Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Glass of Wine, A Hot Bath, And....

I've spent many, many nights in the bathtub basically hiding out. I have always like to read books and I usually spend reading nights in a hot bathtub with a glass of wine and sometimes the occasional beer and read my way into a different world, time, era, place. I have spent many, many a night in a hot bath crying and complaining, trying to figure out who to talk to about my heart, and hiding from those around me. I have read books from murder mysteries to fantasy wildness, to trying to find a book that the author could tell me, relate to me, bring to me the exact words that describe what I am feeling and who I am becoming, with very little luck by the way. Then in September sometime, my daughter bought The Shack, and in October/November (I think), I took up reading again in my hot bath, and this is the book where I started. It was what I desired; a book that the author, wrote about an encounter post a tragic event in the main characters life. The description, details, and emotions that poured from the author's hand to the page expressed and delivered something that I related to immediately. He brought to life a picture of what I needed, wanted, longed for in the future, and it brought something that I had been looking for.. no not answers. I finished The Shack, not as quickly as my daughter wanted. Then hovered around trying to find something else, something that would bring more detail and life to the place that I am living in, once again without luck.
After a couple months and searching and giving up on more to read, I was watching something and there was an author talking about a book she had finished, Choosing to SEE. I couldn't buy the book fast enough, which was much harder than you would think and finally found it at a poodunct Walmart, the last one on the shelf. I knew the story or at least part of the story from TV and news media but I only knew a little bit of the story. I bought this book writen by Mary Beth Chapman and I knew some of the story of the Chapman family. I knew that their daughter, age 5, was struck by a car in their driveway, a car being driven by their 17 yr old son, and I knew that their daughter was lost shortly after being admitted to the hospital. That's what I knew, that's really all I knew, what I found out was the whole story. This mother of a family of 6 children and wife of a well known Christian singer, Steven Curtis Chapman, wrote about their life starting with their daughter, about the life that they lost, and about the way she felt then, during, and now. So, I am plagerizing today. I am taking parts and pieces of this mother's words that I relate to, the moments in time that she is in and going through, so I plagerize.

