By faith, elaine…

By faith, elaine…

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3).

By faith…

Faith Elaine that is.

Forty-three years ago today. Easter morning. Father standing behind a pulpit preaching about life issuing forth from the tomb. Mother lying in a delivery room earning bragging rights about life issuing forth from her womb. Both having something to say in the matter. Both cradling the blossoms of Spring—a Savior and a longed-for baby.

By faith, both blossoms were received into the lives of two parents who longed for their arrival. One into their hearts; the other into their arms. It was a good day for Chuck and Jane for so many reasons. It was a good beginning for Faith Elaine for so many more.

In both the literal and in the spiritual sense, the cross of Jesus Christ has shadowed my steps for the past forty-three years. Regardless of my wanderings to the contrary, the empty tomb has been my haunting—my known truth and my accepted understanding all the days of my life. There has never been a time when I believed otherwise. Jesus has always been real to me.

My journey with God is a “by faith” kind of thing. A deeply rooted belief in something grander, someone Greater who keeps the ebb and flow of my days in check. Who simply says and IS, and therefore, is worthy of my believing.

There have been moments of clarity along the way. The well-worn paths to the altar of my surrender are stained with tears of deeply rooted repentance and understanding. Times when I have strengthened my faith with a more intentional and willing trust in a God who longs to consecrate my life toward holiness. But from the very beginning, my life has been filled a knowing perception of God.

I’m thankful for that. It’s been a gift that has spared me untold heartaches … of that I am sure. And while I’ve had some questions along the way, never have the answers (some obvious, some still awaiting their voice) swayed me in my belief of an unseen, yet profoundly “felt” God.

God and me … well, we just go together.

And lest you think it is pride thing—that somehow I think I hold the market on what it means to walk a life in complete faith and holiness—then you don’t really know me at all. For if you did, you would understand that it is only by God’s grace, only by this “going together” seemingly from my beginnings, that I’ve made it to my 43rd birthday with any “absolutes” in my bag. If God hadn’t presented Himself to me early on in my life, I’m confident that I wouldn’t be presenting Him to you as the Savior and Keeper of my soul. Why?

Because I love this world too much. I am easily enticed by its trappings. It invites me, tangles me, and has the propensity to hold me to the contrary of everything sacred. I know that we are all prone to our struggles along these lines, but, perhaps, there are those of us who struggle with it more profoundly. I am one such struggler. Accordingly, I’ve needed the grounding of my Easter morning birth.

To walk my life in the shadows of a splintered cross and an empty tomb has been to walk in Truth. It is the way of sacred pilgrimage. It has been my way, much as it has been the way of the ancients of old. The “by faith’s” of Hebrews 11—the Hall of Faith as it pertains to biblical history.

We don’t see ourselves there. Instead, we focus our attention on the names and the corresponding “stories” that are attached to those names: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, the Israelites, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, the martyrs. Indeed, a list of worthy journeys … all marked by faith.

But if we stay mired in their stories, if for some reason we think that their journeys hold the market on faith and that ours could never follow suit, then we’ve missed an important part of Hebrews 11. Before any mention of the well-knowns from our spiritual history, we are there … listed as part of the faithful entourage.

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:3).

Did you catch it?

“By faith WE… .”

You and me, listed amongst the heroes of our ancestral faith. Why? Because we believe that our world was created by an unseen God, and that his saying so—his speaking it all into being—is more than enough to solidify our limited understanding into a rock solid faith that is worthy of a mention alongside the ancients of yesterday.

I’ve spent most of my forty-three years living by my middle name… Elaine. I’m good with that, at least in the temporal. But in the spiritual … in the way that my Father sees me on a daily basis? Well, I want to be known by my first name. I want my life to be rooted in a by Faith kind of understanding.

By faith …

Elaine lived, Elaine died, and Elaine rose again to see the fruition of her first name made sight and the fullness of her hope made certain.

It won’t be long in coming, friends. Maybe in this new year of life that I’ve been given. If not, then in a season to come. It matters not to me the day nor the hour. What matters to me is my confidence in its arrival. And by faith, I am believing God to be the sure and final outcome of my intentional and current trust.

I began my earthly life within the confines of a resurrection remembrance—an Easter Sunday morning forty-three years ago this day. I will begin my heavenly life with the same. With a resurrection of a new body in a new place where everyday lives like Easter.

By Faith, Elaine is going to get there. By faith, I pray you’ll get there too.

I love you precious friends. Thank you for sharing this pilgrimage with me. Take some time this weekend to find your name written within God’s Hall of Faith. If you know Jesus as your Savior, then you are there, verse three (write it down). By faith,believe it and receive with all the certainty of an Easter morning’s resurrection. I love you each one. As always,

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PS: Many thanks to my Tuesday night Bible study girls for remembering me! You women have been so faithful to study and to live your God. Keep to it! (note the inscription on the cake…aren’t they awesome?!)

