that girl…

June 10, 2014

look at her. .. . . … just look at her. full of confidence, the world by the tail… no fear. I had forgotten about her until I recently found this picture in a shoebox containing the most random of precious images from my life. my heart just leapt when I first found it. I adore this picture of us… from so long ago when we were so in love. we were just inseparable. … and he loved me like that. just looked at me with young and hungry love … he still loves me like that… .. . .. like that and so much more tenderly. tenderly because she has become more fragile. where once stood a girl who had her life planned out perfectly, not expecting any glitches in all she imagined, now stands his wife who knows that life seldom goes according to plan. and while the things that she thought would be the end of her, either by mental fracture or suicide, have actually come to pass, she is still here. still standing. still holding on.

I hurt for her. thinking of the things she couldn’t have ever even dreamed of that were coming down the pike. … standing next to a hospital bed with her oldest baby boy, over and over and over and over and over and over and over…. trying to sing sweet lullabies and nursery rhymes to comfort him while he was put under again and again and again… holding the warm, soft, brand new pink little hand of her fourth for just a few seconds before he would be whisked away by an entire mob of doctors and nurses who would try with all they had and all they knew to keep him here.. . .. and then being handed that swaddled little boy just hours later, when there was no breath, no kicky legs, no life… . . … .. .. .

even though it hurts, I know it is good. this life. and I am thankful for all of these things. because ultimately, these things brought that head strong girl, the one who was going to do it all on her own, to her knees and lead her to salvation. her and many others in her family, in her circle of friends. she realized along the way that doing it on her own wasn’t going to work and she would need to carried. she would need someone who knew what it was to lose a son, someone with overflowing mercy, grace, compassion, strength, patience. she would need the sure and steady hands of God and his son Jesus. and it was really only in being sweetly broken that she, .. .. . I.. realized my need for him. had the hard things never come along, it is difficult to imagine where I would be… mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I fear I would still be doing it all on my own, quite possibly succeeding by all worldly standards. But would I be secure in knowing my name is graven on his hands like I am today? Would I know that there is nothing that can snatch me away from him? Would I know this love, this peace, this unexplainable joy that is in my life?

I keep looking at her… that girl from so long ago. and even though I hurt for her, I wouldn’t spare her the trials that she would face. they have made her a better person, a more compassionate soul, a more empathetic being.. .. . they have brought her salvation, which is a treasure beyond compare. the thing that I miss about that girl is the confidence. . .. ….. … . . ….. I think it may be time to start bringing some of that back into my character. now that priorities are better aligned.. .. . I think it is time for that girl and this tender soul to merge, that confidence, married with the empathy, could be well used for the good of the kingdom to come.

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

Thunderchild

November 7, 2013

Thunderchild

“it’s a thunderchild crabapple tree.”  She says….  “we got it for you, thought the name fit well” she says, with humor and sarcasm all mixed in.  I can’t really argue.   It does describe me, where I am, what I am doing… These teenage years all full of what seems like what has to be the most dramatic and hardest days of life.

Fastforward a good number of years, I am out of the house with my own brood to raise, and “my tree” is in a bad spot.  My dad has to move the tree.  Not something trees like to do… Not at all.  Well, it has to be done.  My beautiful, screaming pink, sweet smelling tree is pulled from the ground, roots and all, and relocated.  Moved to a new spot in the yard and replanted and cared for, and hoped for… A new life… A new beginning…  Will it make it through such a tremendous strain?

…. …. .. …. . . .   …….

Another number of years go by… “you are bearing fruit” she says.  Confused and caught off guard I reply “what are you talking about?”  … ” your tree! it is full of apples.”  … … …  Dumbfounded, I stare.  There it is right in front of my face.  My thunderchild, full of apples.  Good sized, edible yellow apples.  How?  How can this be?  Crabapples don’t even bare fruit. … ….

. … … … …

do you see it?  Do you see the parable of my life played out right in front of my eyes through an apple tree?  Here’s what I see.  I remember when I was all full of myself, all about showing off my youth and vibrancy, regardless of whether or not there will be fruit to come… Just like that beautiful thunderchild.  And then my Father saw fit to move me, because of things I couldn’t understand, and replant me in another place.  A place I didn’t pick and a place I didn’t want to be. … Just like my tree.  And finally, after years of struggle to heal, growing again.  starting to bare fruit.

