Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Coming to America . . ."

Hebrews 11:15
If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

In the 19th Century, millions of immigrants pour into the United States. My great-grandmother on my mother's side is one of them.

Elizabeth McLaughlin is born in Ireland. Her parents are survivors of the horrendous Potato Famine of 1845. They, like most of their countrymen whose lands and titles were confiscated by the British, are poor.

When she is aged seven, the Lady of the Manor spies her in the local village with her mother. She is enchanted by Elizabeth's lustrous auburn hair, luminescent green eyes, winning smile.

She has no daughter of her own . . .

Elizabeth's mother is startled one day to see this royal and elegantly dressed woman standing in the doorway of her humble cottage.

The Lady wastes no time divulging the reason for her visit. She wants Elizabeth as her own. She promises to raise her in luxury. Provide her with an education. Give her all the finer things in life.

She offers a hefty sum.

More than Elizabeth's mother could hope to see in seven lifetimes.

Arrangements are made. The Lady will return in a week to claim her girl.

But, when the day arrives, Elizabeth's mother cannot go through with it. She loves her precious girl too much to let her go. No amount of money can compensate for the loss of her own flesh and blood.

So, I wonder how my great-great grandmother felt when her daughter, at the tender age of sixteen, boards a steamship for America. The land of opportunity. Of freedom . . .

Where a stubborn, savvy, strong-willed Irish girl, used to hard work, can make something for herself.

She does just that; a story for another time.

And, never returns to Irish shores . . .
When Jesus calls us into freedom with Him, there is no looking back. No going back.

Our past is in the past. Our future is in Him.

Now, and for eternity . . .
As you journey with Jesus, are you running to meet Him, or are you looking over your shoulder?

Will you pray with me?
May we always trust, Father, in the journey You have set before us. Do not let us dwell on where we were or who we were before Jesus entered our lives. Let us ever walk in the light of His freedom. Amen.

Psalms 61, 62 or 68:1-20 (21-23) 24-36
Genesis 21:1-21
Hebrews 11:13-22
John 6:41-51


  1. Well I didn't know that story. My grandparents also came here from Italy in the early 1900's and worked as tailors.

  2. It is all about letting go of the past and starting new...but, do we ever forget our roots?

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janu!
      I don't think we ever forget our roots. However, I have so few stories from generations past about the "old world", I think these folks spent most of their days looking forward and striving to make it in a new country and new environment.
      Blessings to you!

  3. Its never possible to completely let go of our roots...but we need to let go of our past,and move on in life."When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
    Whereas our journey with God is related,I feel its not possible to move on without Him.It’s hard to move forward when you don’t know where you’re headed or why. God’s plan gives us the answers to life’s most basic questions like, “Where did I come from?” “What’s my purpose here?” And, “What happens when I die?” Knowing the answers gives us hope and helps us find peace and joy.One thing that makes this life so hard sometimes is that we’re out of God’s physical presence. Not only that, but we can’t remember our pre-earth life which means we have to operate by faith rather than sight. God didn’t say it would be easy, but He promised His spirit would be there when we needed Him. Even though it feels like it sometimes, we’re not alone in our journey.

    1. Hi, Alpana, thanks for dropping by today and for leaving another thoughtful and beautifully written comment.
      I do believe that those immigrants who had the courage and determination to start fresh in a new country had exactly what you have written about here - an unwavering faith in God to guide them, lead them, protect them. Without Him in their lives, I don't know that any would have ever taken such a risk.
      They, of all people, knew it wouldn't be easy, but it would, indeed, be worth it. It certainly was for my great-grandmother!
      Blessings to you!

  4. I love it when you said there's no looking back (Mt. 8,22, "Let the dead bury the dead"). Forward is where we go and the past is in God's hands. While reflecting on this I thought of the freedom God offers to each one of us. This is deeply related to your post on Trust. It's truly admirable that your great grandmother accepted that adventure of a lifetime. I also admire those with Irish roots ~ they have a very rich spirituality :)

    I pray with you today. May God continue to open our hearts to Him ~ so that we may learn to give Him everything ~ our past, present and future. All in God's hands.

    1. Such thoughtful comments here, Melissa!
      Yes, the spirituality of the Irish runs extremely deep. When Europe was entering its Dark Ages after the fall of Rome, much of Christianity and holy writings were preserved by Irish monks. Celtic Christianity sees God's hand continually at work in all the world around us. Such a healthy and humble way to view life!
      And, yes, so glad you pray with me . . . so many need to realize that all our lives, past, present, future, are in His most capable and loving hands.
      Thank you, dear, for stopping by!
      Blessings to you!

  5. I loved reading this Martha! The explorer in me want to know more. I am very curious to know what happened to her! You are so right. When Jesus carries us we never have to look back! That is such a wonderful thought!

    1. Hi, Nelieta, thanks for stopping by!
      So glad to know this tweaked your explorer side. Actually, she started as a cook for a rich family, saved every penny she could, and ended up buying with a co-investor an inn on Nantucket Island which she ran successfully. It blows my mind to think she did so at a time when women were supposed to "stay at home". :)
      And, yes, when Jesus is carrying us, we can always boldly go forward.
      Blessings to you!

  6. His rod and staff guide me...Not that I can always go ahead, but he gently hits me with the rod and when I still falter he hits me soudly, but I love him for his every whack for his eye on me is the strength in my weakness

    1. Hi, Jerly, and thanks so much for coming by!
      Yes, He certainly IS the strength in our weakness and we do need His guidance every day. Interesting mention, here, of the "rod and the staff". I wrote a blog just the other day on discipline which will publish this Friday. It's like you anticipated it! :)
      Blessings to you!



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