Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I'm not a big fan of Rascal Flatts music but coming home a couple nights ago I heard "Stand" and, being one of their first songs, I had forgotten it and the words. But they are really good lyrics (I think they would have been better sung by someone else but who am I) and while they talk of personal strength, I hear a different strength in the words. A strength that I can not find on my own to stand but one that I am given each day a strength from somewhere other than myself. Stand, how do you stand when life "feels like a candle in a hurricane"? Stand. How when it feels "like a novel with the end ripped out"? How exactly to do you stand? Well in the words of the song lyrics "you bend til you break, cause it's all you can take, on your knees you look up, decide you've had enough, you get mad, you get strong, wipe your hands, shake it off, then you stand". IF ONLY!!!! Many of us have had times in our lives where it just seems like the life we were handed is a tragedy written and played out by Shakespeare himself. Written for love and life, with a few bumps in the script, and ending with heartless tragedy. Then how, in all of that play we live can we stand?
While I like this song (and if you haven't heard it look it up), I find that the words find inner strength that, after awhile, we muster up and become strong. And I know that to be true because of my past experiences in 'mustering up', 'getting over it', 'having enough', and getting up and standing. While that worked for the inner me, the one and only me, it didn't work for my life. Because even tho I was standing on the outside, I was falling apart on the inside and eventually, in one way or another, that would come out...usually in a bad way. Over the past 3 years, God has been working on those parts of my life that I have "had enough with" and "buried deep inside" and He alone worked me through many things and is still working thru many things in my life. But, and like many of us, I want to do things on my own, that's what it means to be grown -up, adult....right? Well, that's a very touchy debatable place in many lives...some say yes, others say that you can't do anything alone. In these days and weeks of my recent life, I have had to stand when I didn't want to, be part of a family when running away and hiding seemed more logical, and in the end I have had to stand in the midst of a hurricane without my inner self (because she ran and hid...really she did).
Paul touched on many things in his letters to believers one of those things was being able to stand in faith thru grace. In Romans 5:1-5, Paul says (I don't know who he's talking or writting too by the way) "1..since we have beenjustified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into the grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; 4 perserverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit..." I keep being told that Lee and I are doing well, that its a process to move thru these times of dispare, anguish, heartache, disappointment, anger, and sadness. But when it comes right down to it, in looking at us every day (only from the inside mind you), we are not the ones moving. We would be happy living every moment in our dispare, anguish, heartache, disappointment, anger, and me I know I would, it would be much easier and safer for me personally. But we are being moved, moved in a direction that we can not stop because somewhere in our lives we decided to stand in faith because God placed His grace over our lives. And with that we were given hope to be able to stand thru the sufferings of this life, this Shakespearien tragedy that didn't just end but forced a continuance with our daughters, our son's friends, and others around us. I never knew, and still don't know, what it means to "stand" not really but somewhere in my life the tragedy that is being played out holds hope in the end. A hope that I can not see and a hope that is giving me grace to stand. So I wonder today, because even tho I do not wish anyone this life story tragedy, what tragedy are you living thru? What winds of the hurricane are causing your candle to get blown around? And how do you see your tragedy ending? Does it end like all of Shakespeare's tragedies or does it actually have a next act or paragraph after the tragedy? I can't tell you how to stand thru this time, I can only say that this is a moment and thru faith I have grace on which to stand. What are you standing on?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Faith to Nothing or Nothing to Faith?

We went to church yesterday morning, the first time since Mother's Day and for the first time we honestly didn't have a sense of the Holy Spirit. Odd, especially for me and Lee, it seems as though from the first day we walked into Grace we felt the move of God. Trust me, He moved a miracle in our lives so we have a small idea of what that move feels like. But yesterday, it was unmoving, non-realistic almost. And maybe a large portion of that feel is because we are dealing with disappointment and anger. Those emotions and feelings have and are clouding a lot of our faith, both individual and joint. I hope that we have our faith, I hope that somewhere in the past 4 weeks we haven't lost it in the midst of our trials. But somewhere in the midst of these past weeks, we have found that we are drifting away or building walls. Something that both of us worked on to destroy for many years with God's help and direction. So what do we do with this place tht we are in, the anger that we desperately tried to quelch with no success, the disappointment that we are dwelling in? Nothing.