"When people as how we are doing, the first thing I always say is 'I want Maria back. I want my son Will Franklin not to have this as a chapter in his story. I want my childrent to be healthy, my family secure. I don't really care whose life has been touched or changed because of our loss!' That is the heart of a mother who lost a daughter and is determined not to lose another child."
I wish I could be this open, this true to people when they ask me how I am I could tell them exactly the way I feel, exactly like these words.
"The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise." Jerry Sittser - quote picked by Mary Beth Chapman at the beginning of a chapter.
I don't like this statement, altho over the past 10 months I believe it to be true, even tho I avoid the fact that I am running ever so desperately further into the darkness by chasing the sunrise to the west. Why? Because I can see a little bit of light left and am comfortable seeing that glimmer of setting sunlight to stay out of the dark chasing me from behind.
"Maria, I'm sad. Brokenhearted and wounded. You are momentarily gone from me, taken without notice, way too soon for my liking. Mommy has been so sad. I know you wouldn't want me to be but I long for the way things were and wonder why they have to be the way they are."
I say these words to Kaleb and Thad probably daily and I say them under my breath, alone at home or in the car going somewhere, sitting at the cemetary between them, and this is not to my liking.
"..this grief I can't express is deeply personal and isolating. I makes me very sad. Sometimes I can't breathe it hurts so bad. Everybody has loved on me, but the tears still come."
"Sometimes it is 10 steps forward and 5 steps back, and sometimes it is one stip forward and twenty steps back, but I'm moving..."
"Maria's birthday. I honestly don't know what to write or what to say. I can think of all the "right things to say, like, "I'm thankful for the years I had with Maria." That is a true statement, but I still want more years with her. I've heard thinks like, "She wasn't mine to begin with." That is a true statement as well. She belongs to God. He gave her to me so that I could be her mommy. But I still want to be her mommy...I wasn't prepared to give her back to the One who gave her to me."
I can say with all my heart these are thoughts, feelings, and yes words that I have felt and/or heard. And this mother, Mary Beth, gave those moments words, something that has been a relief to me because I have no way to say these things yet and I didn't know how to make them come out in a clear thought.
"Here is what I feel as this day starts out. Sad beyond sad that she isn't here. Angry and mad that this had to happen. Confused and bewildered that it had to involve Maria's big brother, who absolutely adored her. Paralyzing fear that I won't be able to pull through the pain and be able to completely let her go. Speechless to know how to grieve my baby girl... "
I read this last night and marked it, why? This was written on My 21, 2009, the 1 yr date of Maria's passing and in complete fear of reaching this date in my life, I look to these words to find out what to expect. Not that this life is the same as the Chapman's life, but someone who is giving words to what she is feeling, where she was at and what she was seeing. I feel speechless beyond words most days, and with this date coming without warning, in my opinion, this date is coming without warning, I find myself trying to make the days longer.
"I told someone yesterday that I feel as though I'm not just walking through a desert right now...I'm wandering in it with no clear path in front of me. It is a very desperate place to be, and on lots of days I'm strong on the outside but a mess on the inside."
I've actually wrote about this type of feeling, being in a desert, alone and not seeing a path of where to go next, this statement speaks more than mounds - it speaks the truth of the place where I see myself walking.
"God is either a truth of a lie. Everything He has said and promised is either 100 percent true, or it is lie after lie after lie."
There's more to this beginning of the paragraph, but these few statements say everything that means anything. It is not a middle ground (altho that would be where I'd like God to be), He is either one or the other. Somedays He is 100% truth and other days, on the bad bad days, He seems to me 100% lies. What I have been through lately is deciphering what 'man' says God says, that's actually how 'we' believe we are led by 'man'. What I am learning, and I hope it is God showing me and not just me, is that God is 100% truth even tho I don't like it (which I don't) and somewhere I'm going to not just know this I'm going to believe it.
"Lord, I trust my unbelief. That is where I am, slowly, slowly wallowing through this complex journey God has set before us.."
I have this unbelief, I guess it goes back to the statement above; my hope is that I am not the one directly my steps and God is getting me through my unbelief, even if it is ever so slowly.

I don't have permission to share these quotes that why I stated I was plagerizing at the beginning. I am glad, even through tears in the bathtub, that I bought this book even though in essence I thought I knew the story. I'm hopeful that this desert will end up showing a path and that knowing God is 100% truth will become more than a knowledge but a real truth again. I am desperate to know that someday, at some time later in this journey, my unbelief will be undone. I have thought about thanking Mary Beth for sharing this heartbreaking journey, I haven't but I've thought about it. I hope that she knows that her words have said things that my heart feels and her hope 2 years later is helping me, even though I'd like to deny it. So thank you Mary Beth Chapman for bringing life to heartbreak, life to feeling and words to express the heartbreak that a mother feels. Thank you for letting me know that my unbelief is ok and someday its going to fade and be replaced and God knows when that will happen and He's here with me and my family. Thank you for bringing truth to sadness and grief and that even tho I will never get over this I will get through it.

A glass of wine, a hot bath and life, that's where I'm at, where I can hide, where I'm learning about this journey.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Northern White Rhino

