Sunday, January 30, 2011

How do we get to this place where green is no longer green and full of life but a dulling brown? It's like the slow change of seasons. We forget a little here, we stop practicing what we know there; The leaves are turning on the trees. Life happen's, sickness happen's; The leaves have dropped to the ground. It is cold now. The snow has covered up the things light revealed in brighter days; faith is required.

Faith brings to remembrance those things that were once tangible. Faith bids me to carry on. Faith tells me this life is a gift. A million times a day our creator has inclined Himself to us, to whisper endearing words of love. 

He is the sunrise, He is the midday steadiness, and He is the countless pin prick holes in a colorless sky. He reminds us we are not left to maneuver in utter darkness alone .

The flowers in my yard, the greenery in the dessert, the down pour when I am parched. He is there. If I find myself on the wings of the dawn, if I make my bed in the lowest places, He is there willing to lead me. He wills to lead me to see him in all these seasons of life. To see Him and to love Him more because I realize to the core of me I am not abandoned but loved by Him.

This gift of life and all the gifts that ride upon it's coat tails were meant for us, meant to show us beauty. We were meant to look into the bloom of a rose and find enjoyment. I need no miracle, no sign, God is before me. I breathe in His handiwork, His fragrance beckons from satin petals and I long for Him to be my life.

My son, a gift, very honestly tells me of his own longing. It pours fourth slowly from his own sorrows. “Mom, I want to die and go to heaven where I can hear.” He longs for his real home too. A body fit for heaven, where his ears will not be stopped up, where conversations will be crisp, and clear.
A place where the perpetual song is everlasting joy, full of grace. There will be no disconnect, no miscommunication, no impatience.

My heart aches for him. I feel helpless to fix what is broken. In an instant I have a choice to make. I always do have this choice. The choice to embrace circumstance and spiral down in believable lies or the choice to embrace the truth of God, whose loving kindness is over all His works. God was calling me to arms, to take courage, while I was afraid, so I could bestow courage on my son.

God uses my children to train my heart to be more brave than I am. For their sake, and really, for my sake too.

We momentarily linger in our dream of what heaven will be like. We sigh and smile. We have hope. We return to the present reality and recognize our weakness as an opportunity for dependance. 

 God alone is equipped and has equipped His children to walk through the fire and not come out smelling like a victim.

It's not the dying we are afraid of. Our end is secured. The fear is to wander through this life wearing grave clothes. Joyless, unable to hear God. This is a deafness that cannot be tolerated. It is the deafness that can't hear the voice of God as a personal love song. It is the deafness that will not take responsibility for sin. It is the deafness that cannot hear the cry of the oppressed, It is the deafness that cannot hear God in the mundane, broken and pitiful moments of life. This kind of deafness is death to a soul. We have all set up camp here. Even as believer's!
Our senses, particularly our ears, eye's, and heart are instruments of Grace God has given us to receive Him. They are our modes of reception. To be deaf to our maker is to wither at the depth of our soul.

Oh Lord, For my Family,
Apply your healing touch to our ears. Let us be open to hearing your goodness and taking it to heart. Unveil our eye's that we would exchange the misshapen and bent views we have for images of your splendor. We resign ourselves to you and beg that you would teach us how to let the life you have given us, through your Son, be our life. That your joy WOULD become our strength and our joy.
Apply your earth to our eyes that we would see. Open our ears to your voice a little more each day on this journey with you. Tune our hearts to sing your praise. Unleash our tongues to proclaim liberty and life abundant here and now!

Celebrating unexpected joys in unexpected places...Places we wouldn't choose for ourselves, but where God is most brilliant. Where we hear Him and see Him in living color.   