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41 Responses to By faith, elaine…

  1. Elaine, let me be your first blogging buddy to wish you a very happy birthday and a wondrous Easter weekend. What a heritage — an Easter birthday! Celebrate big!!

    Blessings my friend,
    Cheryl

  2. Well Happy Birthday “little sister”! lol! (I am 44)

    Little lambs. That is what I think of in the spring. If you have ever watched them frolic on a hillside, you remember how delightful they are.

    I enjoyed chatting at the confrence today, bet you didn’t know who I was (I registered as Kathleen instead of Kathy…) Had alot of laughs with Sheila’s topic. Learned “rofl”

  3. Happy Birthday, Elaine! I hope you have an awesome day in the Lord!

    It is so amazing to think of how God weaves our lives together. Your being born on Easter was ordained by Him. That’s glorious!

    What an inspiration you are! Yes, I want to live by that faith in the Son of the living God. It’s the only way that will take us home.

    God bless you today and always. I hope you have a wonderful Easter Sunday.

    In Christ’s Love,

    Andrea

  4. Elaine, I pray you have the happiest of birthdays!

    I saw you at the conference today chatting away! I was working while listening so I didn’t jump into the conversation but it was an awesome time this week. Wasn’t it?

    Your words speak the life our risen Lord has made possible for us. And may I, by faith, do this thing for His glory.

    With every breath. Right up until my last.

  5. I wish for you many more years of this faith-filled journey – Happy Birthday, dear bloggy friend!

    I am grateful that our sacred pilgrmages have intersected in this mysterious place of cyber-dom and I hope one day we can meet in person but I know there will come a day we will rejoice together in the presence of our King!

    Blessings to you on this special day!
    Denise

  6. A Happy and BLESSED birthday to you my friend! God’s grown you into your name and your birthday season to such a degree that they are the very definition of you. Blessed by His name!

    I’m hugging you through the screen and praying that our Jesus pours Himself in and through you this year in ways you’ve never dreamed.

    Melinda

  7. Elaine – this was just absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing this. It was so heartfelt and full of truth.

    Happy Happy Birthday sweet friend!

    Beth

  8. How wonderful! Happy Birthday, dear Elaine!

    Who could have known on that fateful day 43 years ago that “faith” would become sight in such a powerful way?

    Who could have known that the pulpit that spoke of God’s summons from the tomb could be connected somehow to God’s summons from the womb?

    He (both your fathers) had plans for you then … He has plans for you NOW. And we all get blessed because of it.

    Kathleen

  9. Elaine…I come to you empty this morning…wishing I had some grand gift to give you…something for you to unwrap that would show all my love for you and the very dear friend you have become to me over this past year. And so, I pray that the Lord will give you all that I cannot. I pray He will continue to strengthen your faith. I pray He will open doors to your dreams. I pray He will fullfil every desire of your heart. I pray He will draw you closer to His. I pray He will use you in ways your mind can’t conceive. I pray He will bless your life daily with His known presence. I pray He will guard your mind and fill it with His precious Word. I pray you will know and experience Him in new ways. I pray His character will continue to be manifest in your life. I pray He will continually, tenderly mold you into the wife, mother, daughter, friend of His choosing. I pray He will make you sensitive to His Spirit and obedient in all His ways. I pray He alone will continue to hold your pen and direct your thoughts. I pray He will do exceedingly more than you can ask or imagine. I pray your love for Him will increase and that every day you will know His peace for your journey.

    Blessed to call you friend.
    Love, hugs, and prayers,
    Joy

  10. Happy Birthday, sweet friend. An Easter birth…how beautifully significant for one whose life speaks so beautifully of her Creator. I pray for you God’s sweetest joys and blessings for the coming year. May He grant you the greatest desires of your heart as you continue to delight in Him. Grateful for the privilege of calling you friend, on this day and all the year through…

    Love,
    Tracy

  11. happy birthday, Elaine!!!! Wish I could sing to you right now!!!! This was a beautiful post, beautiful, precious Easter baby!

    YOu know, I LOVED seeing your “chat” at the conference yesterday. As if I didn’t like your personality a ton before, NOW even more so. YOU are the real thing, girl.

    Much love,
    lalee

  12. Blessed be the Name of our LORD!!!

    Happy Birthday dear sister. What a beautiful story continually unfolding as you live in Christ.

    Enjoy this special day in CHRIST. Special because of HIM and what He’s done for us and special because our Abba Father decided that this would be the day your parents would bring you forth in HIM.

    Beautiful!

    Peace for your journey always,
    Lisa

  13. Happy Birthday once again:)) May this be an amazing year for you in all areas and especially in your ministry of writing.

  14. Birthday blessings to you! What a beautiful story and testimony. Hebrews 11:1 is probably one of my favorite verses in the bible. I am always given a sense of peace when I read your post. Thank you so much for sharing so openly from your heart.