Now to the part that is almost more than I can take in.  It was only because of the  painful uprooting and struggle that the thunderchild now has limbs with fruit.  You see, because the little tree was so starkly cut back, it had to go to it’s true roots.  what everyone saw as a glorious blooming spring tree was only the result of a grafting process.  The true root was a golden delicious, which of course produces So much more than blossoms.  Just like me.  Grafted in.  grafted…  Finally producing because of the true root that i am grafted to.  thank God!  … … Thank God I was grafted in to the true root, which is Christ, and thank God I was moved and made to struggle so that the veneer fell away.

Amazing.  I am amazed ….  Amazed and encouraged.  A thunderchild brought back to her true roots.

 

Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.

psalm 17:8

weight of winter…

October 20, 2011

sunshowers…

May 8, 2011

be my sweet…

March 11, 2011

I really wanted to post this a week ago, but as usual, time gets away from me.  it seems it would have been more thought-provoking a few days back.  now, lent has started and the question of what should I give up may all ready be settled for you.  of course, maybe you don’t give anything up over lent, in that case, I’m going to try to persuade you to try it this year.  you can still easily start even though ash wednesday is behind us.  before you just dismiss the practice of  ‘giving something up’ as another catholic ritual, I want you to listen.  be open-minded.  give it a chance.  now, of course I am not a theologian.  I am merely expressing an opinion, suggesting a ritual that I have found favorable.  I know it may seem small to some, pointless to others, but I feel it is what you make it.  the range of things that you can do during this season before easter is endless, from giving up french fries or red meat or coffee to adding a new habit like walking everyday or adding 10 minutes of prayer every night before bed.  the idea though, is to spend some time everyday in self-denial, sacrificing… preparing our hearts for the world’s greatest act of love.  and shouldn’t we be thinking a little about Jesus everyday in a more purposeful way during this time?  pondering the depths of His love for us in letting the Father’s will be done?  wouldn’t it be especially nice to grow closer to God during this time?  to celebrate easter with a new depth and fresh faith? 

I’ve decided to forego all chocolate.  I know it may sound a bit silly, but I can tell you that in the last 3 days I’ve all ready been praying and thinking of Jesus’ sacrifice more than I usual would.  a couple of times a day I’m asking Jesus to be my ‘sweet’.  the One who is my delight rather then that chocolate covered almond at a friend’s house or the hot cocoa from starbucks or the snack offered from a friend or even the delicious sea salt caramels that I was asked to go and buy for a friend.  I am really enjoying the time that just gets stuck into whatever I’m doing without me having to plan it out.  it’s like random reminders of the cross… at target when the kids want a candy bar, at school when the teacher throws me a hershey’s kiss.  ordinary moments in my ordinary day that now mean a bit more.  I am blessed to participate in this tradition.  I think you may be too… whatever your faith. spend the next 6 weeks sacrificing something… maybe it is going through the drive through for coffee, maybe it is spending a lot of time on facebook, maybe it is online shopping.  give the money to a charity instead, spend the time praying for your kids instead.  do something good.  something beneficial.  spend some time reflecting on all the blessings you have been given.  rededicate your quiet time, take stock… I think God will bless your efforts.

well…

March 5, 2011

I feel like I need to say that I am well… or at least let everyone know that.  I don’t want everyone to think that I am stuck in the darkness of sorrow still, weeks after I post that that  is in fact where I am.  as I had said, and always proves true, the tide goes back out, I gain my ground again.  once my birthday passed, I really did feel better… at least… I felt like my usual self again.  the self that is in search of joy and actually looking for it and thanking God for it at every turn.  like the sweet, small, feverish girl who leans her head on my shoulder, the ever growing young man who likes to text his mom, the long and lanky broken-bodied boy who now flies through the house singing, ‘super cole!’ (courtesy of the new lift and track system… more to come on that), a steadfast man…  a very steadfast man. … … … grace.  grace for today.  one more day.  and the promise of grace for tomorrow, whatever tomorrow may  bring.

thank you all for your love, thoughts, prayers and concern.  it is a great encouragement to me… more than you could know.

when did this happen…

February 8, 2011

after a long and challenging day of home school, I made a rather frantic call to brian, expressing that it would probably be in the best interest of all involved if he could get home quickly after work.  (just the kind of call I’m sure he loves to get)  of course he asked and answered all of the obligatory questions and then he decided it would better for him to stay home for the night rather than go to bsf…  he had some ‘principal’ work to attend to.

