the Judge will see you now…

November 14, 2015

Judges can make all the difference.

A post shared by Jenifer Matthews (@3here1there) on

we were there for good reason.  Filing to obtain guardianship of our now ‘adult’ son, who will need to be in someone’s care for all of his life.    .. .. ..  all. of. his. life.   we were there asking to be given that responsibility, an action that would even be applauded by some. and still I felt sick.  judged. . …. guilty.

up until this moment of my life, I had never been in a courtroom.  my run-ins with the law consisted mainly of speeding tickets and a handful of ‘you better just get yourself home’  from back when I was a know it all teenager.  I understood that we would be in a courtroom for this hearing.  all the other sets of eyes, shuffling papers, law enforcement officers, metal detectors, clerks, lawyers and nervous looking people was what I was not ready for.  I was not ready to stand up in front of all these other people and the judge and explain why we were there, EVEN THOUGH OUR REASON WAS NOT A BAD REASON!  we were not guilty of anything.  ANYTHING.  and still I felt my temperature rising with every little tick tock of the courtroom clock.  and still I felt my heart beating faster than it should be.  and still I could see the tiniest of shaking in the lawyer drawn up documents I was holding onto with anxious hands.  even having the steadfast love of my life and all around solid guy right beside me smiling encouragingly did precious little to regulate my breathing or heartrate. . … …. … .. …. ….. then all at once, our case was called and we were standing before the judge at the front of the courtroom, swearing to tell the truth.  …  and it went RAPIDLY down hill from there.

with not even a twinge of a smile or welcoming attitude or concern for a couple of very nervous parents trying to do the right thing, the judge began dissecting our, what I had thought to be very well in line, paperwork.  ‘where is your lawyer?!’ was asked repeatedly in a tone that gained aggravation with each repetition.  of course we were completely caught off guard and unaware of how it was that we managed to be making this judge so upset.  we had THOUGHT we had this in the bag.  we had THOUGHT this would be very simple.  we had THOUGHT we just needed to show up mainly as a formality.  we THOUGHT we had done everything right. .. … .. in fact, we had been counseled as such.  professionally.  and we completely trusted in that counsel right up unto the moment the judge sent us out of her courtroom, with red hot tears running down my face, Brian’s confusion and the words you better get your ‘things’ in order  before you come back in here, and I expect you back in here as soon as I attend to the next case.  at this point, I was shaking, crying, confused, embarrassed, angry and Brian was looking at me with absolute loss for words or direction in his eyes.

…. . . .. … .. . ….. .. . ….. .

skip ahead a couple weeks, Brian and I are back in courtroom.  a new lawyer by our side, and the whole process is painless.  of course there was a lot of work that went on between the two court dates.  A.LOT.  phone calls, frustrations, certified signatures, lawyers office meetings, tears, worries, case workers… prayers.  But the thing that I can not correctly give words to is the emotion of sitting at the desk with our confident and well versed in guardianship trials lawyer…  all the correct paperwork neatly organized in her hands.  The judge was kind.  He knew her and all ready knew we had everything in order, because of her.  He smiled at us and thanked us for taking on this role and for being caring parents to our disabled child.  the whole thing took 5 minutes and we were happily strolling out of court and off to lunch.

this mess of words and emotions and ‘how do I say this?’ and ‘how do I share this?’ has been in and out of my thoughts for months.  then last week at church we sang, ‘Before the throne of God above’, and it all came back fresh.  you can see the parable within my small life experience right?  the difference the lawyer makes?  the difference the One who is representing you  makes?  the difference in who are you going to trust with your very life when you are before the Judge?

with all the news and sights and clips and posts about Paris surrounding me, I thought of this life lesson again… the value of it.  the need for it.  the need to say it out loud.  one day, and we have no idea of when that day will be, we will all stand before the Judge, before the throne of God.  and you may THINK you have a good case.  you may THINK you’ve done nothing wrong so there isn’t anything to be worried about.  you may THINK the person, or thing, or ability, or health, or wealth, or might that you are trusting in will be enough.  and then the Judge starts in to question… and it will either fall apart very quickly or you will see His smile as he looks on His son, Jesus, who is advocating for you, pleading for you, interceding on your behalf…

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

  . …. . …. .. . . .. ….. there are only two ways to leave that courtroom.  guilty or covered by Christ.  as our world seems to turn more unstable, with mass shootings being common place, terrorist attacks on the rise, beheadings … . . . … it would be wise to have this matter settled.  it would be wise to know the One representing you is completely confident and capable, the ONLY one capable of defending you. ‘the Judge will see you now’ could be a very frightening thing to hear if you are unprepared or trusting in anything other than Jesus as your advocate. .. .. .. . Trust in Him.

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.

words won’t come…

December 31, 2013

all this … hurt, sorrow…  confusion has been rolling around in my head for days.  days.  not the raw, burning pain from years ago.  something different.  something I really want to get out of my head and into words on paper, daring to hope that the act of sitting and searching for the right words will alleviate the busyness…  the scatter of what is in my head.

but the words don’t come.

I read another chapter of Heaven, another piece of the Problem of Pain,  another book on suffering.  so many, many good things in there. so much that I believe, so much that I am betting ALL THAT I AM on.

but the words don’t come.

laughter comes so much easier than it did 5 years ago… 4 years ago… 3 years ago.  the kids bring me joy and my friends make me laugh ’till my sides ache and happiness turns liquid and comes right out my eyes and down my cheeks. …  I know peace.  I know peace that is beyond my understanding. … I love the moment. all the little moments.  I try so hard to take it all in because I know that tomorrow it could be gone.  whether another of my babes, or the man I love or my sister in Christ or any. one. of my family and friends could be taken Home in an instant.  the heart attack, the stroke, the car accident, the allergic reaction, the cancer, … …  the lungs that just can not take in one more breath.  and I want to have this mad dash of words to apply to the broken hearts, even my own … a healing balm, a cooling compress … all strung together quickly with sound theology, deep compassion and a solid measure of tears that express “I know” .. “I understand”.

but the words don’t come.

so often there are not words.  there just are no words for the deep and aching pains of this world.  and some how trying to fix it all with words often ends with saying the wrong words.  the words that were meant to help actually hurt.  they add  little slivers to the all ready bleeding and broken heart.  … I know this.  I have heard these words.  … … but I just can’t keep my mind from scrambling to have something to say. … and I read, and I wonder, and I pray, and I stare off into nothing, and I sleep on the couch, and I read, and I still long for the words to come.  and then… I read it, I hear it, I see it.

“Jesus wept.”

… … …

“Jesus wept.”

He came to his friends.  He hurt too. and for awhile, He just wept.  He didn’t tease them for crying.  He didn’t say there is nothing to worry about here.  He didn’t just storm in and fix it all in that moment and laugh at their sorrow.  He just wept with them.  Even knowing that Lazarus would soon enough walk among them again.  He was just there with them, weeping.  Maybe this is the way to handle these things.  Maybe being present for the trails, being His Presence in the wake of the tragic, just. being. there.  is enough.  maybe allowing others to be His Comfort, His Healing, His Love is enough.  Being present is the present.  the knowing look from a friend, a long embrace, a quick text of ‘thinking of you’, a card, a flower.  maybe this is why the words won’t come.  they aren’t as needed as we think. a friend sitting with us and crying too is sometimes just what is needed.