  15. Happy Birthday, Faith Elaine! I am praising God for you. I am so grateful to Him for bringing us together via blogging. (Now, we must work on meeting one another in person!)

    This part of your post really spoke to me:

    Because I love this world too much. I am easily enticed by its trappings. It invites me, tangles me, and has the propensity to hold me to the contrary of everything sacred. I know that we are all prone to our struggles along these lines, but, perhaps, there are those of us who struggle with it more profoundly. I am one such struggler.

    I deal with those profound struggles as well. I’m not giving up or giving in, though. Someone very near and dear to me has taught me I must keep to it…and so I shall.

    Praying you will enjoy a wonderful birthday, a blessed Easter, and the best year EVER.

    Love you…

  16. Love, love, love your photos! I can smell the Easter candy and the saltines from the church nursery circa 1966…

    Hope your Birthday is absolutely completely fabulous! 🙂

  17. Happy Birthday!!!

    I truly am blessed by the happenings of 43 years ago today!

    With out that, I wouldn’t have a friend that challenges me deeply, that loves me from afar, and pray that perhaps on this side of heaven, YOU AND I will share much love and hugs.

    Anticipating Resurrection Sunday with a more profound love and joy this season.

    Yolanda

  18. Happy b-day sweet elaine! You can see your sweet adult face in that precious toddler body!

    Happy Easter.

  19. Happy Birthday, Elaine!

    This is such a birthday and honest post. I love the verse you shared… ‘by faith’… oh, what promise there is when we walk in faith!

    Many blessings to you and your family on this Easter weekend!

  20. Happy Birthday Elaine! What a special day! I pray the Lord blesses you with many more! How cool is it that your birthday is on this weekend!

    Blessings to you on your birthday and this Easter weekend!

    ~Kennisha

  21. Happy birthday, dear Elaine. What a wonderful, moving post. And yes, what a legacy. (and I’m only a year and a half behind ya)

  22. I’m wordless. This was simply beautiful. I see FAITH in Elaine.

    Happy 43rd Birthday, my friend.
    Wish I could hug your neck today!

    Love,
    Tiffany

  23. Happy Birthday Elaine!

    What a Blessing and a testimony of our Lord Jesus to give you that special day as your own! Wow! No wonder He has used you in such a profound way! You bless my heart each time I come here.

    Profound thoughts to ponder from His Word each time I come by!

    I thank God for you, Sister! Oh, to be that young again, [sigh]!!

    Looking UPward and Choosing JOY,
    Stephanie
    [In Flight]

  24. Happy Birthday Elaine!! Oh my what a “youngster” you are! I’m 12 years your senior!! Your first name, Faith, just suits you!

    May our risen Lord give you much Peace for the Rest of Your Journey!

    Love both the pictures of you…then and now! You’re precious!

    Marilyn

  25. Happy Birthday, Elaine! So, glad to be able to admit our ages without hesitation… and we truly are one year closer to being with our Lord!

    Thanks for sharing the FAITH!

  26. Elaine,

    Sorry I was not at bible study to help celebrate your special day, but I was there in spirit. So much to get done so little time, but had to get it done before the outer banks trip. We are all blessed that our good Lord saw to give Chuck and Jane a precious gift that Easter day. Blessings to you my friend this birthday and each one to follow.

  27. Happy Birthday Elaine!
    What a wonderful day to celebrate on. May you have a blessed Easter and Birthday!
    With much love,

  28. Elaine, how beautifully and poignantly expressed. And, how perfectly wondrous!

    Wishing you the richest and most meaningful of birthdays and the most glorious and joyous of Resurrection SONdays!

    PS-I now know of another commonality we share: we’re both journeying through our 43rd year. May it be peace-filled for both of us! 🙂

  29. Happy Birthday Elaine! You are a blessing to me.

    I wish you a blessed and joyous Easter.

    He is risen!

  30. Happy Easter Birthday, Elaine! :)What a beautiful cake, and how sweet of your friends to bless you. Wish I could have a bite of it with you! LOL

  31. Oh Elaine, isn’t that perfect to have your birthday on this Easter Sunday. Thank you for sharing some of your memories and reminders that we can be included along with our heroes from Hebrews 11. Oh how I love Hebrews!!!

    I wandered over to your blog today because I wanted to wish you a happy Easter but how fun to discover it’s also your birthday. Happy Birthday Elaine! I’m so glad to know you through your blog.

  32. Oh Elaine-I am so sorry I missed your birthday. Happy belated birthday!! I stopped doing those 5 years ago when I turned 40…that was my mothers age! When did I get that old?!?!?!?

    you are loved!!

    In His Graces~Pamela

  33. Birthday and Easter, what a weekend. You look beautiful as does your family. Now Go Ahead, relax and enjoy.