Together

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I know all the "Sunday School" answers. (And I believe them as well.) I know God's mercy and His strength - I know that he will sustain me and I know that he is good all the time

But mostly today,  I just feel really really sad.  And really empty - an emptiness that reaches down to my toe.

If I have learned anything in this season is that you should never go through life alone.  You should never live alone - isolated, in your own bubble,, with walls around you.  Because if you live alone, you will die alone.

When we first found out about Dad's cancer, I remember a sacred moment very well.  Dad was talking to Jeremy and he looked up at him,  eyes pleading,  "What are we going to do now?"  Jeremy took his Dad's tired hand in his and said,  "We will put one foot in front of the other, we will hold hands and make it through - step by step; just how we've weathered every other storm.  Together.”

I applaud that.  Everything about Dad's life has been together - helping, strengthening, encouraging, building.  His life's passion is for others.

If you don't have someone to walk through life with - find someone.  Live your life with an open heart and outstretched hands.

The doctors say that Dad is dying.  If I am to be honest,  I don't know yet what Jesus says.  But I know what I see.  I see a man vulnerable, weak and tired - and really ready for this journey to be over - one way or the other.  But I will tell you what else I see.  I see a man who threw his whole entire life into the passions of Christ.  I see a man who knows who he is in God.  I see a man who knows his God well and knows His people very well too.

But mostly, I see a man who lived his whole life with arms outstretched, palms up - inviting one more person into his life - one more people group into his world - always building the bridge between man and God; his life's purpose.

So I don't have all the answers.  In fact, today, I don't feel I have any of the answers.  But the one thing I do know is that I don't want to live life alone.  I want to go through pain together.  I want to go through joy together.  I want to tear the walls down around me, to live my life poured out for others.  Because if I don't live alone,  I won't die alone.

I believe in community.  I believe in walking hand in hand with those around me; in sharing my tears and my deep fears.  I believe in linking arms and leaping or treading into the unknown.  

I believe in TOGETHER.

 

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Healing Tears

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The other day when I walked out of Walmart I was literally struck with a sky that took my breath away.

I love beautiful skies.  They move me.  They get me right in the heart.  But this one was different on so many levels.  I NEEDED what I saw.

I snapped a couple of pictures with my iphone and then heart racing (yes, thats what sky pictures do to me) rushed my van to another parking lot to see if I could see it better.  As I stepped out of the van, to my amazement the entire sky was spectacular.  What I had set out to look at was beautiful enough with its hues of soft fuzzy pinks and blues - sort of like a baby shower or a soft baby blanket.  But as I turned around I actually gasped.  There were clouds that looked like they were exploding with fire.  There were rays streaming from all different directions in the sky and other clouds that looked like the tips had been dipped in exquisite gold.  It was fantastic.  It was  as if the sky was literally alive.

I stood not even knowing which way to look.  I stared,  awestruck.  It felt sacred to me.  In the very deepest part of my soul,  I knew I was having a moment with God.  Heaven touched me.  God breathed life into me.  He took my tender heart and held it in His vast and strong hand. 

And right there in the parking lot of the liquor store  at Superstore,  with cars whizzing past me and people milling around,  I wept.  I wept and I wept and I wept.  Healing tears- like smooth ointment on a newly cut wound; or water on a really really scorching hot day.   It was as if a dam had broken within my belly and I couldn’t hold the tears in any more.  I was so deeply moved and so deeply touched that even now,  I feel it.   All of the pain and the stress and the worry and grief and the questions flowed out of me.   With tears streaming down my face,  I was completely, absolutely overcome with gratitude -  for my family; for my heart friends, for love,  for so many things in my life.

But mainly I wept because the God who made those clouds and made that sky and made the whole beautiful earth is my friend.  I felt like He had painted the sky just for me that night,  that moment in time.

Healing in my heart, refreshed in my spirit,  after a long pause,  I went home a stronger woman. 

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Cancer

 

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Everywhere I look I see cancer.  I see cancer in the sky, in the air, in the sun.  Every moment fills my mind with all the hurt and pain of what I see my father in law going through right now.  I try to look ahead.  I try to think of something to say other than subjects with death and dying and cancer, and life, and deep subjects and I can’t.  I try to write about peaceful things, ordinary moments and all my words seem hollow.  