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Preparation For Service

My heart's desire is to serve my God for His glory, the good of others, and for my own health.  I keep hearing the saying that God does not work out of a vacuum.  I don't want to be a spiritual suck; sucking from others or feeding off God without having a place to give back. 
 My service and view of service is being purified. I have a finite view of how service should manifest itself. The current uncovering of my motives reveal that I want everyone, self included, to feel good about it. My inability to serve in the capacity that I think is “worthy” has me feeling like I am in sin. It has been a unique battle to be separated from service by what I perceive as inability. The lack of desire, which I assume is related to my energy level makes me more than sluggish to maintain and service relationships. This seems selfish, uncaring and ugly.
My former self (before debilitating sickness) serves as a partial memory of how I want to use the gifts God has given me. The faint hankering to be involved with others for now, is a mirage that keeps appearing to me in the desert.  It keeps reminding me to steward well this life I have been given because my suffering will not be wasted. I want to be a blessing to others. I feel like service is a road away from self focusedness. My ability to live that right now is frail, and seemingly out of reach...I know there is a season for everything but I don't want a habit of excluding people. I want to serve others when I don't feel like it. The line is blurry between not feeling like it verses not feeling up to it.
Perhaps this is know, "not being encumbered about much serving."  My focus has been busy. Busy doing what I can, busy thinking about doing, busy feeling guilty for not doing.  Again, I am not to find my significance in doing but rather as a being at His feet, My apprenticeship, my preparation.
Oh Lord, don't let me miss or neglect sitting at your feet.  I DON”T want to dutifully sit here JUST so I can spring up and do some worthy thing when “I” see a need arise. I willingly sit here because I need both eye's on you. I want to be caught up and swept away with who you are. I don't want to hear the crowd unless you deem it appropriate. I don't want to be swept away by what's expected. I certainly do not want to hear my own internal dialog; it is often immature, forgetful of truth and preoccupied with self. Teach me to live, for I do not know how, and teach me to serve from a place of unbroken, uninterrupted fellowship.

"Behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters... so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God" (Psalm 123:2).


Had to Share it!

"Mary . . . sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His Word. But Martha was encumbered about much serving" (Luke 10:39,40).
A malingering student will make a poor servant; a diligent student will make a good servant. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" (2 Timothy 2:15).
"Do not look for service, look for preparation for it. Everyone has to serve an apprenticeship. We do not know what we are to be fitted for, but if we keep at His feet He will prepare us for the very thing for which He has designed us. We hinder both ourselves and His work by attempting things to which we have not been called."
"If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never truly sit at His feet; whereas if you begin with looking unto Him you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Lord become better known. I never met with anyone making his service prominent who knew what it was to sit at the Master's feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service. It is clear that those who abide in Him must be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all effective service" -J.B.S.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Creative Outlet

Here I am listening to Kieth Green plunking his heart out on the piano and this familiar desire rises up within me to create. The only place I can sing my heart out is when I am alone. It 's not something I could share.

I have an old friend that I never knew to be an artist or even mildly creative in our teens who now creates the loveliest things to bring beauty to others. The longing within me builds. I used to draw until I played with paints. Then I could hardly get my drawing done fast enough so I could paint. I have several artistic friends who can create pictures from the images and concepts in their mind. Their detail is inspiring and the level of their ability enables them to communicate. My art is mostly about my own enjoyment, color usage, texture and color. I struggle for accuracy and the finished product does very little to speak the messages of my heart. There is very little about it that could be shared at an inspiring level with others.

My creativity has felt damned up. Yet, all along creativity has been trickling out of me. It leaks out into conversations I have with my children; the way I entertain and teach them. It pours itself into nearly every meal I make. Healthy meals on a sometimes non existent budget need creativity. Creating a smooth running, homey environment while my physical gas tank is empty is indeed a call for creativity. True, all these things are satisfying things to accomplish as the wife and mother of my home. I have men in the making standing before me daily needing input, love, direction, acceptance, and encouragement. It is the best investment I can make. Aside from being a wife it is the best thing I can give my creative life force to. I realize as I write this I am not looking to replace these things, but my longing is for an outlet to express the journey. Sometimes what seems like missed opportunities are only a hand of redirection. I would probably still be trying to produce mediocre paintings were it not for the limiting situations that have backed me into a corner forcing my creative hand hand to write and my fingers to type!

