Monday, March 28, 2011

Sometimes the Lord sets the solitary in families...
Sometimes He sets them in the lion's den...

Being sick is more than just the physical ailments...It is an emotional, financial, relational, and spiritual malady. It involves the whole person. It involves the entire immediate family, the extended family.....And more. 
Dare I say to the end of the world...
The influence of one man to touch a life, 
that in turn touches another life, 
b/c His life was touched; for good or bad.

Aside from dealing with physical ailments and one's own thought process, one is inundated with other people's responses and reactions to the circumstances or health issues at hand.

Everything you thought you knew comes into question...

Everyone you thought you knew comes to question...

Some are kind, 
wanting to build, 
wanting to help...
They are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. 
They pray, encourage, clean house prepare meals, e-mail, call, fill our refrigerator with food, listen, councel, recommend books, research, keep me warm, wash us in the word, laugh with us, give my husband work.  
They have spent their time, 
their money, 
their resources to help us.  

They have shared their own heavy loads, 
and we have celebrated victories large and small together.

One woman of grace, tattoo'd my name upon her arm with a sharpie. She has eight children but did not want to forget to uphold me. 

Their prayers have fed me,
enabled me to eat,
                  to sleep
have led me away from fears...
have prepared me for battle...
have helped me in battle...

Living sacrifices; 
they treat me as a friend, 
they know me as friend. 
Some tell me that they themselves would not have gotten through their own hard without me. They extend their love across miles.
I am humbled. I am full, I am thankful. 
God uses them to lift my countenance. I carry on.

All life,
All good,
is coupled with death and the hard...Spring time and winter...Seed time and harvest...

 The Man of Sorrows nailed to a tree by those He came to save....

Others come too,
to bite and devour...
They assess, they assume.  
Conclusions are formed from what they can see. 
Limited vision neglects the unseen. 
They hurl muddy opinions...
They have never called me friend and yet they will not release me. They choke, they hate.

Hate seems like a strong word...
The truth is, 
there is only the two modes of operation. 
Motions stem from love, something outside our scope of strength, 
Motion stems from self...Self can look like love, but mostly it spews forth hate.

Sometimes I think they would be happy to know I have something fatal...
They pity the day my husband married me...
They think my family would be better without me. 
They see no value in me or this suffering.
Empathy and pity are not the same...
Empathy lends compassion, pity makes victims.  
I am no victim, 
my husband is no victim, 
my children are not victims!

I do not have cancer, they are my cancer. 
A part of getting through this, is love.
To be washed and renewed in God's love for me.  
A gift given so that it may be shared.

Ephesian 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”

The enemy would have me wrestle with flesh and blood...
Initially, in the recesses of my heart I claw and tear at them. 
I beg my husband to defend me from them. 
I want to vindicate myself and out their position of cruelty. 
I want them to feel the shame they heap on me. 
I languish, I resist. 
I want to erase them from my life, but I am married to them.
You could walk away from a stranger inflicting pain, you could...

BUT, You cannot resist those you are bound to...

I believe God allows it to happen in families. 
He knows anywhere else, 
anyone else,
and we would sever the ties that bind, 
to think no more of our offender.

To sever ties is to cut off grace...
It hurts everyone...

When you just can't run from it because it is the wrong thing to do, you let God exercise you in it...

You trust Him in the lions den.

The kindness of God leads men to repentance...I have needed kindness of my own. 
I must show the same kindness, all is grace...

The truth is, the gnashing of teeth, the boiling, and spilling of our own emotions...
God can redeem..
What the enemy intended for evil, 
God redeems for my good. 
Not just "my" good...this is for others too...
As I respond in love, 
His love, by giveing up my own rights, my own life force in exchange for His... 

The life is in the blood...
He took on accusation, betrayal, hate, so can I.
My life is hid with Christ in God.

I have learned many solidifying, valuable lessons from puncture wounds. 
These lessons go deeper to validate the power of God than a life of ease. 
It is easy to love and be loved by the lovely but throw offenses into the mix.. 
There isn't enough strength within a man to respond properly. 
It is a God size problem with a God size solution...
The scenario where He gets the glory
and we get the much needed heart transplant we desire...

I want justice.
I wanted justice...

There is something about my current position, face down in the dirt, that makes me ashamed to have ever climbed upon a pedestal and issued judgement upon anyone or any situation with my limited human reasoning....

This daily consumption of dust, 
this daily knowledge of what I am capable of; my reminder that things are not always what they seem...
It makes me slow.
Slow to judge.
It births compassion...
Just when I feel my hands clench hard upon a throwing stone I am reminded of my potential to be careless and unloving with others either purposefully, or unknowingly... I SLOWLY loose my “entitled” grip on retaliation, self pity, and vindication.

I am in continued need of Grace...And I want to be gracious.

Its the in between process,
where the refiners fire blazes white hot. 
White hot so my desires and actions line up with love, 
matured love.

I believe God gives us discernment. It is what we do with what we think we know that matters. Do we lurk in darkness spreading snares and secretly delighting and hating those in misfortune...or do we look to build the waste places.  We have forgotten our own desolation and need for grace.

