has brought joy and love, along with chaos and confusion. I find myself thrust back in the trenches raising two little ones, searching for a new kind of normal. Some days, when I’m sitting with both of my threeyear-olds crying on my lap because one has more square footage or someone is touching the other, as I chant the phrases, “We have to take turns, use your words, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit,” for the hundredth time, I feel my sanity slowly sliding away.
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One night my oldest daughter asked, “Why did God make winter?” Not wanting to pass my bad attitude on to her, I thought carefully before answering. I explained how every living thing needs a time to rest, to build up energy and strength to grow bigger and more beautiful when spring arrives. Despite my disdain for winter, I understand that it is always necessary in order for spring to arrive. One of my favorite Christmas carols is “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.” Originally a poem written by Christina Rossetti about the birth of Christ, she writes: In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago. Perhaps you are in a spiritual winter season too. Such seasons may arrive due to circumstances such as a parenting young children,

recovering from an injury, caring for an aging loved one, grieving a loss, or simply because we are in a time of transition. These seasons are hard to endure. But what can we do while we are waiting for the elusive spring? Here are some principles to get us started: 1. Surrender control and trust. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” If we love and obey God, we can have confidence that he is at work even when our lives seem out of control. Let him do his work in you during the painful seasons. 2. Live one day at a time. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Life can be overwhelming when we focus too much on the future. Do your best to live the life you were created to live today. 3. Don’t let anything steal your joy. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” By obeying these

words even when we don’t feel like it, our perspective on our circumstances will change. 4. Stay close to him. Rosetti’s poem ends with this verse: What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb, If I were a wise man I would do my part, Yet what I can I give Him, Give my heart. Though we may feel during the hard times that we have nothing left to give, we can always give Christ our heart. When we feel lost and lonely, he is near. Don’t let your heart grow cold, but instead press into relationship with him and he will sustain you. As I write this, the snow is falling outside, but one lone daffodil is blooming from the frigid ground. A visible reminder to me that even in the harshest circumstances, God makes things grow. We can place our trust and hope in the Lord because he will be faithful to us through the winter seasons. He is with us, and we have not been forgotten. The one who came to wash us white as snow will cover us and love us. We will emerge stronger and more beautiful than before. When all seems dead, have faith—spring is coming.

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When God created the universe, it was summer every day. Adam and Eve lived in love with each other, peace with fellow creatures, and intimacy with God. God looked out on all that he had made and smiled. It was good. Then came the fall. Adam and Eve, deceived by a serpent, ate fruit from the only tree God had forbidden them to harvest. Suddenly, everything seemed broken and naked and wrong. “. . . sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin . . .” The cold curse of winter fell over humankind. People suffered separation from God, feeling the sting of sadness and death. They tried to please God by obeying countless rules and rituals, but what God really wanted was their hearts. Only one thing could save them: the redeeming death of Jesus. When Jesus rose from the dead in triumph over brokenness and nakedness and wrong, Hope a new creation . . .”

Spring had arrived! “. . . if anyone is in Christ, he is

bloomed.

A Prayer of Renewal: Dear God, I’ve sinned, and I need your forgiveness. I believe your son, Jesus, died for my sins, and I’m willing to stop sinning. I now invite Jesus into my life as my personal savior. Amen. -EC
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Photo by Julie Crask www.works4water.blogspot.com

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Belleville Courthouse circa 1953 BellevilleHistoricalSociety.org 8

by Emily Climaco

On a recent bright and chilly spring morning, Betty Haskins sat in my dining room and told me stories of an amazing life. I’d asked her to contribute to this issue because of her wisdom gleaned over several seasons of life. Like a tulip blooming in the snow, God’s faithfulness appears in retrospect in the most surprising places.

During the Great Depression, Betty Haskins was a church-going girl growing up in southern Illinois. Here’s how you could pick her out in a group of friends: look for the one tending to others, bandaging scraped knees. At a Methodist Youth Fellowship retreat at McKendree College, she dedicated her young life to Christ. Now, seasoned with the wisdom of years, she says, “I’ve lived a very interesting life.” Indeed, she has. When she was a high school senior, Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor, and she began her

official training as a nurse. She celebrated VE day and VJ day with her St. Louis nursing colleagues. Upon returning home to Belleville, she continued her nursing career at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and her worship-music calling, which had begun with piano lessons at age seven, at St. George’s Episcopal Church. In 1953, Betty married Jack T. Haskins, M.D., and worked in his office on East Main. Jack, a physician and surgeon, delivered their two daughters in quick succession. Naturally, her nurse training came
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in handy as a mother of two. She and Jack brought up Jann and Jena at Union United Methodist Church, where she led the girls in the Angel Choir and Junior Choir. A new life-season began when Betty’s daughters went away to college, and she assumed a different kind of care-giving role. Devastatingly, her mother suffered a massive stroke, and she took responsibility for her mother in the nursing home, her father living alone at home, and her beloved grandmother, who had lived in the bedroom right across from hers in the family home, before eventually entering the nursing home. This series of events was distressing, but caring for people comes easily to her. Both parents passed away five years after her mother’s stroke, within six months of each other. Although she’d gotten away from church as her girls grew up, caring for others was her second-nature way of showing God’s love. Betty and Jack made the most of retirement by traveling broadly, living for a time in Arkansas and later Florida. In Sebring, Florida, she became involved in her downtown church’s after-school program, providing snacks and a haven for local kids. Caring for children has always delighted her. She now works with fifth- and sixth-graders in the AWANA program at Christ Church.