This is Sudan, a 38 yr old Northern White Rhino, at home in his home in the Czech Republic. Sudan was captured at age 3 in Kenya and sold to the zoo. He has lived in this indoor 30x30 cage in the winter due to the extreme cold of the Czech Republic and then alone in a concrete surrounding outside when the summer weather permitted. In 2009, the same 2 men who worked so hard 35 yrs earlier to trap and sell Sudan worked to have Sudan and 3 other Northern White Rhinos at the Czech zoo released back to Kenya at the Ol Peteja Conservancy. These 4 rhinos (3 of which were born in captivity) make up 1/2 of the Northern White Rhino population (the other 5 are in a conservancy in N. Africa); Sudan is the only living wild bred White Rhino living. The move from the Czech Republic to the Ol Peteja Conservancy 4hrs north of Narobi would prove to be long but beautiful. The zoo and the conservancy began working together - thru the 2 men who once trapped and sold to zoos - to make begin the hopful repopulation of the rhino in its native land. Ol Peteja is a 90,000 conservancy in Kenya that is surrounded on its perimiter by 6 foot high tension electrical fencing and is patrolled on the outer edges by highly armed guards who watch the borders and perimeter for poachers - their only job to shot on sight. Ol Peteja home to a growing population of the black rhino and Southern White Rhinos as well as all other types of released zoo animals in an attempt to repopulate the wild endangered Africa. The move of the rhinos was more than complicated they would be boxed, literally boxed, individually, and shipped by plane to Kenya. The zoo and conservancy worked with a woman - Berry White- commonly known to zoos as the rhino whisperer, spent many months with the rhinos to teach them to be still and load in the dark boxes and to keep the 3 ton animals from getting upset. Her only job to keep the rhinos at peace throughout the trip. It would be 30 hrs of traveling to make it home for Sudan, home to a land he had not set foot on in 35 years. Ol Peteja worked day and night to get the rhinos' temporary homes ready and suceeded just a few hours before their arrival. After unloading the much younger 2 females and 1 male, all of which immediately and without hesitation entered Kenya before Sudan, the group moved to release Sudan. After placing the crate carefully on the ground and removed the door. For the first time in 35 yrs Sudan was about to set foot on his home land. The picture here in the wooden enclosure is deceiving. Sudan took many minutes looking and smelling the air and the ground before he ever stepped out of the crate. And then took a few minutes of sniffing the ground and he quickly moved toward the small area of grazing grass provided for him. Without the hesitation of his traveling companions, Sudan immediately he was welcomed home.

I saw this story on "Last Chance to Survive" a BBC show that tells about endangered species and their journey to survival. When I saw this I was just filled with hope for the rhinos being placed back in their home, especially Sudan. What I didn't expect was that this story would relate to my life. It took a couple days, and I have no reason for why this story kept in my head, constantly restoring itself to me and after of these moments, I looked up something, I looked up a couple of words and found something I didn't expect: John 14:18 "..I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you." and then 2Peter 3:13 "...keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new earth and new heaven, the home for the righteous." This is how Sudan's story affected me.
Over 19 yrs ago Lee and I were blessed with a son, 19 yrs and 1 day ago two friends of ours were blessed with a son. These two sons, born a country apart, became friends. They lived in this world - in this human zoo - for 18 yrs, and in April 2010, they went together on a trip, a trip home. As I watched the BBC special and saw Sudan look out of his dark crate at the warm Kenya land and I watched Sudan hesitate and then walk out of the dark crate and onto the warm ground and the land he knew as home, I thought of our sons. I thought of how they were not really home. And when they were presented home last April did they hesitate before coming out of the dark and into their warm homeland? Did they look at the brightly lite area and wonder if this was real, if they were really on the edge of walking into their home? Or did they just step out? I don't know what happend last Spring, I don't know how long it took for these two friends to step into the warm home that they had been away from for 18 yrs. I hope for this, it is their home, and even though they may have hesitated - looked - and weighed the step they were taking - they walked on their homeland's ground and were immediately at home. I know that they were not orphaned, no matter what was their life here in this zoo, that Jesus was standing beside them holding their hands and helping them walk into the dark crate that they had to enter to make the journey home. I know that they are home.
So how does this odd story about a rare white rhino affect my heart? Greatly. This story about an endangered creation of God has finally made it faithfully home to the land he was stolen from 38 yrs before. Sudan's story is not much different then the story of our two sons and their journey home before us. Just like Sudan'syounger traveling companions who touched their homeland ground first, so have our 2 sons, they have touched a land that we have not been released onto. So how does Sudan's story affect your heart? If you think it doesn't you might be wrong.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

His Part and 'his' Part

I love plays, I love the way they actors are right in front of you, and it generally doesn't matter what kind of play it is even if it was also a movie. I love the way a the actors take on the part that they are cast and how they make that character come to life. And, if you've never been to a play, you can see how the person makes the character they are portraying come alive in their own mind and then on the stage. And every actor, no matter who they are, can portray the same character and bring that character to life in a different way. It's amazing to me how a person can imitate a character, either a real character of fictitious, and make me believe that they are that person. My life is exactly the same way; there are people in this life that appear to be whom they really are not- they are acting (or at least that's the way it appears).

