I’ve had this beautiful piece of glass for many years; so many years that I don’t have a memory of buying it. Many of you will recognize it as being a specimen of slag glass.
Production of slagglass originated in late-19th-century England, where glass manufacturers are thought to have added slag from iron-smelting works to molten glass in order to create a range of effects—from tortoiseshell to marbling. Among other uses, slag glass was a popular material for lampshades. This purple and white is one of the more common colors and swirled design.
Slag. Depending on where you’re from, it may be an insult, a term meaning trash. Slag is typically an iron calcium silicate type material, which is liquid in the furnaces and is poured or siphoned off the top of the molten metal. When it cools it forms a solid glassy looking substance and when added to molten glass creates such beautiful pieces as this one of mine.
When I came to Jesus, I was little more than bits and pieces of humanity–as are we all. My mom and dad told me about giving my life to Him and it seemed right to me, and I knew I wanted to do that. So this scrawny straggle-haired child knelt at an altar in a store-front church and surrendered up, and Jesus took me. He accepted my pitiful offering, scooped up the slag of my life, and added His spirit to what I had handed him. I was transformed. That’s why I can look at my life–now exceeding eighty years–and say, “Thank you sweet Jesus. Thank you for vision, for abundance, for a beautiful life.”
I was doing some work on my blog sites today and came across this post from November 4, 2007. Some of you may recall that during this time Jerry and I went to Lake Havasu City, AZ. to plant a church, and from the very beginning God honored us with powerful services and dynamic growth. I consider that out of all the decades of our ministry, the three and a half years we were there were some of the most blessed of all our ministry. Much of our work was done with alcohol and drug challenged people.
I weep at this moment as I think of those dear people and their little children. Hard? It was the hardest church work we ever did. Rewarding? Yes, absolutely the most rewarding of all.
CHRIST ALIVE CHURCH Lake Havasu City, Arizona November 4, 2007
“We had rented 40 extra chairs, and on Saturday, Michael met with Jerry and me to set up for the Sunday morning service. When we started putting the chairs out, though, it looked like so many, that Michael’s faith and mine faltered a bit, and we decided to leave about a dozen of them stacked in the hall.
But we had invited lots of people. I had mailed letters to every person who has ever visited our church, we had made and distributed flyers, we had an article in the local paper, Jerry had made dozens of phone calls and personal contacts and Michael had invited everyone of the “Goatheads,” a yuppy, motorcycle group based here in Lake Havasu. Earlier in the week, one of them had called Mike to ask, “Is it okay if we ride our bikes to church?”
“Of course. Not a problem at all,” he had told them.
Jerry and I arrived at the church around 8:30 and there were already a few people there. But it was around 8:45 that we heard the roar of the bikes and soon the parking lot was inundated with motor cycles, so that finally there was hardly room to park.
They came pouring in, and quickly I told Brandon, “Set up the rest of the chairs.” When we had registered and counted, we found that 85 people were at Christ Alive today! Recall that we have only been here 8 months. We were ecstatic.
Brother Pence of Prescott, AZ. has a most remarkable testimony of a healing from cancer. The doctors had given him two weeks to live. He had 22 tumors in his lungs from a cancer that had metastasized from his kidneys.
He had lost 60 pounds, had made all his funeral arrangements even to picking out his casket…Here, he is showing the packet from the mortuary where he had made the arrangements. But God had different plans and has completely healed him! All the tumors have gone, his racking cough is cured, and recently, his doctors declared him completely cancer free. His testimony is incredible.
Ernie, who is pictured here is suffering from pancreatic cancer, and the doctors have not given him a good prognosis. He came to Christ Alive today believing God for a miracle in his own life.
I was touched by the generous response of the audience, and their involvement with worship that to many of them was unfamiliar. They were extremely receptive to the Word of God as it was preached, and to an invitation to join in our Pentecostal worship. All over the room, both men and women were openly crying.
At the conclusion of the very appropriate sermon, Brother Pence invited everyone to the front who needed special prayer. Ernie was the first to leave his seat and head to the pulpit. Here you see him being prayed over.
Please pray for our work here. These people are precious–some of them know God in a measure–others have a very limited knowledge of Him. Jerry and I are desperate to be able to point them to Jesus, the only Saviour.
So, here we are many years later, retired now, someone else the pastor in Lake Havasu City. Both Jerry and I count it the greatest of joys that God called us to do a work for Him among those very dear people.
As soon as it beeped, I reached for the phone beside me and as I lifted it, I saw the number was an unfamiliar one. A text message read:
This is Dave Estey. The man that was driving the truck. I have read the book and want you to know how sorry I am. This is my contact number if anyone would ever need to speak to me further. With the deepest regret. God bless. Dave
I did not know anyone named Dave Estey, but as soon as I read his message, I knew that indeed, I did know him. He was the driver of the truck that twenty-five years ago had struck my husband as he stood beside a disabled car, leaving him so critically injured that he spent five months in St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, CA.