I go to Walmart and people are laughing and skipping and talking and loving the life they are in and I wonder how they could.  I wonder how anyone could go on with life in that way.  I wonder why the world hasn’t stopped.  Because mine has.  I wonder why everyone is walking faster than I am.  I wonder why life is going on without me.  

Cancer is vile and ugly and mean.   There is nothing about it that is remotely ok.  

And then I read Ps. 46:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though it’s waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
 the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within,
she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
 he lifts his voice, the earth melts
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress...
He says, “Be still and know that I am God…”

 

THE LORD ALMIGHTY IS WITH US; THE GOD OF JACOB IS OUR FORTRESS.

  And I realize that Jesus is enough.

  He is enough to get me through my day. 

  He is enough to get me through my moment. 

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It's Not Too Late

 

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Lately I have been walking around in a bubble.  We all know what that feels like.  Disbelief, anger, and grief.  So much grief.

When the doctor comes to you with a bad report, a really nasty one,  it’s like someone has cut off your arms and legs and left you to die.  Not only do you feel so helpless, you are literally OVERCOME with hopelessness; like an elephant is sitting on your chest.

Last night as I was laying in bed,  I was remembering lives that have gone on before.  Lives cut way too short from cancer, meningitis, strokes.  My best friend, my good friend, my friends parents, and the list goes on.   I began to feel overtaken with grief and weariness.  Weary to the bone.  

 Suddenly out of nowhere I remembered something.

Many years ago, before we had Sean we wanted one last child.  I had 4 miscarriages.  When I had the last miscarriage,  the doctor sat us down and told us that my body could handle as many miscarriages as we had.  That it wasn’t hard on my body.  But he said that we needed to make a decision as to how many our heart could handle.  We understood that and we decided that our heart couldn’t handle another loss.  It was just too hard. 

Two years later found us in England ministering to Churches.  I began to suspect that I was pregnant.  To say that I was terrified can’t even begin to describe what my heart and emotions were going through.  All I could think of is what it would be like to miscarry in another country I wasn’t familiar with. Away from my friends.  Away from my family and my doctor.  I began to wonder if I was going to miscarry while I was speaking in a church or in the middle of the night.  Was this one going to be worse and complicated and could it be life threatening?  Was I even safe?    I couldn’t do anything; be anywhere without that gnawing fear in the back of my mind.  When was it going to happen??  How was it going to happen?  Why here,  Lord?  Why now? I had given up by dream.  I had let it go.  Wasn’t that enough?  It seemed cruel to me; the timing, the situation, everything.   

Then one day I was laying in bed and the Lord spoke to me.  Clearly.  Not in an audible voice but in my spirit.  He said,  “Dare to believe.  Dare to believe that your dreams of having another child will be fulfilled.  Dare to believe that THIS time will be different. Dare to Believe that you will carry this one to full term. ”   I couldn’t shake the words.  It shocked me.  I am sorry to say that I hadn’t even thought of that as an option.   

Immediately I grabbed ahold of those words and I clung to them.  They were in fact life to me.  Dare to Believe.  

And in the end I held a beautiful boy in my arms.  But I had to take it one second, one minute, one day at a time. I gathered around  me encouragers and supporters so that they could spur me on if I got stuck.  

So today I choose to DARE to believe that this time cancer will be different.  Today I choose to believe that God will raise my father in law up from his bed of sickness.  

To dare is risky.  To dare is scary; it’s like laying your heart down on a bed of rocks - bare and vulnerable.  But today I raise the sword and I DARE to believe.

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Everything Is Not Okay

 

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There are seasons in the journey of life where everything is not ok.  I am not talking about the bad days where everything seems to be going wrong.  Your car doesn't start, your dog runs away or you get into a fight with your best friend.  I am talking about those stretches in your life where your heart hurts - where the hurt reaches to your toes.

You go through life because you have to.  You put one foot in front of the other simply because you are not dead - at least your physical body isn't.  You smile with your lips but your heart is crying.  You act ( to strangers) like everything is ok.  But everything is just not ok. 

Things move and swirl and dance around you - but you're in a bubble.  You're not in that world anymore.  Things look different, dull and lifeless.  Forever different.  And you are not ok. 

And then out of nowhere, for seemingly no reason, comes a moment - a tiny moment - where things are ok.   Not wonderful or beautiful or even happy - but ok.  And somewhere deep in your soul is that glimmer of hope that there will indeed be other tiny moments where you are ok. 

This was that moment for me.

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