I heard something 2 weeks ago at a seminar that I was at, I heard a speaker say something that half made sense to me and half didn't (does that make sense?). The history to this 'something' - the speaker was Jodi Rouse a trainer and leader for a nationwide ministry for ... sorrow (I guess that's the best way to describe it). Anyway in this seminar, Jodi was talking about losing a loved one and how 'we' are to walk through the sorrow with them and how people (mainly us humans) blame God for the loss of their loved one. Let me say that she did not dispute this reaction, she didn't give reasons through the Bible or life that this was displaced or wrong, but she did ask this "What about Satan? What about his part in this?". This took me by surprise (altho I know many of you reading this will say it sounds perfectly right). Why did it take me by surprise? Because I never thought of the way I feel and the journey that our families are now going thru as having different parts. Different characters taking shape. I have only focused on one Character and one Part.
Heb 4:16 "Let us then approach the thrown of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need."
When we were at the hospital last Spring, we prayed - we prayed - pastors prayed- friends prayed- everyone I knew who had prayer authority was praying for healing and help over Kaleb and Thad. And yet, with petitions upon petitions, our "help" didn't arrive at our time of "need". And in all honesty, we were angry and disappointed with God. We couldn't fathom why we were here; what was happening; and how we were taking every breath (we still don't - not honestly). We needed the one thing, the only thing, that would have worked at those moments in the hospital, we needed a miracle. We needed exactly what this picture says we needed a miracle to replace a grievance of preparation of loss and we didn't get it (not in our sight anyway).
Why in the world would God not provide this miracle, this healing? Why would He delay and not perform His Part? These are questions that haven't been answered and probably never will be, not really. Although friends and counselors relay heavily upon the saying "everything happens for a reason", I don't know that I believe that completely. So anger and disappointment infest and dwell and lead way to the depression - and there I am, waiting for "help" in my time of "need".

Two weeks ago, when Jodi said "Where is Satan's part in this" I thought for a moment and then quickly dismissed this question. Then, shortly after this brief review, I dwelled on this question; dwelled on the thought of what was "his part"? What character does he play? 1Peter "...Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I don't know if this is his part, what I can say is that he had a part. I don't know if he encouraged, distracted, denied, or held back anything that could have saved our sons but I do know that he is now devouring - me. In every way possible, I have avoided the process of grieving, depression, anger whatever, I've avoided it. And I have been without God, that's the only way I can explain it, without Him (or at least that's the way it seems). So I struggle with dismay and depression, and yet I am dwelling on this question "What is his part?". (by the way doesn't this picture look like depression and dismay? this is how my heart feels.)
I struggle with depression and dismay, struggle against it like they are real things, at least real to me. And a friend, counselor, gave me a book, and in it I found this "Depression is a body, soul and spirit problem that equires a balanced body, soul, and spirit answer." Farther down the same page, the author states "..there is not problem which is not spiritural. There is no time when God is not present." I highligted these statements well before the seminar where Jodi spoke and have revisited them daily; not for spiritual guidance but for truth. I don't know why I don't 'feel' God (altho feelings are not to be used is what I'm told) and I don't know what His Part is anymore in this play I seem to be in. So I need a truth a truth that is outside those that I 'know' are God's truths. A truth that directs to my heart.
I don't know why our sons' time in this earthly place was so short. I don't know that I'll ever know. I don't know why through petitions upon petitions we didn't get a miracle (a miracle that I have seen since last Spring). I don't know why this play is putting roles on the stage that are not taking shape. I don't know what my part is or how His Part relates anymore to me. I do know that there is a part here that belongs to the enemy and 'his part' is being played well to the his character. It's as though the play is being written by him and 'we' are struggling to fit the roles daily. And yet I am disappointed with God, the anger comes and goes but it is not as strong as it was, but the disappointment is not part of the character role that He set in to play. And yet I struggle. What is Satan's part in all this? I know now that its to drive a wedge in my heart, to divide my mind, body, soul, and spirit (the ole divide and concure). That's his part and he's playing it well. All I have to do is believe the truth that "There is no time when God is not present" and that in the end of all ends, He did answer our petitions upon petitions.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Horse