Some of you will know that several years ago I wrote a book entitled AThousand Pieces in which I told the story of Jerry’s death in the street, the lady who revived him, his almost unbelievably severe injuries, and his remarkable recovery. I also told that the driver of the truck who hit Jerry was driving with a suspended license, had no insurance, no assets, was drunk, and was high on methamphetamines.
A Thousand Pieces has been an inspiration to scores of people, and is now in its fourth printing. Among other places, it is available at Amazon.
So, as I looked at my phone on January 17, 2019, I came to the reckoning that Dave Estey was that driver.
“Jerry,” I called across the room. “Listen to this text I just received.”
The details are too many to include here, but know this: Jerry and I during the past two days have come to know that Dave Estey is a rare man, one of meekness and goodness; of sweetness and of love. He has fought demons most of his life and is a deeply wounded man. But now, in his early fifties, he has come to himself, is analyzing his life, and is making restitution. He is humble, remorseful, and truly repentant. Two days ago, he sat by Jerry in a restaurant, looked him square in the face, and, prefaced by several long sentences, said, “I am sorry.”
And my husband . . .in his sweet, slow way, put his hand atop Dave’s, and said, “I forgave you twenty-five years ago.” The sweet presence of God hovered about us, and we all, I believe, wept.
As I said earlier, the whole story is too long to tell here, but you should know this. Sometime back, Dave began searching for Jerry Buxton, and as he did, he came across this blog, learned through it of A Thousand Pieces, and ordered a copy from Amazon. He then made the contact to which I have referred, and made other contacts, which resulted in our meeting together. He lives 450 miles away from us. Last Tuesday he drove down to our area, and along with his wife, and two of our friends, Patrick and Holly Garrett, Jerry and I met him at the Claim Jumper in San Bernardino.
I have essentially finished writing a book called Dream Shards and was working on some drafting of it when the first text from Dave came. The gist of the new book is that each of us has dreams and at one time or another they all shatter. The issue then is what we do about it? Do we wallow around in the ashes, the shards, or do we pick up the pieces and fashion a new piece? A new dream? The coexistence and interaction of Jerry’s story and Dave’s story must be a part of that book. So even though I was through writing it, I am adding another chapter. Dave and I will be communicating by phone and email and the rest of his story will be told in that book.
In the meantime, I submit to you that Dave Estey is a rare and courageous man, and despite his sordid history, he is a good man. We are still shaken about this meeting, and believe it involves more than can be seen or understood. No doubt it is of the spiritual realm, and is directed by God. Both Jerry and I believe Dave has caught a vision of righteousness and godliness, and we will continue to do all we can to lead him to a full biblical experience with God. Please pray for all of us.
We walked up the hill, the famed one, or should it be called the infamous one?, the hill whose name had whipped by my ears since childhood, and over whose thought I had cried, and I had colored little pictures in Sunday school classes, and cut yellow paper crosses and made scenes with stones and twigs, and jelly beans lay about. Earlier we had passed the sign, and almost by the minute I lifted my camera and snapped the shutter, as though if I weren’t eager enough or ready enough the moment would pass . . . and I would not get it all. . . and I would be left empty.
It is not a hill far away as the hymns of earlier day had told me, so without too much effort, and without trudging very far, I climbed the last little bit, mounted a cement patio area, and when the leader of the group ahead of me was finished, we finally stood to face Golgotha. The skull was there.
Nearby a woman hung laundry on a line. Below tour buses were lined in an orderly way.
And in the garden among ancient olive trees we stood and looked across the Kidron Valley just as Jesus had done, and one day He had wept over the city and said He wanted to take care of the people, wanted to protect them as a mama does her babies, but you don’t seem to want me to do that, He lamented. And soon they ordered Him from their cities, and called Him a devil . . .and He ached for them. And wept.
It is such an ordinary place. It is not heavenly. It is not mystic. And in such an atmosphere Jesus prayed that night in the garden, and blood ran, and His disciples fled.
And when I looked at Golgotha that morning a few weeks ago I thought of my dear friend Johnny Hodges who clinched his ancient watery eyes and threw his head back when he told me that he wept when he first saw the hallowed spot, and he had said to his wife, “Elaine, this is the place. This is where Jesus bought my salvation.” I did not have that response. I looked at the old wall and understood when our guide said that Golgotha is just outside the gates and thus the location would agree with scripture, that this surely is close to the very spot of the crucifixion, but there were lines of tour buses and vendors waiting to press their gadgets into our hot hands and “buy your tickets” and “take a number for your turn” . . .and so I looked, but I did not see.
I have seen before. I see now, though a vast body of water and land separate me from the Holy spot, for I see with my soul and with my spirit. Carved into my being that day was a fresh understanding that Jesus endured the garden and the cross and the scourging and the thorny crown in all its ugliness and it was such an ordinary day, ordinary lives, dust on the roads, thirst in parched throats. It was not glorious. No tensil, nor flicker lights, nor cute nativity sets, nor glittering pendants about one’s neck. And yet . . . in the garden angels tended that Holy Man, a cloak of black snuffed out the brilliant sky, that thick curtain in the temple ripped in half, and beneath it all the earth wrenched and cracked in agony.
And then we gathered and Brother Walls served us, and I kept my cup and Jerry’s.