The turn of the century brought a difficult season: Jack began showing signs of Alzheimer’s, and Betty tended to him, careful to preserve his dignity in the face of an awful, wasting disease. Early in 2004, she could no longer care for him at home. After a brief time in the nursing home, Jack went home to be with the Lord. A World War II flight surgeon and Silver Star Medal recipient, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Betty returned home, living alone for the first time ever. Soon she moved back home to be with her family. “The last several years have been about renewal and preparation and thanksgiving,” she says. Betty confesses that God hasn’t been at the forefront of every season of her life; however, she adds: “He never let go.” Elegant and sharp-witted, few would believe she’s in her late eighties. She jokes that she doesn’t know why God has allowed her this many years, but she’s spending the latter ones cramming for “the final.” “The seasons of my life have waxed and waned,” she explains, “and before, worship was intentional—something we did at church—but now, it’s—what’s the best word?—spontaneous. God is good!” Jesus offers a promise that she especially cherishes: “In my Father’s house are many mansions:

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if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). After many seasons of care-giving, living, and loving, Betty looks forward with anticipation to worshipping at Christ Church. And someday, when she meets our Heavenly Father, her favorite song of praise will become all the more meaningful: The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning, It’s time to sing your song again. Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes!

First National Bank Belleville circa 1943

Celebrating VJ Day in the Veteran's Memorial Fountain August 14, 1945

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” Hebrews 13:15
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Son-Kissed
by Mary Ann Turner

I turn back the pages of my life and pause. On one page, the tear stains catch my eye. I remember this chapter as a season of challenges. I pause again. In my mind I see Carolyn, my dear friend and colleague, standing with me. I can still hear the echo of her voice. Her smile gestures with a soft calm. Carolyn spoke, “Mary Ann, this is a winter in your life and spring will soon be on the way.” She was right. I learned that there is beauty even in the bare branches of winter, posed like mannequins waiting to be dressed. It’s in the stillness of winter that we pause to learn the lessons that allow us to flourish and bear fruit. We’ll bear more fruit, richer fruit, as Jesus teaches us in John 15. Our branches, dripping with the jewels of spring and summer are Son12

kissed. Kissed by the Son himself. Jesus Christ is faithful, and he is our peace. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Psalm 85:10-12 A study note below this passage in my NIV Bible states: “These expressions of God’s favor toward his people are here personified and the vivid portrayal of their meeting and embracing offers one of the most beautiful images in all of Scripture of God’s gracious dealings with his covenant people.” This passage sings to me again and again in every season of life.

I’ve mentioned winter, spring, and summer. And what of fall? When it comes to our soul and spirit fall whispers, “Look! Look at the colors of your life.” See the golden moments, the fire-orange passion of your heart, and the rich mahogany underfoot making a sure path for the journey. With its cozy beckoning, fall reassures us that life is for living fully. In his infinite goodness God has given us the seasons of the heart, soul, and spirit. Faithfully he writes the story of our lives, wasting nothing. We walk into each new page knowing that he is already there. He sees us through every season until he welcomes us into eternal joy. “Righteousness goes before him and he prepares the way for his steps.” Psalm 85:13

Wayne Jacobsen writes in his book, In My Father’s Vineyard, that pruning of a grapevine can only be done in winter, after the sap has slowed and the vine is at rest. He further states that pruning is organized destruction and, unless the branch is at rest, the cutting could destroy it. God knows what he is doing and he cares for us. It is not his desire to destroy us during the winters of our lives. Rather, he loves us deeply and desires that we would be fruitful. Read John 15:1-8 for Jesus’ words to us. Remain in him and he will fill the pages of your life with stories that lead to a fruitful harvest.

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It’s Treacherous
“For I am the Lord, I do not change . . .” (Malachi 3:6). “The roads are treacherous. We are advising everyone to stay home today if at all possible,” warned the TV meteorologist one February morning. “Treacherous” is defined as “hazardous, marked by hidden dangers or perils” (MerriamWebster’s Online Dictionary). “But some people must travel the roads—even when it’s dangerous,” I thought. Health care personnel have to be available. Law enforcement and fire and rescue workers are crucial. City snow plow drivers must perform their duties. These persons have to be prepared to travel.
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Life is treacherous. If we are to navigate through each day with any amount of safety and peace, we must be proactive. God’s Word tells us to “Be alert and on guard; stand firm in your faith. . . . Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!” (1 Cor. 16:13, Amplified Bible, all quotations).

Out There!
Consider the snow plow driver. He must wear the proper clothing, have fuel in his vehicle, and have an adequate load of salt. As Christians, we prepare by understanding and depending on the Lord: “The Lord is my strength and song” (Psalm 118:14). The psalmist advises us to “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24). Our Lord warned his followers that there would be trials, but he also gave us instruction on how we are to prepare our minds and our mouths: “Therefore, do not worry and be anxious saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have

by Debbi Cutright to wear? . . . But seek first of all His kingdom and His righteousness, and then all these things taken together will be given to you besides” (Matt. 6:31, 33). It is never in the midst of a blizzard that you hear a person say, “I love living in a part of the country that has seasons!” No, this phrase is usually said on a June day when the temperature is 72 degrees, the sky bright blue, and the breeze soft. On this sort of day, it takes nothing to persevere. But most days are not perfect. I find it amazing that the antonyms for the word “treacherous” listed in the dictionary are: “dedicated, faithful, loyal, steadfast, true.” What a perfectly perfect description of our God!

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SUMMER SMORGASBORD

The summer Bible study session for women starts June 10th! For more information or to register for a study, visit www.mychristchurch.com/adults after May 25th.