as the afternoon was wearing on, I started to think that I acted in haste and a certain young man would be paying for that when his dad got home.  I also knew that brian can be very loud and definitely intimidating when he wants to be… especially if you are half his size.  I started to feel bad.  what could I do about it at that point?  brian does not like it when someone is giving me grief, even if that someone is another member of the family… he wasn’t going to just forget about it and move on with his day.  he’s going to want to fix the situation. 

so then, as I stood in the kitchen, watching the silver pony (that’s what we call the truck) back into its parking place, I got a little nervous about what was about to go down.  needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised when my sweet lover and protector calmly walked in the door and exchanged all the usual niceties with everyone.  then I began to wonder if there would be any punishment… I mean, I expected something… I didn’t want dawson to get away with the behavior that had been incessant all day.  I didn’t want him to be hollered at necessarily, but I did want him to be accountable.

no sooner had I thought that, then I heard brian call from his desk, “dawson.  come over here and bring your bible.” in a very stern, you-better-be-paying-attention kind of voice.

I stood there by the sink, thinking to myself, ‘hhhhmmm.. this is could be interesting…’

anyway, long story short, brian had dawson write out about 6 different verses from his bible dealing with wisdom, obedience, love and respect.  I was SO impressed and all most moved to tears that this was the consequence that brian had come up with.  he never raised his voice in the slightest and obviously had put some thought into what would happen when he got home.  I got all warm and tingly and started falling in love with this man all over again… one more reason to love him(or maybe four or five reasons)… he wants to raise these children in a godly manner… he’s doing his best… he’s always on my side… he loves them… he loves me…

all that back story just to say:

then my thoughts went to, ‘when did this happen?!’  I mean, at what point in my life did a man with some kind of moral convictions become charming to me?  I don’t remember ever  thinking that I would want to be married to a man who reads his bible or a man who would have a conversation with his children about why it is so important that they love, honor and respect their parents… not that I didn’t want that, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.  and yet, that’s exactly where I am now.  I wouldn’t want anything less.  I know it has happened in the last few years, because I can remember the first time I became aware of this ‘draw’ towards a man just because of his faith.  we were sitting in church and when the pastor asked if there was anyone who would like to stand and say the verse for the week, a young man proudly stood and recited the whole thing ( and it was long ).  I was greatly impressed and thought to myself that someday that fine young man would make someone a great husband.  he became more attractive of a man, just because of his love for Christ.  that had never been a feature that I had been attracted to before in my life.  now it is.  which leads me to conclude, that brian and I are living proof that God is amazing in His ability to change lives, hearts and minds, for His pleasure and for His glory, through putting a desire for a godly man in my heart and softening brian’s would be anger to a gentle answer … and that was just today!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

~2 Corinthians 5:17~

in the shadows…

January 24, 2011

I usually know exactly what I am going to say.  I’ve got a title for a post and most of it finished up in my head before I ever get the opportunity to actually sit down for an hour and be able to write it out.  this time I don’t.  I’m speechless… almost thought-less.  I’m overwhelmed. all because of a short book called, ‘wrestling with an angel’ by greg lucas.  it’s a father’s story of raising a boy with disabilities, severe disabilities.  it is a quick read.  you can get through it in a couple of hours.  but it is the last two paragraphs that have left me… silent.  here they are:

But perhaps the sweetest discovery of all was learning more about the character of my heavenly Father through the struggles of my disabled son.  It is one thing to read about His faithfulness, to talk about His mercy, and to write about His grace.  But to experience these things face to face requires a heavenly vision that can only be obtained by walking through the suffering of His providence and coming to the realization that the darkness I have experienced is actually the shadowing shelter of my ever-present Father.

It is in this shadow that I have wrestled with an angel until the breaking of today.  And even though I now feel beaten and broken from the battle, the limp that carries me away from the sacred place forever reminds me that I have been touched by the hand of the Almighty.  And by grace, I have prevailed.”

to consider this ‘darkness’ the shadow of God… how amazing… he’s precisely right.  feeling beaten and broken… yes.  that too.  the limp is proof that I have been touched by God… absolutely.  “and by grace, I have prevailed.”  … I unconditionally, wholeheartedly agree. 

now, if I can just keep this perspective at the forefront of my mind as I too, clean poop off of an ever-growing boy that doesn’t want to be cleaned… as I am bitten on the shoulder, arms, hands and face… as I am hit, scratched, pinched… my hair is pulled… and I am hollered at.  could I just remember that it is when I am weak, that I am strong… that this ‘thorn’ is what  keeps me from becoming conceited… that His grace is sufficient… that I can boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses and afflictions so that Christ’s power will rest on me… (2 corinthians 12)because, like greg lucas said, “and by grace, I have prevailed.”  there is no other way.

please check out the book  “Wrestling with an Angel” by Greg Lucas.  he also has a blog.

thank you so much for writing this book Mr. Lucas.  it has been truly inspiring.

