we’re all wrestling…

February 12, 2014

Leloir_-_Jacob_Wrestling_with_the_Angel[1]

I am always there. I’m a little more than halfway up the bleachers, on the edge of my seat, watching him jump rope and jog back and forth, warming up those ever growing, young man muscles… taking deep breaths, stretching his arms, glancing anxiously at his mama every now and then. he’s trying to sike himself up to confront his enemy.

I know this. I am trying to remember to breath myself and prepare to watch someone grapple, in the most physical way, with my babe.

the blood bucket is alongside the mat, and it has all ready been used a couple times tonight. they keep a bucket for blood… they know that someone will be bleeding, someone will be hurt.

the shrill buzzer sounds, a hand is raised victorious, and as one fighter leaves, flesh of my flesh comes to the middle of the mat and shakes hands and enters battle.  2 minutes has hardly ever lasted so long. and now another 2 minutes… my heart pounds, I am so anxious for him. it is much harder than I had expected to sit idlely by, and just watch, as my boy wrestles and is wrestled.

the final round and I see pain streak across his face. the mat is slapped. and this time, the other man-child’s hand is raised, while mine limps out of the ring… thru his supportive teammates… and slumps against the wall… beaten. … … … and my mama’s heart falls.

…. .. …. . . ….. .. …

even though I know, and can see, that this season of wrestling has made him stronger, refined his skill, increased his character … I want to run down to him and tell him he did his best and ask what hurts and take him home and help get his sweatshirt back on and get him something to eat, something to drink and how can I take the ache away?!?!?  but I sit.  and wait.  giving him time to catch his breath and perspective.

as I sit … … the thought comes to me… how much more? how much more does God, our Father in Heaven!, hurt for me, hurt for us? how much more does He watch us train and warm up and prepare for the battles ahead and feel proud? how much more does His heart stir as we step out on to the mat, facing all kinds of foes … depression, fear, parenting, marriage, finances, health ? how much more does He hurt when we limp away from our battles, to go quietly lick our wounds and prepare for the next round? and just how much more, even though He can see that we have become, and are becoming, stronger, more refined, increased in character, does He long to gather us up and bring us home, where there is no more hurt or anguish or sorrow?

…. .. . .. … .. ….. .. .. . . ….. …

we’re all wrestling. wrestling big things. sometimes we win the battle and sometimes we don’t. we need to remember though, that through the process, we are becoming stronger. we are building character and most importantly, our Father God is always there for us. always watching, always cheering, always aware of our struggles and hurts, aware of our tears.  He knows we’re all wrestling something and He is always for us.

~If God is for us, who can be against us?~

Romans 8:31

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it’s your funeral…

February 2, 2014

sometimes death comes slowly… the lingering illness, the hospice, the disease.  other times it comes quickly, unexpectedly … the heart attack, the accident, the just. stops. breathing.  but this is sure for all of us.  death comes.  we will all die.  we will all lose someone very special and important to us … the mom, the husband, the baby boy. … … …  here’s the thing, we can relieve some of the sting, some of the pain by talking about it a little now.  now.  before it has to be decided without you.

is there a special song you want played?  you know… that one that sums it all up for you.

are there special people who you think should be your pall bearers?

who will deliver your eulogy?  what will your eulogy say?  what do you want it to say?  what is the one thing that you would want to tell everyone when you have all the attention for one last time?

where will you be buried?  cremated?

do you want to have the prayer service the night before or just the funeral or both?

how bout those picture slide shows?  seems like those are pretty popular.  will you do that?  what pictures?  how long?

… … …. …..  .. …… …. …. …

I am not trying to be dark or depressing.  I am just being honest.  maybe you don’t have any specific requests.  it would be reassuring to the ones you love if they even know that.  if you trust them with all the details, let them know.  the conversation doesn’t have to be so awful.  in fact, brian and I were just talking about who we should ask to be pall bearers at our funerals, and we laughed and laughed talking of all the possibilities.  maybe you just talk about little bits here and there.  maybe you just type up a couple of things and let someone know there is a ‘file’ with your funeral plans on it, just in case.

a neighbor and good friend died almost a year ago from cancer.  she knew it was coming.  she had a remarkable faith, which took away the fear of death for her, and gave her the courage to talk about it.  she wrote her eulogy, looked up the number to the paper she wanted it in, wrote something meaningful to be read to everyone, decided some plans and requested a nice sit down meal for afterwards.  and even though she knew death was coming, it still came quicker than she had hoped.  having all of those things done, made it so much easier for her husband to handle the funeral part of it all.  she was making it easier for him and her son even in her death.  she inspired me to get things a little more in order for myself.

you might even want to think about your kids.  I know that is awful.  the unthinkable. .. .. I also know it happens.  I had to pick the songs for my own sweet boy. and I know other people who have had to pick the verses that seem appropriate for their own small ones… cancer comes…  stop signs get missed…  sometimes… …. I believe . … .. God just calls our sweet little loves home, for reasons we may not know on this earth.

maybe you don’t want to talk about it because you are unsure of what will happen to you .. … your loved ones ….  this seems like all the more reason to spend some time thinking about it now.  because as sure as I know death will come, I know that Christ all ready came.  He came and paid the price, your ransom, your loved ones ransom, that we can be with him in paradise forever.

think about it.  talk about it.

..  ….. .. . … …… .. ….

I just hope in asking you to think about it, to talk about it, your loved ones will have a bit more time and space to grieve more fully when the time comes, rather than trying to figure out all the details in that moment.  after all, it is your funeral.

play this one for me.