I am no musician but there is a new song in my heart. I am no artist but there is a portrait on the canvas of my heart. I am not sure that I am even a writer, but there is a message being developed within me...I must write for me, and for you whoever you are.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Help for the Wounded

We had spent the morning together but we were now dispersed doing our own things. I was checking E-mail and looking up a bill for My “D, D, Dandelion husband”. Rain-man (son #2) was outside carving his box car for the Grand Prix Awana race. Last I checked G-money, (son #3) was watering our orange tree. All is well or so I thought. It amazes me how quickly things can happen with a mother totally unawares.

G-money comes to me teary eyed holding up bloody hands and proceeds to tell me very calmly how Rain-man accidentally cut him while carving. I rush Mr. bloody to the bathroom, leaving a trail of blood droplets behind us. I grabbed a washcloth and begin mopping up the blood so I could locate the source. I was unable to see a cut, that is, until I saw the blood soaked, soggy band aid. Once I got the bleeding under wraps I asked again, “what happened?” G say's in his most forgiving voice, “I was watching Rainen carve his car and he accidentally cut me” “Don't get mad at him mom, it really was an accident.” Very interesting coming from the child who usually describes injuries be it an accident or intentional as “He did it on purpose!” About this time Rainen comes in. I jumped the gun and began to scold him for a lack of knife safety and for carving while Gabriel was so near, when he pipes up, “Mom, I didn't do it.”

In an instant all the pieces came together for me. With the picture assembled I could see that Gabriel had his sneak on. He had snuck a knife from Uriah's room and was doing a bit of his own carving when he gashed his thumb. He knew he wasn't supposed to be using knives so he then snuck in to put on his own bandaid. His efforts to hide what he did were not adequate. It was not until his hands were filled with blood that he decided it was necessary to ask for help. Even upon asking for help he wasn't ready for full disclosure. His attempts to hide his disobedience actually dug a deeper hole for him. It ended in a corrective clean up of heart and hand.

Need I say more? We are all intrinsically like this. I know it's an irritating fact, but it's true. We have a huge mortal wound inside of us or so many little nicks that we can't locate the source of blood. We try hard to cover it up, pretend it's not there, blame it on others. Try as we may, to cover it or fill it up, our attempts are insufficient and misguided.

Sometimes we need others to help bandage us because we cannot stop the blood flow ourselves. God's instruments of grace. There are those that are willing to help us, to get messy with us when we are in need. It is humbling to ask for help, especially when you have unintentionally made a habit of going it alone. Sometimes I just don't want to be around people, I want to go at my own pace.

Somedays I don't know I need help. Somedays I am just working through life and that is all I have strength for. I can't see beyond the people within my walls. My husband and my children...I am ever resting to give them the best of me.

Today a pressure valve was released with kindness. The build up was so great I melted and oozed all over the floor. 

 It happens. I sort the truth from lies. I say it out loud or write it and the power of the lies began to shrink.  

I have been released the whole time only now I know it experientially a little more. 

 God is kind to me. He listens to me and quietly speaks truth to me till my sobs recede. Sometimes it is just me and God and other times He sends a willing ear to help me carry the burden.

I was thankful that today I had receptacles open to receive kindness. There are days I can see the sunshine from others, in others, and can even see a purposeful hand extended to me, but am myself unbelieving. I can be cold and numb and to inconvenienced to give or receive love. I don't think it is just because I am sick. I think it is magnified because I am sick. It's a part of me that wears a soggy bandaid. A part of me that God is cleaning up. A part of me I wish to surrender to God's graces. It will be a relief to know His life in this corner of my life!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Expect Beauty

Today had moments in it I wish I didn't have to go through or recall...

Very similar to walking out on a crumbling moss covered log.  You know you shouldn't look down to the 1000 foot drop, but you can't help it. You look down and you nearly die taking in the horrors.  How did you get out on this log, why are you wearing high heels, why is there a patch over one eye?  Could it be any more difficult to get through to your destination? As if the walk to the other side wasn't hard enough but now you recognize your hurdles and handicaps....No one can do it for you...This could get ugly, this is ugly.  I am capable of much ugly.