 

I was looking for a special poem to thank the paras and teachers in cole’s classroom and I came across this one by erma bombeck.  ( I really like her writing)  it brought me to tears pretty quickly.  it’s nice to have a different perspective every once and awhile.  I get so busy just going through the motions and doing what needs to be done, I forget the bigger picture.  to even think   be reminded that God is not only aware of me, but that He is on my side and considers me worthy of the testing is so very humbling.  I hope you like this poem.  pass it on to other parents of special needs kids.

The Special Mother  

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,
a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of disabled children.
Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth
Selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.”
“Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.”
“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a disabled child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child a mother who knows no laughter?
That would be cruel.”
“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she’ll handle it.”
“I watched her today.
She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see–ignorance, cruelty,
prejudice–and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.
“A mirror will suffice.”

………………………………..

so much of this poem rings true for me personally…  happy, selfish, unbelieving.  and other aspects too… I’ve seen cruelty, ignorance.. I’ve heard the miracle of ‘mama’ ( at age… 4.  4 years-old that is) I take no physical activity for granted.  I don’t know about the ‘give her a mirror’ part, but otherwise I feel this poem to be pretty accurate. 

it’s hard to think of character development as a blessing most of the time.  usually because that path lies through a valley of pain… physical, mental, spiritual.  but, now that I am well acquainted with this path, I can appreciate the growth a little more.  I’m thankful that God said, ‘give her a disabled child’.  I can’t imagine the person I would be if I was choosing my own way.

fall like rain…

December 31, 2010

my day started with someone knocking at the door about 9:00 this morning bearing flowers and words of love from a dear friend.  beautiful, vibrant flowers.  knowing that others are remembering me and mine today is a very sweet balm to my wounded soul.  I have another friend who had dropped off a box of little gifts secretly, 10 days ago, to help ease the week or so building up to luke’s birthday.  (same friend who did that last year too)  it may sound a little silly, but it really does help.  the gifts are simple… a box of tea, a notebook, candy, a book, kleenex… but, and maybe this is because my love language is gifts,  these little things mean a great deal.  each one is wrapped nicely and has a verse that kind of goes with the gift.  I love the gifts, the friend, the thought behind it all.

about 10:00, brian left to go pick up all the balloons.  he brought home balloons and a few long-stemmed roses.  they smell so sweet.  we all wrote little messages on them and then headed outside to let them go.  it is so fun to let balloons go.  something you never really get to do and are often warned against.  they all look so lovely floating away.  next year I think we’ll get more.

after letting them all go, we headed out to champps for lunch, just like we do for everyone else’s birthday.  that was nice too. 

……………………………………………………………….

 

………………………………………………………………..

when we got home, there was another delivery.  white roses and evergreens with a snowflake in the middle from my parents.  it has  such a lovely piney scent and is one of the most beautiful arrangements I’ve ever received. 

all these wonderful things, along with… cards in the mail, emails, FB messages, texts, hugs, thoughts, prayers and concerns… really carried me through the day.  I understand that it has been 2 years since the most traumatic experience of my life was coming to a close, but at the same time that just seems impossible.  that seems to have happened just yesterday.  I still hurt, I still want him, I still think of him all the time.

as we were driving off to lunch, a song by jeremy camp started as if by cue.  it was the song, I still believe.  part of the lyrics say,

“but it’s now that I feel Your grace falls like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain”

and I closed my eyes and leaned my head back and thought, yes… this is what is happening… all these gifts, all the concern from my friends… this is God, working through them to bring me some sort of peace.  and as His grace falls like rain, it really is washing away my pain.  thank you so much to all of you who were part of the comfort and joy today that was falling like rain all about me and mine.

my taunting foe…

November 22, 2010

another dilemma has recently surfaced in my fairytale  soap-opera life.  after coming to grips with the woman in my discussion group at BSF who has the 2 year-old little boy named luke and the 2 others who are pregnant, one of which has been in for a level 2 ultrasound just last week and ‘isn’t even going to think about those things that the dr said.’ there was yet one more woman to be added.  it seems impossible to even imagine that she would be assigned to our group, but she was.  she happens to be due in december with a little boy. …(stunned silence)… and the worst part is that now that babies are allowed, I know that she will be back after break… sitting there nursing her brand new little boy… that smells so sweet… and makes all those extraordinary newborn sounds.  I’m thinking… you have got to be kidding me.  you have got to be @%&# kidding me!!  could I have one place where i can let my guard down, where I can refill my cup, where I can enjoy the fellowship of other women believers as they discover and study their way through Isaiah too? apparently not.