We sang great hymns of the church. We sang of the blood, the running great stream of blood.
And with my family and friends, I cried . . . and remembered . . . and felt.
We saw tombs and entered them and studied their style.
And at the tomb on that Easter morning as women went to minister to the body of their friend, they “found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed there about, behold two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen . . .”
During the morning as I contemplated that this is the day that will contain the ending moments of the year 2013, and as I thought of my considerable blessings during said year, indeed, throughout my entire life, my mind nuzzled down and settled on Sage.
Sage is eleven years old and is the daughter of Chris and Christina, which makes her my great-granddaughter. She is a changeling. Yesterday she climbed into this tree with her brother and boy cousins, and she grinned down at me as she held Winston, and as I snapped her picture. At other moments, though, it is evident that she will soon leave rank childhood behind, and in its place will embrace the lady-hood that is nipping at the hem of her skirt.
I stood in a large group gathered at the altar Sunday night, and in a few minutes I sensed that Sage had moved from her parents who also worshipped at the front of the church, and now sidled close to me. She wept. I laid one of my hands on her back, then she raised her own arms in worship, and I saw that she was crying. It was a precious moment as we stood together enveloped in the presence of God on the last Sunday of the year 2013.
Later I was reminded that Sage’s great, great, great grandmother, Mary Birchett, was also a recipient of the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, and that such a remarkable link, such a treasure of heritage has been passed not only to Sage, but to all my other great grandchildren. Have there been failures in our family? Of course. Is there shame in our family? Of course. But overriding this negative reality is the sure Word of God and His sure Spirit that has been protected and treasured by many in our family.
With joy I write this year-end missive, with joy I speak of God’s Spirit, and with joy do I celebrate my remarkable heritage.
Part of the amazement is of me–my body, mind, memory, emotions. That I came fully formed from the simple love of my mother and father, and that now I too am a mother–of four magnificent beings who have beautiful bodies, minds, and spirits truly amazes me.
Outside my windows tonight the wind blows, and though even on sunny days I cannot see the wind, I know it is there, for it lifts tree branches and puts them down again as easily as I flag a silky scarf through the air, and it tears around the corners of our tall house and howls. I hear the wind. It’s raining too, soft rain. They had said there was only a 20 percent chance of rain, but we are of the 20 of the hundred tonight, the lucky ones. I imagined I heard rain against a bedroom window a while ago, so I peered out and saw that the driveway was wet and that the bushes that are illuminated by the yard light were shiny and drippy. “It’s raining, Jerry,” I said. It has been clear though. Just a few nights ago, the moon was so bright through our high uncurtained windows, I believe I could have read a book page at midnight. This early morning as we drank coffee I looked through the ascending branches of a wide oak tree just beyond our front deck, and there in the branch tops I saw the moon. It was not fat as before, but a fragment of itself.
It takes faith to believe in God and I have that faith. If I did not, logic would nevertheless pull me into the believer’s corner, for it is much more sane to believe that a Creator is responsible for the glory and wonder of the earth and for the beauty of our bodies and minds, than to think all this came from nothing and from no one.
Near our front entrance stairs is a large stone planter which in summer is a riot of flowers–annuals which I change out each year. In the late fall, I pulled out the remaining dried-up fragments and planted bulbs in there. I don’t remember what kind of bulbs I planted, for within a short span, Jerry and I planted 200 bulbs. But in a loose-leaf binder in the potting shed, I have a list of everything we planted, so I will find out what is to grow there. The potting shed is really not a shed at all, but is actually a basement room with an exterior wall of glass and door. I call it a potting shed because it has pots in it, rakes, planting mix, the wheelbarrow, shovels, and such. But, back to the stone planter. 🙂 We’ve had record-breaking cold here in the San Bernardino Mountains this winter, but mixed up with days of very warm weather . . . so we have flowers blooming, even though it is projected that in a couple of days we can expect a storm to dump several inches of snow on us.
. . . the stone planter. Around Thanksgiving I piled on top of the dirt in the planter a mound of huge pine cones, and during the days of Christmas, I tied one of them up with a wide red bow. A few days ago when I noticed a sweep of blooming yellow daffodils, I got to thinking about the bulbs in the planter. I moved aside the heavy cones, and there poking up from the earth were determined, green shoots.
If there is anything that reinforces my belief in God, it is a flower bulb. They’re brown, wrinkled up, and papery when you dig a hole in the fall and stick them into the ground. Down inside those little morsels, though, is magic. Surprise. Determination. Plan. They know to push up when it’s time, They know to be a yellow daffodil or a pink tulip, or a lily, and though I’ll have to check my notebook to know, they already know who they are, and what they are to do. God made them that way.
It takes faith to believe in God. I have that faith and lots of evidence. Pieces of wonder.
The year was 1956, and I was chosen from the office staff to do some work in the Osborn living quarters which were upstairs over the office area. I recall the excitement of being with them and talking about their experiences. Rev. Osborn traveled extensively and held large missionary campaigns around the world. Within their living area were numerous artifacts they had collected and had tastefully displayed.