I know I've probably written all I can about a horse right? Well maybe not- it seems I have a lot more to say about horses than I like to think. SInce I have such a strong drawing towards horses, I find that I love pictures of them, stories about them and movies (with any ending) about them. Since I wsas young and we did not grow up with much money, the only place that I could connect with a horse was in books, TV shows, and the infamous Triple Crown races. I loved to watch the entire day unfold at the Kentucky Derby where commentators would discuss and detail the short lives of the 3yr old horses running. Where they had been bred, who owned and trained them and what their odds were against the rest of the field. The first time I heard the story oo Secretariat was on Derby Day when the commentator compared Affirmed to Secretariat. The way that Affirmed ran was comparable to Secretariat's style and heart. And Affirmed was the last Triple Crown winner the infamous three races saw. And then again in 2006, the commentators found another recognizible fashion in Barbaro, a horse that was set to win the Triple Crown and on Derby Day they compared his heart to that of Secretariat's. Barbaro never finished the Preakness his heart to run was stronger than his body. I still love the races, I feel like I am flying when the horses run and I have no idea why. I have never ran in a race or been on a racing Thoroughbred and yet I feel them flying. Don't believe that horses can fly!? Look at this picture of Secretariat, all 4 feet off the ground, his stride was 28 feet long (thats from front heals on the ground 1 stride to back heals on the ground, I'd say that's about as close to flying as you can get on mammal. So why horses? And why the races? Well first of all they are upcoming beginning in April so there ya have it; and second, the movie Secretariat came out on DVD and I watched it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and then again on Saturday with Sydney and I heard something, something that I probably missed the first time through.

Job39: 19-24 "Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting?He paws fiercly, rejoicing in his strength and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground, he can not stand still when the trumpet sounds."
I love these picture of Napoleon and his horse. His horse, Vizir, his favorite horse (of his 150+ horses) that was a gift to him from the Sultan of Turkey in 1805. Vizir was a proud Arabian stallion and in each of these pictures you can see his steadfastness - eyes ever forward toward the sound of battle - ears waiting for the trumpet's sound giving him the release to eat up the ground toward the awaiting battlefield.
I'd never heard these verses before and when they were spoke on the movie I didn't know if I believed they were actually part of the book of Job. But why wouldn't I? The horse is the most referenced animal in the Bible - something that I am fully aware of - so why would this seem so out of the ordinary? I've never thought of my horses as 'striking terror' by their snorting and yet they do. I've never thought they would "laugh at fear", "eat up the ground" or "no stand still when the trumpet sounds" - and then I reflect on my horse, on her heart, and lack of fear. She is strong (even tho right now she is fat). When I take her to training and then to endurance races she eats up the ground, ears pricked forward toward the battle that lay ahead of her, and she goes without fear. I wield no sword, there is no quiver rattling at her side, and there is no trumpet sounding battle. And yet, her sides quiver, her ears prick forward, and she sets her eyes toward the field ahead, with the desire to eat up the ground.
God was talking to Job and giving him hope in the situation that Job found himself. The comparison of the horse was to give Job the insight that God was the One who knew all and controlled all, holding all in His sight and that His creation, the horse, knew all this and goes without fear.
I am not the horse that goes without fear, waiting for the trumpet sound, I am not the rider that sits in confidence awaiting for the battle cry. But I desire that heart, I desire the heart of fearlessness that my horse has, I desire the strength that is proud and strikes fear. So why the horse yet again? Because in this time of trials and suffering, in the midst of anguish and heartache, my horse stands close - waiting for the sound of the trumpet, ever by my side she stands waiting, with comfort and steadiness she waits. This is the waiting that God offers, the steadiness that doesn't press me forward but allows me my craziness and unorganization. My God of horses, my God of patience, my God of strength.
"Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck in a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercly rejoicing in his strength and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side along with flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground, he can not stand still at the trumpets sound."
I hope one day I have this heart, this heart to compare to my horse's heart, this heart that God can provide, this heart that is in waiting, waiting for me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst

I lived by this for most of my life, and sometime between 2008 and 2010 I stopped living by it and I'm not sure when that happened. I had always lived in hoping for the best, hoping that things would work out, hoping that this or that would end up the way "it should". And then inevitably expecting the worst of the situation and living in fear. That's how I lived my life and when that part of my life stopped, still have no idea when or how that happened, things changed in my life. I really didn't pay much attention to how things would turn out, how things played out or what would happen or not happen. That changed on April 24th, 2010, I almost immediately reverted back to expecting the worst and living in fear.
I am reading a book, trying to figure out how to persevere thru this time in my life, and came across this quote "We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." - C. S. Lewis. This is the nicest way I have come across for my proverb to be relayed. Don't you agree? I mean it is exactly that when you strip away the nicities. "We're not necessarily doubing that God will do the best for us" - Hope for the Best. That's what this fragmented sentence says when you get down to it. I believe God has only the best plan for me, I hope that the best is coming. "We are wonding how painful the best will turn out to be" - Expect the Worst. Right? That's what this fragmented sentence says, expect the worst. So taken together the statement this wonderful, soul searching, heart bending, statement, says hope for the best, expect the worst.
I have to say when I read this statement it spoke to me volumes of words. It said that I am doubting even tho I am standing on truth. I am standing on promises that may not come to fruition. I am holding on to something that is going to be heartbreaking. This morning I shared this quote with my Facebook friends and they read this statement in the same fashion. I left the computer for a moment, ok maybe longer, and came back to find some responses to the posting and I re-read the statement. That's when it stood out to me as 'hope for the best, expect the worst'.
I am living in this statement again, living in hoping that God has the best plan for me and only living in fear, and expecting the worst outcome. And I dwelled on this belief this morning for a while and then picked up my book once more and retraced what I had read in the previous 2 chapters and this is what I found. John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." Why this scripture? Why was this standing out? Doesn't it sound like something above? Maybe not exactly but I think it reads like this "Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Best". Ok so not exactly like my live by saying, and yet it stood out.
I haven't reached through the expecting the worst to find the hope of the best. I think I'm just moving slowly or being held here for a little while-longer. I'm trying to stay hopeful, hopeful that the best is in the plan even tho I don't see it or maybe I don't want to see it (yet) but in the meantime, I'm living in expecting the worst. Holding in fear. Hope for the best, expect the worst is not where I want to be, I got a reprieve once, for a short time and I want to be there again (someday). I want to be hoping for the best because the best is already being prepared, even if I'm not living in that now, I know its waiting for me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2 to 5 - Years

2 to 5 years...sounds like a prison sentence doesn't it? It sounds that way to me and that's exactly what I thought of when I first heard this statement, a prison sentence. The familiar sound of what a judge renders when a jury returns with a verdict, indicating to the defendant how long they will be imprisoned. 2 to 5 years...where was this sentence going to be served and why did it sound like prison to me, immediately? Because that is what it sounded like - at least on the inside.