so after leaving BSF upset and talking with friends about how upset I am and then requesting that this new girl might be moved because I am upset.  my answer comes back … these groups are prayed about and it doesn’t appear to be an accident… I mean, we are  studying the sovereignty of God and all. … maybe this is a oppurtunity for you (me) to be victorious in Christ. … … …

after crying and feeling ssoo frustrated and tired of what seems like an endless piling on of little things to haunt me and telling brian, “I’m sick of hearing about ‘victory in Christ’… give me a break!”, I went to bed.  it seems very much to me that God likes to pick on me… just trying to see how far this little bruised and battered reed can bend. 

sunday morning, we go to church, through the ice and freezing rain.  I don’t participate like I usually would.  I’m kind of pouting I guess.  I lay my weary little noggin on brian’s shoulder and fall asleep during the sermon.  I decide to sit up and be awake for the remaining part of the service, but I flip through my bible on my own, still not paying attention.  my little rebellion.  I only look for a moment until I stumble across psalm 42, which is all ready full of little notes and underlines.  it speaks directly to me… deep calls to deep… my soul is downcast… these things I remember… ‘why have You forgotten me?’ … as the deer pants for water… my tears have been my food… ‘where is your God?’… as my foes taunt me…  wait a minute, what was the part?  as my foes taunt me…  as my foes taunt me…  hmmm…  I wonder…  could that really be?  am I being ‘taunted’? … by my enemy?

now, I’ve studied suffering.  I’ve studied evil.  I’ve studied what is ‘allowed’.  I’ve studied Heaven and Hell.  somehow, my focus is always more on what God is doing, allowing.  so of course it seems like God is picking on me.  this small verse from psalm 42:10 changed that.  it changed my perspective.  what if all these little things are from my taunting foe?  then it dawns on me for the first time… that is where/why I could have victory.  I feel a little silly even saying that, because it sounds so… … … christianese. 

having said all that, it isn’t like I just feel better now.  it still hurts.  I still don’t want to sit in that group.  I plan to seek counseling to help deal with this post traumatic stress that I deal with.  it’s just that now… my heart feels a little better, I feel a little encouraged, back on the path.  I have identified my taunting foe and I have no plans of succumbing to his wiles.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  Psalm 42:11

always watching…

November 14, 2010

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend… one that I know, but easily forget or don’t pay much attention too.  it was good to be reminded and greatly encouraged at the same time.  here’s how it went.

I was at a retreat for moms with kids with disabilities.  after the main speaker, there was a Q & A.  the questions were directed towards us, the audience.  our second question was, ‘how do you keep your faith?’  someone I don’t know, a few rows behind me and to the right, stood and started to give her answer.  she said she had seen something that encouraged her, rather than something that she did herself.  it wasn’t far into her story that I started to cry.  I still can’t say exactly why it made me cry,  but it did.  she told us how she happens to attend bethlehem and on a sunday back aways, maybe Easter, we had a combined service at the lakeville highschool, rather than the 9 and 11 that we would usually have.  so, as she is watching the service proceed, she notices a family up front that has a little boy in a wheelchair.  she said she was drawn to the joy they showed as they were singing.  and then ‘I’ll fly away’ came up and again she felt she was watching something remarkable.  the family was smiling and singing and dancing around… even the boy in the wheelchair had his hands up and was doing his best to sing along.  she was impressed and encouraged to see a family that had obvious burden and yet such great joy.

oh how quickly I knew she was talking about me and mine.  I remember getting to church later than I had wanted and having to walk all the way down to the front row, because there are only a few places to sit with a wheelchair.  I remember the song too.  cole’s favorite!  in my whole time at bethlehem it has only been sung twice.  the week we came back after losing luke and Easter.  I also remember wearing my brave face and doing my best to sing along as I was breaking on the inside, because I really did  want to fly away.  I have a son waiting on the other side of glory and I want to see him.  I remember writing a poem that starts out ‘it still sucks’ after I got home…

so… to hear this story from a strangers perspective was… more than I can put into words.  here she is being greatly encouraged by just watching our little family sing and she doesn’t even know the half of it!  it made me remember that others are watching.  always watching.  and although things can and will be hard at different times, I need to rely on God and trust that He will give me the strength to suffer well.  that His light will show through my tears, through cole’s raised hands, through gabrielle’s twirling, brian’s steadfastness and dear dawson’s tender spirit.  He knows who is watching and what they need to see.