If I am not crashing from fatigue I am being tossed to and fro emotionally, irrationally.  I went to visit the mother of all mothers today; a rare beauty.  I should have known I was overdone when I felt such heightened reactions to her stories.  She has overcome many obstacles..death and the like.  In the middle of one such obstacle she was getting up at 4AM to feed her kids before taking them to work at the Horse  track. On the way home she delivered newspapers.  She then came home to care for her husband who was dying of cancer and she was off again to pick the kids up by eleven.  I tried to imagine how she managed it all.  I felt mad that she had extra stuff to do while already in crisis mode and then by way of contrast I felt mad that I can't seem to do anything!
She had grace for the situation God had allowed in her life.  My view of her situation was cloaked with vain imagination.  I couldn't imagine accomplishing all that in the body I currently have.  My perspective these days seems colored by fatigue and a multitude of sensitivities.  I can barely imagine health.  I am too tired to imagine having responsibilities beyond breathing in and out and loving my husband and children.

I often feel easily irritated and struggle with bitter responses at every turn.  Aside from the "I love you even though you can occasionally irritate me and I you" relationship we all have with our closest relationships.  What I experience today comes from within me.  It is mostly my problem and yet no problem at all.  It vanishes, dissolves and I can no longer remember anything to be angry over but there it is none the less.  unwarranted anger...It's ugly.  It is the reason I need Jesus as my life!

All morning I have felt like my insides were revved up but my shell could hardly sustain it.  I talk fast, think faster than I can talk, and can't stay on topic.  I keep reminding myself to breathe deep and slow.  I try to sleep but am too revved up.  My temperature drops and my lovely, darling husband lays with me to breathe for me, with me.  I slept all of ten minutes and dreamed weird things I can't remember.  I cry because my man has to go out to work.  I only sometimes fear him leaving.  It's getting better.  I am hoping to feel better by the time the after school needs demand my attention, love, energy, direction and tenderness.  I hate that I want to bury deep into the covers and hide.

I have to remind myself it is not always like this, I am not always like this...My man reminds me too! I hate feeling like this is me!  I hate feeling so out of control.  Its like no matter how consistently I walk with God there is this raging battle.  Aside from being a "normal"sinful woman, this health thing intensifies and adds fuel to the fire.  God has chosen to not take away the symptoms but He has promised to go with me through it ALL to the other side.
It can be hard to express this to people.  It is hopeful, but it is often not the hope people are looking for.  We mostly look for the removal of the thorn!  Sometimes God heals us that way and other times He heals us by leaving it in.

  What I am looking for is more than the healing that removes my suffering.  It's not that I don't wish for health but I do not place my hope there.    My expectation and hope is for beauty.  Beauty; an internal change of rest, love, peace, that attracts others and glorifies God.  I am not nor will I ever be beauty on my own but Jesus is!  I am in Him, He is in me, and He is my provision of beauty.
Let's face it when we ask for healing we have a 50% shot of getting what we are asking for.  We will either be healed or not, but when we trust Him to make His beauty manifest in us we are assured that we are asking for His will.  It is His will that we be conformed into His image and He will work all things together for the good of that.

He is giving me what I ask for; Himself.
but the purification  is so ugly,
                                   so shameful,
and pulling of the dross so painful,
                                      so humbling.

The outcome, a vessel of honor for His glory.  The cracks I am so conscious of are redeemable  opportunities for His life to spill fourth from.  As is all difficulties.

May His hope, His comfort, His promises, His joy, His love flow from me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Be kind...Everyone is Hurting

Broken marriages, wanting to get married, abused children, false accusations, loneliness, declining health, death, fear of death, family trouble, sending your baby off to war, doesn't sleep, a vehicle that won't work, preparing to serve the Lord in another country, lost libido, opposition, the unknown, death, loss, grief, self focusedness, adultery, forgetfulness, unable to speak what's on your mind, disinterest, change, too many children, can't have children at all, lack of connection, don't know Jesus, surgery, chronic pain, constant fatigue, finances, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, cancer, sinus infections, arthritis, in the hospital during Christmas, rebellious teens, foolish children, struggling parents, lost sense of purpose, miscommunication, cold, parentless, defenseless...

Just to name a few of the burdens those around us are carrying...

Ever heard the saying, "Hurting people hurt others"  I would add to that,  "they don't have too!"