I heard this sentence being detailed in a class this weekend, by a national leader and speaker. She stood at the front of the room and described the 'journey' and time frame for those of us sitting on baited breath waiting for what would be the sentence none of us wanted to hear... 2 to 5 years. How coud this be? How could this have happened? And how could I appeal the decision (the legal mind immediately goes to that thought - appeal)? And whom to appeal? How do I shorten this sentence and quickly? This was on my mind almost as soon as the words left her mouth, well at least until the second part of the sentence was rendered. "2 to 5 years after" - after what? When can this sentence begin? "2 to 5 years after" - I dwelled on that for what seemed like a long time although the remaining part of the sentence had already been rendered I was working through how to get out of the "after" and how to appeal the sentence. It took more time that I care to remember for the remaining of the sentence to register and when it did I realized that my sentence has probably not started. "2 to 5 years after the grieving begins. 2 to 5 years after you begin the grieving process, not after you loss your loved one." My mind reeled and ran on full force, when does the grieving process begin and how could I get it started and quickly. This sentence was rendered at the beginning of the morning and my mind held on to that for the remainder of the day, "2 to 5 years after". It broke my heart, it crushed my spirit, how could this have happened? So much so that every thing that ran amuck in my mind was only searching for an answer as to how to get out.

Isaiah 35:10 "and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads.Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee."
Isaiah 60:20 "Your sun will never set again and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light and your days of sorrow will end."

I know that this is a prophecy of Christ's binding up of the brokenhearted, and I know that it is about all those who are here that Christ will call home. I wonder when this wil happen. When I wil be filled with gladness and joy and when the sorrow will flee (2 to 5 years)? I don't doubt that my heart will be bound up - sometime in the future - I doubt that I have started the sentence. I don't worry about the binding up of my heart, I worry about how long it will take for the binding to be finished. And I hope that these words, spoken prophetically about Christ's mission, are true and come to fruition.

Out of fear of the end of the sentence rendered, I do not want to start the sentence. Why? Because I am fearful of being lost in the binding, being lost in the process and that I will never reach the end of my sentence and when I do, who will come out of the prison door? And is the door ever going to open (well once it's closed)? So here I am - waiting for my sentence to start. Wondering if the sentence is going to be delayed with further hearings and court appointments before the sentence actually begins? Wondering who is going to hold the key that will let me out of the prison? I wish I could have the answer now, right now would be perfect. But I would settle for for a new translation to Isaiah 60:20 that read like this "I know right now it is dark where you are. I know that you can not see the sun and when it does appear there seems to be no warmth. I know that your nights are blacked out and the moon is in constant waning. I know that you feel alone and are struggling behing the cell door. But know that, even though you can not see me, and you don't know I am here, I stand in the hallway guarding you diligently. Know that I am the holder of your heart and it hurts My heart to see you bear this burden, it makes Me ache with you but you can give it to Me when you are ready."

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Dare You to Move"

I love pictures of snow and winter, I really don't have an answer as to why because I literally hate winter and snow. Kind of ironic huh? I grew up in Northern Michigan where winter could literally stop all movement, altho rarely it did happen. When I was younger I would go out an dventure out in the snow but as I reached teenage years I would sit in the hous and brew over when the snow would leave and spring would show up. It is very common to sit in the cold weather and month of February to sit in the house and look at the cold winter weather and become a house bum and not move.

Winter is a good way to describe grief, its cold and when you hit it you don't want to move. I hit grief really hit it just recently. We lost Kaleb and Thad almost 10 months ago now but I was so adament about going back to work that I locked up my grief and kept it there...until recently, and now I don't want to move. This morning a friend posted a video on Facebook called "Dare You to Move" by Switchfoot. I have heard this song before and never really heard the words or cared to now what they really were until this morning. I guess I am desperate to find something to help me - move. (I also didn't realize that Switchfoot sang this song, Kaleb really liked Switchfoot.) Acts 17:28"for in him we live and move and have our being..." The song Dare You to Move says..... "dare you to move, dare you to move, like today never happened, today never happened..." I wonder if this song has a link to Acts 17:28? I wonder if the songwriter(s) were thinking about actual movement or the spiritual movement? When I first heard this song, some time ago, I only heard the chorus I recited above, nothing else in the song was standing out to me. This morning these lyrics stood out ..." there is tension here, between you would are and who you could be, between how things are and how they should be, dare you to move".