when I sing…

October 25, 2010

music and singing have always been very powerful to me.  it seems that they convey more than meer words are capable of.  lately, I’ve been closing my eyes more when I sing… or sometimes I just stand there and listen to everyone else singing.  it fills me with awe.  I picture Jesus there on His throne with throngs of saints around Him.  (I must have a good seat, because I can see Him pretty well.)  😉   anyway…  He has his eyes closed too!  He’s kind of leaned back, off to one side more than the other and He is keeping time with His foot and His head at the same time.  He’s got a slight smile on His beautiful face and every once and awhile He sings along a little bit.  sometimes He even plays a little air drum or acts like he is the conductor when there is a climax to the song…  and then, as the song is ending, He stands up.  and He applauds.  He cheers for us!  and it is completely genuine because He loves us so very  much and is overwhelming proud of all our little efforts.  think of your own children for a second and how your heart melts when you here them sing, ‘holy! holy! holy!’ in their tiny, innocent voices.  how much more His love for us……  how much more….  this is all going on in my head… when I sing.

here am I…

October 20, 2010

so we’ve been studying the book of Isaiah… which makes me feel very small. …  it makes me look at our country and think, ‘wait!  is he talking about judah  or america?’, because, sadly there are many similarities.  it makes me consider who I am trusting in, who I fear, what idols I am holding onto… 

last week, we looked at Isaiah’s response of , ‘here am I.  send me!’, when God asked, ‘whom shall I send?’.  and that too left me feeling a bit lacking.  I am not that brave.  I am not so confident that I could just stand and say ‘send me’ without knowing all  the details of the where I was being sent… like, where exactly and for  how long and what should I pack and what’s the weather like there and is this going to hurt and how long will the pain last…  I’m a little more like… well, … I’m not sure.  maybe. ..  let me think about it.  are You sure?  maybe someone else should do it. … I want to be like Isaiah in this regard, in his immediate obedience, his undoubting faith… but I don’t feel quite there yet.

this week however, I’ve found a verse that I am thinking about having embroidered onto a flag and staking it out in the front yard.

our questions in our lesson for the week, kind of lead us (me) to, ‘Is Jesus your cornerstone or is He a stumbling block to you?’ and ‘does your  life reflect that?’.  and my answer is this:  He is my cornerstone, my sure foundation, my all-in-all.  I hope and pray that my life is reflecting that.  of my 4 children, 1 is physically disabled and although he is 13, his mind is that of a 5-year-old and 1 has all ready died and waits for us in Heaven… and yet here am I.  I still stand in His camp.  I still sing His praises.  I still trust in His promises.  (mind you, that I do none of this on my own strength or will.  it is only by His grace that I have made it this far.)  I would think that this has to make others look and wonder, especially people who haven’t become believers of Christ Jesus yet…’ how do you do it?’  I know that people think that, because sometimes they ask.  and this is where I want to be able to stop and point to the banner flying bright and bold above my little camp…

“Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. 

We are signs and symbols from the Lord Almighty.”

Isaiah 8:18

this is a verse that I can wholeheartedly say alongside Isaiah.  this is one that I don’t hesitate with or need to ask any qualifying questions.  it is just honestly where I stand and where I am willing to plant my flag.  and I pray for anyone out there who would read this, that isn’t all ready a fully believing christian (I mean believing with your heart not knowing in your head) that your eyes would be open, not so much by your conscious choice as by the Holy Spirit’s leading, to see the Truth in what I am saying and that you would understand that I only do  this … survive my life … by His unending grace.  my children… all 4… and I are signs of faith.  you know us or have bumped into us, that you might have that one more opportunity to soften your heart to see the gospel of Jesus.

if you want me to…

September 30, 2010

bible study has started.  I’m excited about studying Isaiah this year with good friends, in a new location.  I’ve got a close friend by my side in my discussion group that, sadly, and yet, thankfully, knows my pain.  I feel like I’ve made a few steps forward in this grieving process that is taking way  longer than I want it to.  and somehow, I still almost ended up throwing my hands up and walking out, planning  to never return.  let me tell you about the ‘somehow’.