I don't know about you but to me faith does not come from the world in my (and only my opinion) faith comes from God, through His Holy Spirit, by my trust in Jesus Christ. That's a long list of people to get to me huh? Last spring we took Experiencing God and in one of the sessions we discussed faith and what it meant to us. I think this is the first time that I realized that faith was small in me but that was all I needed. In Matt 17: 20 Jesus was talking (to someone in a parable) and said "Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain "move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." I believe more then ever that I have very little faith. I am struggling to stay focused on God and the more I struggle the more difficult it is. And I feel alienated from God to the point that I don't know how to get through this wall back to Him. But yesterday, during worship, we sang a hymn and somewhere deep in me my spirit jumped. That was the first time I've felt this in a while and, even though I was crying, I could feel Jesus put his arms around me and hold onto me. It was only a second, just a fleeting moment but I could feel Him. I don't know if Lee had that feeling but I know that I did and I remembered Jesus's words above, that I do not have to have a mound of faith to get to Him. That my small amount of faith is enough and He will do the rest.
So while I sit here this morning, crying over words on Facebook, I wonder what faith you do or don't have in you? Do you have faith enough to get thru one small or one large trial? Remember, it's only a mustard seed of faith that is needed, that's all God will do the rest.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Have you ever really looked at a rope that is frayed? Or tried to tie or sew something up with one strand of thread? The strands don't usually withstand the strain of what you are using the rope or thread for. That's why we double over our thread when we sew either by hand or machine, the threads do not stand alone, there are two (and when I sew usually 4 or 5). When we tie something to secure it we find the best rope we can, one that isn't dry rotted or frayed, we want the entire rope to be together in order to hold whatever it is we want to hold.

Our lives are the same way, we, alone, are one strand of thread or one lonely strand of rope barely holding on to whatever it is our life is part of at that time. I'm very much that way, a loner, always have been from a very young age even through my adult life. I would struggle and fight through anything in order not to ask or look for help. I don't know why and I can't speculate I just know that is me, and I have been fighting that me for about 3 yrs now to change. There is many reasons why things happen or don't happen, and I don't guess as to why that is or for what purpose there is to those things. But 18 years ago I met and married Lee and when I met him and we were married, I wasn't thinking about the future or what would or would not happen in our intertwined lives, I was thinking only of myself and the moment of love that I had for him at that time. But God knew something more than me, He knew that I was truly a weak and unsteady person deep down and that Lee was the strength that I needed. Last week, my best friend's daughter ran away and got married, not for any good reason and not for any bad reason she just did. And I have tried to reach out to her and let her know that there are reasons for their marriage that are both good and bad. And I asked her to pray, something that I didn't do when I was first married or for the first 15 yrs of my marriage, for a strong husband who was able to carry a burden when she would not be able to bear it alone. She never responded.
In Ecclesiastes 4 God talks about oppresion, toil, friendlessness and how those thing affect our lives. In 4:12 He says "though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." I believe that God is preparing a hard-hearted, strong minded person to be weakened and alone. Although the verse ends with "three strands" that is not where the cord ends. In my life, I have right now strands of cords that are intertwined in my life from all over the world. They are prayer warriers, friends, family, children, and adults lifting Lee and I up and up and up without our direct knowledge. These strands of cords are what hold us in this time of toil and oppresion without our strands of cords surrounding us we would be that single strand of thread or the frayed rope trying to do something on our own that we could not accomplish and we would break.