I was once in walgreens looking for valentine gifties for my lovey children when a woman came to stand beside me.  Being the social creature God has made me, I struck up a brief conversation with her and let her know if I was in her view to just let me know and i would gladly move...She stopped and stared at me with a puzzled look on her face. "why are you being so nice?"  She proceeded to tell me how she was making funeral arrangements and her day had been terrible, full of rude people.
Perhaps she was just encountering a normal day but combined with a heavy burden, the lack of kindness was wearing her down even further.
This is one of the reasons I work so hard at teaching my kids manners.  It is an opportunity to share a little Jesus love with a weary soul.  
I told the lady that I really am not that nice.  I am human but God has done a work in me through His son Jesus.  Plain and simple when yielded to Him Jesus makes me nice.  We ended with a hug.

Aesop (620 BC - 560 BC)The Lion and the Mouse


My children are nearly as tall as I am now.  When they were little I would bend down to their level to hear and be heard.  
Ps 40 
"I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined unto me and heard my cry"  
God, my promise keeping daddy bends Himself to me.  First on a cross while I was yet His enemy, and now as His child. Though He could comprehend my troubles from a far He has come to interface, embrace, and lift me out of the miry clay.  
So many choices to make, so many pro's and con's.  I can feel like a ping pong ball, I can forget His character, His promised provision. When I do, I loose hope.  
Waiting on Him is to trust in His character.  Waiting isn't something I do in my own strength but something I do as a result of remembering what He is like.  "Waiting" isn't  a passive couch potato word singing "Que Sera, Sera [whatever will be will be)"  It is a quieted heart that stops trying to manipulate circumstances.  It is to resign from the illusion that we can control the outcome of the future.  It is an agreement that I am inadequate.  It is a heart attitude that eagerly waits and hopes and leans into God who is able, more than able to handle long term whatever concerns me today! 
Waiting on God is connected to my hope.  It is a continual choice to be made by me.  It enables me to be at peace even if the outcome is not the comfortable one I desire.  It enables me to breath and be open to being led instead of forging my own way through the wilderness or being paralyzed by fear.
Trusting, resting, waiting on Him is the comfort and peace we think we are looking for when we want God to resolve our issues according to our will instead of His own.  Our unstable ways and life are exchanged moment by moment with His life as we trust Him.  I need this great exchange!  There is altogether too much of me operating as is made evident by my rampant emotions.  Thank God for emotion, balanced emotion and out of whack emotions which are for me an engine warning light asking for course redirection and God focusedness!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

These last few months in dealing with health issues I find I fight for things most people take for granted. I wouldn't say I walk around like pessimistic Eeyore noticing how every silver lining has it's touch of grey, but I do fight for optimism. I consciously have to practice smiling, hugging, connecting, love, and sex. It is for my healing to trust in the Lord and do good cheerfully. Practicing misery or even wearing a hint of it is a chain around my neck. It doesn't help me or anyone who has to be around me...In the long run practicing misery will result in me being miserable. God is the lifter of my countenance. The Joy of the LORD is my strength. I can trust in Him. I find myself leaning deep into Him waiting for His promised provision and direction.

Overcoming PeRfeCtioNisim to write

I have wanted to begin a blog for a while now. All that stands between me and the blank page is me. I want to write the "right" first story. I want to introduce my title and tell you why I chose it. I want the "right" template that artistically represents me, and on and on. When I am not thinking about how the layout and story can be perfect I am wondering if it's ok that I am not perfect. And do I have the courage to actually write that...It rates close to standing in the nude in front of strangers.
For sometime I have felt that God has asked me to NOT hide behind a variety of masks that say's what you think other's want to hear. There are so many people out there that will answer “fine” wearing their plastic smiles while inside a battle rages. I don't think you should have to fight alone.
I am a growing worshiper of the living God, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, woman. For years I have lived with a different normal in the area of health. Only now as symptoms persist and interfere drastically with my daily life does the light bulb come on. It is messy to be human. For me there is a lot to process. Though there are few in my life who can comprehend my battle, I do have a handful of people who live with me according to knowledge. They support and feed my walk with God, they listen without judgement, and they bless me by sharing their messy journey.

So here I am pouring out my heart to God, sorting through the good the bad and the ugly.