after a pleasant morning of being thankful for being in this study, thankful to see a flood of new women coming to bible study, thankful for the men who volunteer to get all these women into the parking lot in an orderly fashion, (no really… I am super thankful for them), thankful for the friendly greeter, thankful for the amazing sound of these many voices lifted together in praise, thankful for the tried and true friend who smiles as I walk in to sit by her…  I feel like I get a couple swift upper cuts as I sit down, not guarding myself in any way.  the first of which is the new pregnant lady who sits to my left, which stung a little , but not as bad as before.  the second blow was the one that really took my breath away and caused me to stumble.  the one that caused my body temp to rise and all that queasiness to stir and the desire to run kick in.  the new girl across from me, who looked vaguely familiar, was the same women who happened to be in my house last summer for a bible study.  the one who threw me for a loop at that time as well.  all because she has a little 2-year-old boy named luke. 

… … …

and I guess the thing that upsets me isn’t so much about losing luke as it is about the hurt and betrayal I feel from God himself.  I mean really.  come on.  here I am, trying to draw near, making an effort to study His word, spending my time being thankful and this is what I get?!  a slap in the face?!…  (that’s what it feels like anyway)

well, I stayed in the class.  I couldn’t focus very well for the first half, but I recovered more quickly than usual.  I stumbled, but I didn’t fall.  I caught my footing and was able to move along.  I was still wondering why though…….   still feeling a little hurt…  there has to be a reason….  but what on earth could it possibly be….

after all of that, I got in my van and headed for home, still wondering, but not as upset and remembering that God loves me and that I’ve got a long way to go and that even though this refining is a terribly painful process, the alternative  is much worse.  I trust that the path that He has me on is the one that will bring me home and bring Him the most glory in the process.  I throw out a quick pray to, ‘please help me here’, as I turn on the radio …. …. and when I do, the song from luke’s funeral was on. … …  … and the way I took it was… … …  ‘I haven’t forgotten.  I’m on your side.’ … … … and I really listened to the  lyrics again… for the first time in a long time… .. and I fully agreed with every word.  and I was able to say wholeheartedly, ‘I will walk through the valley, if you want me to.’

a little kiss from God as I long for my baby…

a wonderful friend and neighbor came by with 4 blue delphinium for me from the nursery.  I had mentioned how pretty hers were a few days ago and somehow, (I know how) she just felt like she should stop at this little nursery she drives by and pick up a couple for me to plant at my house.

that in and of itself was wonderful.  it made me smile and feel greatly comforted.  and then…

another friend, a fellow cheerleader mom whom I haven’t talked to since november sent me these:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/sharing/shareRedirectSwitchBoard.jsp?token=948661597803%3A1507922308&sourceId=533754321803&cm_mmc=eMail-_-Share-_-Photos-_-Sharee

hopefully you can see these.  I don’t know if it will work or not.  if you can’t, they are pictures of my friend’s family letting balloons go this winter.  she just happened to send me the link yesterday… just happened to.

that’s all.  a small note of encouragement.  I hope that through my encouragement you too will be encouraged.

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement…  Philemon 1:7

this sunday…

June 14, 2010

sunday again.  I do love sundays.  I love that it is a different day for us.  it isn’t the rush, rush, get out the door, check that thing off the list so we can have some time to ourselves.  it doesn’t ‘waste’ our day to be in church for the morning.  it is different from all the others.  it is set aside as something a little more important than your average day.  what would it be that I have to do that is so important anyway…  nothing.

it isn’t my easiest day of the week.  it is tremendously emotional.  JOY.  there is joy.  there is peace.  there is healing.  there is hurt.  there is comfort for the hurt…  there is the shock and awe that someone as vile as myself would be called ‘the apple of my eye’ by God himself.  and there is still… anger, betrayal …  confusion.  I just can’t understand.  I’m accepting that there is a good chance I’m not going to understand this side of heaven.

all that being said, I just wanted to give you a little rundown of what all happens in that hour and a half that we come to gether to worship with our fellow believers in Christ.

*we arrive and sit in the folding chairs against the wall because that’s where you sit when you have a wheelchair.

*as we sing praises cole hits all the important words as loud as he can, like hallelujah.  ( I hope others aren’t thinking that he is just screaming and then remember that God knows his voice and realize that this may be as close as I get to completely unashamed, honest worship from another person.)

*also while we are singing, punkin stands in front of me dancing to the songs, twirling and clapping and raising her hands while she holds mine.  (I hope other people aren’t thinking that I should not be letting my daughter whirl around and such and then I remember that I don’t care what they think.  she’s doing a little dance of joy for Jesus.  wouldn’t church be more fun if we all did some twirls together down the aisles and danced for the One who saved our souls?)