I've been struggling with devotions, depression, grief, anger, you name it...I've got it (altho most days I do a good job of hiding it). And in my struggle, I have surrounded myself with all kinds of books, one that an acquaintance sent me some time ago, Streams in the Desert. This morning, before getting online and seeing the Switchfoot post, I read this "sufferings are God's winds, His contrary winds, sometimes His strong winds....Obstacles out to set us singing.." And when I read this, I thought "oh yea that's what I'll do...sing!" And then I saw the Switchfoot post, and even through tears, I was signing along.
I'd love for my spirit to look like the picture of this fleeting dog, completely confident in the direction it is going and not afraid. Maybe I will move some day, maybe that movement will be out of fear and into confidence. "For in Him we live and move and have our being."

Welcome to the fall out
Welcome to resistence
The tension is here
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how things are and how they should be
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened
Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here
I dare you to move.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I know that all of you have been lost at one time or another. And I'm sure none of you started getting unlost by asking for directions. You, like me, probably tried to undo the lostness by backtracking your directions. Which when I say it is much easier than it seems because you literally have to 'flip' the directions and go the opposite way that you should have gone originally. And that is absolutely no fun! I generally know when I'm lost mostly because I have never known my left from my right and I inevitably say left when I actually mean right. Over the years I have stopped saying right or left when I'm in the passenger seat of the car (being the navigator) and started either snapping for left or tapping on the window for right; kind of a code that my husband and I have worked out, ok mostly me. Getting lost is actually very easy for me because of that failure to learn left from right, scary huh?
I especially hate having to go somewhere new in the dark and then getting lost. It's actually something that proably happens more often then not to most of us, trying to read directions by the car doom light and squinting at the small road signs looking for our turn, only to find out we missed it and we are on a dead end. A dead end that is at the bottom of a scary wooded area with few houses around and those that are around are dark and uninviting. Well there's a scary picture for your mind to dwell on or maybe that's what I intended for you to see. If you've ever been lost at night you know exactly what I am talking about and for most of us a scary movie will come to mind almost immediately. But what if you lived lost every day? What if when you got up in the morning and you didn't know who or where you were? You were lost. This probably happens more than I like to admit, it probably happens daily sometimes, and in all honestly-it's somewhat comfortable. I know - crazy! But there I am lost. The feeling of being lost is only comfortable to those of us who have been here before or for a long time and we 'move in'. This kind of lost is not as easy as back tracking, or stopping and asking for directions-its spiritual, and soulful lostness. How do you back track that? You can't, just in case you are wondering, you can't. Ezekiel 34:16 "I will search for the lost and bring back the strays, I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.." I don't the backgrounds and laziness has me not really caring but this scripture was referenced in my husband's Bible in to those who are lost spiritually.
I can't back track from being lost, not now, there's no way back and it would take more than one flipped turn. But I know that sometime in the future, I will be unlost because whether I 'feel' it or not Someone is searching for me. And I know that sometime ago, at some point, I was found and now I am briefly lost again (I hope). Being lost is not just for the unbelieving and unknowing but for those, like me, who believe but can't see the way back. John 18:9 "This happened so that the words that he had spoken would be fulfilled "I have not lost one of those you gave me"." I am not sure if these two scriptures are connected in any way but to me they seem to be connected directly. I was an Ezekiel lost stray and about 3 years ago I was brought back. Now I am lost again but I have not been lost by Him because He hasn't lost anyone given Him. I wish I could get back sooner, maybe the lostness I 'feel' would subside more quickly. And over this week I have been realizing the lostness that I was denying and more and more I feel completely lost and yet John 18:9 stood out. Maybe John 18:9 it actually saying "I know you're lost right now, I know you feel apart from Me, but know that I am close even though you don't know it, know that even tho the directions are confusing and it is dark, you are not alone, and believe that I will not lose you and you are in Me."