I have no reasoning for what my family and our friends are going through, I have no words that can explain it to you but there was a reason for us to be corded together some years ago. It was for this time, this moment, these days both behind and ahead. Alone we are weak and will break, but corded together nothing can overcome us. What strands of cords are in your life that you don't see right now? What strands of cords in your life do you need? Believe it or not, you will need those strands and they start with God. He will, in whatever way He does it, pull strands to your life. Its up to you to interwine them together.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Praise Through the Storm

"I'll praise You in this storm and I will raise my hands. For You are who You are no matter where I am. And every tear I cry, You hold in Your hands. You've never left my side - although my heart is torn. I will praise You in this storm." (Casting Crowns)
I have lived in many places in America from Northern Michigan to Western Oregon, and it seems that no matter where I go, there are storms. When I was little the storms in Wyoming didn't scare me until we had to evacuate our home due to a tornado on the outskirts of Casper. That's when I started to realize that storms were dangerous, that you could lose your home, security, life, and there was nothing that could be done about it. No warning, no preparation, nothing.
I've always had a hard core and outer shell. I could take and go thru anything no matter what I could be strong. I wasn't afraid of the pending storms that may be in the horizion I would buckle down and press thru, albeit on my own accord - something that I have been worked on by God, turning over the problems and storms over to Him. Almost three weeks ago, Lee and I lost our son, Kaleb, to injuries in a car accident along with his best friend, Thad. It feels like parts of my heart are gone and I just don't know where to find it. As soon as we get a good day, it turns to a bad night. The storms are much closer to us then on the horizion, they are in our house. They flare and wither and come and go; running from them is impossible (trust me we've tried).
The song Praise You in this Storm, by Casting Crowns, has been a song I have loved and used for praise foundation for me. The words of this song worked me thru my father's illness and death, my older brother's sever illness and continuing injuries, and last week I turned to it once again. I have been lacking in time with God, except to talk to Him in the bathroom or on the way to work or over the boys' graves. Does that count? I'm not sure but I'm counting it.
I don't know how to praise in a storm like this, and I don't know when to praise in a storm like this, but in James 3:15 - someone says - "is any one of you is in trouble? He should pray, is any one happy? He should sing songs of praise." "In trouble", the storm of life is stirring in our house and lives, its wind is building and trouble is on the horizion. I think I'm in trouble. "He should pray", my time talking to God even tho not in prayer typical form, is my praying. He hears all things, He knows all hurts, and He alone is my comforter."Happy" I am far from happy, far from getting thru this storm that seems to not want to ebb, so how do I see 'happy'. I know without a doubt that our sons are safe, they are closely being held but Jesus, even tho we are in pain - I know they are waiting for us. "Sing songs of praise", the song above is on my cell phone as my ringtone. I did that so everytime someone calls me I would remember that this is just a storm and God is going to provide a way out and I can let Him lead the way (if I just would). I also set this song for Thad's mom to hear when she calls me (which is a lot), we don't talk about our faith right now but I want her to remember that I love her and God loves her too.
I'll praise You in this storm...hard as it may be, I remember everytime that I hear those words that God is taking care of getting us (me) thru the storm. What storm are you going thru? I don't pretend to know or want to know what others are going thru, but I can tell you that anything you are going thru is just a storm and not a life. How you get thru it will depend on how much you allow God to guide you. So what are you doing with your storm?

Monday, May 10, 2010


I don't know how many of you readers have children, or to that fact, girls. I don't know why but girls are much more work then boys, not that they are more deserving or more in need of attention, they are just more work. They are, whether they want to be or not, higher maintenance. They wait for your undivided attention, which means 'put down your stuff and look me in the eyes', where boys can multi-task and work with you while talking - for the most part. Girls seem to hold onto your skirt and boys, after a while, tend to stand in front of you almost protecting. I have two girls, that are mine, and one that has become part of our family. And, I'm not sure why exactly, but my two girls long to be around Lee and I, and that has trickled over to Lizzie, our other girl. When Lizzie first came to our home, she spent most of her time upstairs or down here with Kaleb, but never just downstairs with us. That changed slowly over the past months, and with Kaleb, Jennifer, and Sydney's example, Lizzie has started to become one of our family.