Reconciliation. Restoration.

Galatians 6:5
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ
For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
For each one shall bear his own load.

I am told that I am "defended all the time." I didn't know I was in need of defense...
I have been sick... 
What is the trespass I am accused of? And If so, where is the restoration?
Consider how you do this or beware of your own temptation.

We are, to the best of our ability to help carry, not add to anothers load...

What if, like Joseph God has sent me to prepare the road ahead of others.  A road paved in kindness and mercy...Available grace for their time of need.

It is not easy to do the right thing, but it is good to be blameless...I am unharmed in the lions den and I have fellowship with God in the presence of my enemies...No anger, no roots of bitterness to defile others, no victim here!
Yeah God! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Gift Of Words, The Gift of Self

Just when I was feeling all alone, God lifts me up to see that encamped all around me are others...Others with needs of their own and others who are willing to get a little dirty...

Most likely they see their simple actions and attitudes of care as nothing, but their prayers and kind words steady me for the ongoing battle.

God touches the hearts of people...people climb out of the wood work. Old friends, new friends all to bestow Grace. Simple words, words of blessing, words of concern; prayers for me.

Words wrapped as gifts and given at just the right time. I do NOT want to camp at lake pity party, but I make occasional stops there. It is a waste land. It profits me nothing...I read and read and read. I listen, I study, I write my way through the suffering, but the gifts that are given when we give ourselves to others is like nothing we can do for ourselves...

Lord help me to remember the gifts and shared strength..And Lord I beg of you to not let me pass up the opportunity to share words of life with others as you reveal the need!

Thank you all who have ever, or will in the future care about me and mine! You made all the difference in the world!

Friday, March 4, 2011

How To Handle What Is Broken...

Bones can break and Bones can be mended; X-ray's are taken to pinpoint the visible fracture, physical casts are applied, healing begins, and with time; restoration.

Often a season of healing can be restrictive, painful.

Emotional brokenness, you cannot put your hands on it, but you can feel the turmoil reach into your gut, unsettling.

The hands clutch the chest to support a broken heart, though the physical heart is whole.

We are all acquainted with the weight of fear and guilt. We labor under their load.

Emotions...We feel the unseen. 

The unseen sinews pulled out of place and disjointed. 
 If we could, we would, with finite hands, surgically remove painful emotions. 
Perhaps that is why they remain invisible. We would surely bleed to death trying to cut ourselves free.

Don't we run towards things that make us feel good, even unto sin and harm? Why as sure as we would cut out the bad emotions, we would undoubtedly gorge ourselves with the good ones unto sickness. 

Balance speaks of having a season for everything, of taking the good and easy from God's hand as well as the bad and hard He has allowed.

Emotions are temperature gauges; God given... 

They speak of order and disorder. They let us know when it is time to clean house and give thanks.

The x-ray of man's emotions are the lamp of his eye and his countenance. And like bones, they can be mended. They are mended by the word of God, time and the Holy Spirit. 

The word of God divides between soul and spirit..
Words unseen wrap themselves around and penetrate through the ungraspable. They comfort. They mend. 

It takes practice to apply truth...Practice takes time...

It takes intimate fellowship with God to endure the time.

It takes God in other's to encourage the seemingly unencouragable...

Everyone stretched... and hopefully matured...

Sufficient grace and available peace in the storm.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A day in the life...

I was afraid to get up this morning
afraid to spend the energy
I overdid it yesterday.

Funny what fear makes us do.
Yesterday I was afraid to wait...afraid to be patient and watch God reveal the right timing.

I rested early because my boys were getting out of school at noon...
Preparing myself to be the best for them.
Preparing to willingly give parts of me to them.

We talk, they tell me stories of their day.
We laugh, We remember.
They willingly, cheerfully help me prepare food in the kitchen.
Cheerful because we are enjoying one another.
Cheerful because they know they are giving to me;
They bless and fulfill, the bridge the gap of my deep deficit of energy.
They are my hands and feet.

Slowing down...Man comes home...
I have to ask...I hate having to ask...Just know
Can you? Will you?

Here comes the fear...
More than I can do are slow and my energy is on a schedule...
three days, like it's an eternity...
Three days of missed opportunities and me pretending to wait patiently...
energy is on a declining schedule...
I need a few things.
I grab a trustworthy cheerful boy..I wink at him
he wants to help..
we go we two. Him with list in hand and a pen to mark off the collected.
We make haste. He is swift, smart and helpful.
Finished we head for home.

All is as we left it...boys not alone, but unattended
Boys bring in groceries. I put away. Man lifts me from the floor.
Quiet voice...strength fading...
Learner can barely learn, his own thoughts too loud..
I teach him anyway... How to make pancakes from the batter he made...
It takes time, it all takes time. Patience takes time.
I am running out of time.
I sit in closet to restore. I read, I pray, I praise.
I don't want to miss out, I want to share praise and gratitude with the boy that just made supper.
I come out...It is too soon...I make myself stay...
I give thanks and excuse myself..
Sickness, misery, fatigue, fear
it extends into the night, surprisingly well into the night.
It lasts longer than it should considering weakness.
Man puts on praise music for me so I won't fixate on pain.
He seemed glad to do it even though I woke him.
He works to keep his body as far from mine as possible. All movement and jostling is too much right now.
He offers to leave but I want him near. His snoring, even through my earplugs are signs of life...
the yucky sloshes it's way through my dreams...
I awake, afraid to get up,
afraid to spend an ounce of energy.
I don't want to that again.
My days are spent trying to prevent the crash.