*as we sit I notice that the little boy right in front of us still has his name tag on from nursery.  his name is luke of course.  really.

*looking over to punkin who is 2 over to my left, I notice that she has brought her whole artists workshop along including scissors, glue sticks, pencils and colors which she is presently setting up on the empty chair next to her.

*I see dawson on his ipod sitting on my left and think ‘why did we let him bring that?’ and then notice that he is quickly looking for the bible reference the pastor just read and…. he found it!  he glances at me proudly.

*cole is quietly turning the pages of his dora book.  surprisingly he can sit and be quiet for that long.  I’m always surprised.

*I switch places with dawson so that I can help punkin put away the craft store.

*I notice brian has his head leaned against the wall and appears to be asleep.

*a mom with a little boy wrapped in a soft brown blanket with a silky edge gets up from in front of us to go nurse I would assume.

*dawson is wiggling around trying to itch his back which is really dawson trying to say ‘mom will you rub my back’.

*I rub dawson’s back.

*punkin shows me a picture that she has drawn.  a heart with ‘GOD’ in the middle and to luke… from punkin on the back.

*brian is helping cole straighten out his dora book.

*dawson wants to know what ‘chaffing’ means.  (I think, at least he is listening to the sermon because I just heard the pastor say chaffing.)

*brian appears to be sleeping again.

*during a sermon on how self-centered we are, I think about how I  can’t hear anything because I’m  helping my little brood.

*the words to the songs play on in my heart and mind…

All I once held dear, built my life upon,

all this world reveres and wars to own,

all I once thought gain I have counted loss,

spent and worthless now compared to this.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You.

There is no greater thing.

You’re my all, You’re the best, You’re my joy,

my righteousness; and I love You, Lord.

well with my soul…

June 7, 2010

another changing of the bandages at church this sunday.  it happened while we were singing.  I often cry while we are singing anyway.  others’ hands go up and my tears start to drop… big solid drops falling directly from my eyes and leaving little splats on my sweater or bible.

this time we happened to be singing ‘it is well with my soul’.  just as we get to ‘whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say…’  I happen to look down from the screen where the lyrics are and notice that 2 rows in front of me there are a pair of big blue eyes staring at me over the top of their daddy’s shoulder.  a completely innocent little face of around 1-year-old.  he’s got a mess of blonde hair, sucking his 2 middle fingers of one hand while the other is hanging over his daddy’s other shoulder all balled up in a pudgy little fist.  now his eyes are just locked with mine and he isn’t looking away. … … …

… … …

and in my heart… … …

I was able to say, to know… that it actually is well with my soul.

oh how it hurt to say it, to think it.  and at the same time, I felt better comforted.  the tears fell, my voice left me.  the little boy looked at me a bit longer and then laid his head down on his daddy’s big strong shoulder and went to sleep.

some sweet day,  I’ll hold my little pudgy fisted boy and sing praises over him as he drifts to sleep… or lean my head against brian’s strong shoulder and rub luke’s little back as he sinks into the soft and safe arms of his daddy.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul

 

the majority…

June 3, 2010

okay… so I know that the posts that I usually put up are not all rainbows and butterflies.  (welcome to real life)  I don’t want them to be.  I’m trying to give you a very realistic look into the life of this broken yet beautiful life of mine.  and honestly, if you told me that your life was all sunshine and happiness, I’d have to wonder if you were being completely open with me… or yourself.

for today though, I just want to talk about the majority of my days.  most days are good.  I am well-loved by my husband and kids.  I get hugged and kissed.  I smile and laugh and play and work and laugh and love.  I’m blessed with some very wonderful friends.  we meet for lunch or go out for happy hour.  we talk and laugh and love and encourage.  yes, the majority of my days are of the red-letter variety. 

 the thing is, I don’t often blog about all of those things.  I don’t run to the keyboard when everything is going my way and tell you all about it.  instead, this is where I come when I can’t get the words out, when my thoughts are overwhelming, when the anxiety builds and it feels like the dam may break.  you mostly hear the bad, sad, mad stuff.  which is very therapeutic for me, but leaves you feeling bad too or wondering if I’m really  okay…  … …

 I am okay.  really.  this child of weakness knows where to turn at the end of the day.  I know the One who continues to give me the strength to rise each morning to face a physically and emotionally challenging day.  I know Who hears my cries and showers me with mercies anew.  I know.  I do.  and I’m just fine… for the majority of the time.

oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.

oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.

oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.

oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.