This morning, I was struggling with a word from God, anything that woudl be comforting in this time of grief and fear. What was funny is out of nowhere, and after looking for anything in God's word, Jennifer came downstairs and the word "girls" came to my mind. So I looked up the word at, and while there were a lot of references, one name kept coming to mind - Ruth. I read Ruth several, several months ago, but her name kept coming to mind, so I looked up her name and this jumped out at me : Ruth 1:15 - 17 : "Look" said Naomi "you're sister-in-law is going back to her people to her gods. Go with her." But Ruth replied "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go where you stay I will stay. Your people are my people, your God is my God. Where you die I will die and be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you from me." If you don't know Ruth's story, she was Naomi's daughter in law, and Naomi lost her husband and all of her sons in a matter of a very short time. When Naomi left the home she was in with her husband, she went home to her homeland, and Ruth went with her, took care of her, loved her, worked for her and did not leave her. Naomi did not have any daughters but this daughter in law stepped into the position of Naomi's child, became the one child that Naomi did not bear but nonetheless Ruth stepped into that position.
Lizzie has stepped into very big shoes, Kaleb's shoes. Kaleb was Sydney's at home teacher for this time before EOGs and last night Lizzie took that position. Lizzie has become Jennifer's friend and confident. She has become a child that I did not bear, that we did not raise, that was not a fulltime family member until January 2010. Just like Ruth, Lizzie without saying has become our daughter in more ways than one.
I don't know how many of you have children that are not yours but I can only say that if there are children or a child in your home that was not born of your home take them in like they are yours. Don't allow them to forget or remove themselves completely from their biological parents (unless of course it is completely warranted), but make them part of your life and I'm betting that in the near future you will, in one way or another, hear Ruth's words. These words are also words that God wants us to remember, we should live in His presence and not want to leave Him. In every way, when I was looking for comfort, God gave me something more, He gave me girls, He gave me Him.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seasons of Change

Last year I wrote about Kaleb, our son, and his upcoming baptisim. For many of you, you know that Kaleb and his best friend, Thad (like a second son) passed away from injuries in a car accident they were in on April 24th. I was going back and reading my blogs and found 'changes of light' and relived writing that blog for a little while and then shared that page with family, new and old friends, and some acquaintences on facebook. Lee and I have received 100s of facebook notes and words of encouragement and there is little that we can do to express our appreciation of friends who make statements and commnets on our pages. Cards from people we have never met and emails and requests from those connected to the boys in some way. Our close and dear friends, Thad's parents, are not on facebook, that I am aware, but something in me wishes that they were. I treasure going to Kaleb's facebook page and reading some of the things his friends put on his wall, simple things from "i miss you" to "i love you". And some part of me wishes our friends had that opportunity too.
I can't say much about these two boys that most have not heard or would not think of, except that when you needed to smile they were the first to find something to pick on you or someone close in order to bring a smile to your face. I know that both of our boys were strong believers and knew (now know) Christ personally. Kaleb would tell me little stories about helping people randomly and telling them that it was not him and before he knew Christ he wouldn't have thought about helping. Thad didn't have to say much, his t-shirt said most of it "I love haters". Even tho this was probably a funny to him at first, I think it sung true of Thad's spirit. "I love haters" which they did, it was hard to find any one person that the boys didn't truly like or care for to the point of discontent and to find anyone who felt the same about them.
I have told other friends that I don't know how people who don't know Jesus have survived through the loss of a child, and I still don't know how those people do it. I know one, unsaved, distant family member who went through a similar situation and today, she is still living in her sons death. Not moving forward - not healing. I don't claim to be an expert on healing, more of an expert on avoidance but I can say that if God had not worked a miracle in our lives 2 yrs ago, I would be curled up in a ball in the corner of the closet. This person that is typing is not of herself; I am weak, vulnerable, tired, hurting, afraid and a little lonely; and somewhere in the mix is the Spirit of God. He is urging me forward, He is giving me comfort, He is giving me peace, and He is reminding me daily that my grieving is ok and that He understands.
"though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord holds him up with His hands."