I hear squabbling door is left open. I am afraid Man is gone.
Gone without ever hearing the kids need for presence.
Gone without taking my place in the kitchen.

I get up, make my way to the kitchen..
I speak harsh words to his back...He is on the computer...I tell him he is an infidel
An infidel; someone who does not acknowledge God.
I suppose I am one too, regularly.
It doesn't make me feel better, it wastes energy.
He makes breakfast under pressure.

I read a portion of scripture to the boys...Rainen finishes...
We pray. I apologize to them for dishonoring their father.
We are responsible for our reactions.

The Man and I talk later. I tell him I am sorry for the dishonor and that I apologized to boys.
Seventy times seven for us both..forgiving and asking forgiveness
I love him
I want to change him. NOT my job
I Want to change me. Can't...still not really my job...
God in me continues to work in me to Will and to Do His good.
I continue to participate in the process of being right with God and man.
Responding, not reacting.
Peace and tears.
Be anxious for nothing.
I am promised that peace, like a warrior will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus!
I need that.
I am wishing now that I would have just waited longer for the Man to help me get groceries.
Life is never good when I take it by the throat, try to speed it up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pruning...particular, peculiar mercies

The hard things...particular, peculiar mercies....

"In a sense sickness is a place, more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and its always a place where there is no company, where nobody can follow. Sickness before death is a very appropriate thing and I think those that don't have it miss one of God's mercies"
Flannery O'Conner

Prov 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness (sorrow and grief), And a stranger does not share its joy.

There is a point of relating, that holds the sufferer in communion with His maker. A fellowship that cannot be known between finite beings. It is an intimacy that brings rest because He knows in detail our heights and our depths!
Yes, there is nothing new under the sun, no temptation common to man, but at some point only my creator can stand with me, know me, understand me, deal with me, prune me, make room for more life, and heal me. At the end of the day it is God with whom we have to do.
He alone has seen my depths, in fact He has seen them before me. He has been preparing the way all along. He prepares me for Joy that He opens me up to receive. Gifts custom built for me.
He gives as no one could. He speaks the strange language that is me.
Here is an example of His love lessons and communion with me...Through sickness, through the hard.
particular, peculiar mercies....

The garden, my favorite thing about my home, is usually green and lush, reminding me that life and beauty burst forth even in the desert.

Lately, it is constantly on my mind; to prune away the frost damage.

Once green leaves, are now dried and lifeless. Many have dropped to the ground. Some hold their dead leaves tight unwilling to let go, to drop their wounds.

I don't want to prune to soon, leaving them totally naked to the elements.

One afternoon I start. It takes me several days, really ten minutes at a time is all the energy I have to spare. It is an important work. Lessons of life, death, and fruitfulness.

The job is far to big for hand held pruning shears. The damage done requires deep cuts.

I use Dad's hacking hedge trimmer. There is nothing gentle about it. The outer branches yield willingly as they are brittle and full of death. So much has to be taken away. I don't do it to be cruel. I do it because I remember them full of life and I want that again. I cut deep looking for signs of life.

The inner branches begin to wrestle with me. I sigh in relief. At its depth, signs of life, not willing to be broken hold on.

  We spend so much energy trying to keep alive that which belongs in the grave. It's what we know. It is uncomfortable to prune or be pruned, but it is for the Joy set before us that we endure.

The Vine dresser, the lover of my soul prunes away my own frost bitten brokenness.

He cuts away all that is weighing me down, all that prevents me from bearing a crisp clear image of Him. It is painful. It requires deep cuts. A lesser love wouldn't let me wear these momentary grave clothes.

A lesser love, would for personal pain sake, leave me full of death rather than prune me unto barrenness for a season.

God has a vision for fruitfulness for me and the journey through is bareness. I have lost much beauty. There appears to be no fruit.
BUT, there is hope based on facts...The facts of life... that life springs fourth from death....

I thank God with heavy heaving chest and outstretched arms. “Thank you for loving me enough.” More than enough! Enough to die yourself and enough to prune heavily all that is not in my best interest. You are trustworthy.

I keep wanting to get up from writing this...”Sit and write” is what I hear in my heart. A branch of distraction falls to the ground....
I want my own time...My personal time is invaded by a little boy. I choose to share my time, my lap...another branch cut...
branch by branch....multiple branches being sawed...eventual relief. His promised burden is light...lighter than imagined.
branches ever dropping, I call on my men to rake and gather the remnants of the past. We are making room for future life and beauty.

Today I opened my front door to breath air, and embrace blue sky...

My bougainvillea that once towered over me cropped...held within itself two birds...Already signs of life among the barren.