God and Vacations

It was what I needed.  I needed a vacation.  I remember saying that I needed a pause button in life and I really and truly received exactly that.  I would almost say that it was life changing for me.

I met God on that cruise.

I met God through my mother.

I met God through the ocean.

I met God through the beautiful music, through the sunrise, through the sand.

And this is why.  I was so parched and dry and so lost and I was so so ready to feel God.  I was so ready to feel his presence and his life pulsing through me again.  I feel like God poured into  me the oil of his healing  and his life and his presence.  It was as if water and refreshing were poured out onto a really thirsty land.

Did I go into battle as soon as I got home?  You bet I did!  The second I got home actually and it felt like my world was falling apart.  But because of the pause, because I met God, I was strong enough for the battle.  I could carry the heavy sword onto the battleground.

The last day I was there, I remember sitting with my Mom in Central Park reveling in the beauty around us and the cozy spot that we had just discovered and a thought crossed my mind, "I wonder if this is the calm before the storm?"  And I realize now that it was a prophetic thought but that because of the peace and the joy and the laughter that God surrounded me with, I could weather this storm.  I could fight this battle.

So if you aren't lucky enough to go on an amazing cruise, if you aren't lucky enough to go for a week, set aside a day or a morning or an hour to sit and push the pause button.  Sit and breathe.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in the goodness of God and breath out the bad thoughts, the lies, the pain.  Breathe in his grace.  Breathe out condemnation and fear.  Pretty soon you will be breathing in and out his goodness and his love and his grace and  his joy.  And it won't hurt to breathe anymore.  It will feel good to take in big gulps of life.

Find out how you can push the pause button today.

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Purses and Letting Go

I love purses.  I love going to Taiwan and finding beautiful, lovely purses.  I love walking into a store and spotting a wonderful purse.  I love receiving purses.  In fact, I actually get giddy with excitement when someone gifts me with one.   So  consequently, I have a few of them.  I have a rubbermaid bin of purses that I have in my closet and I periodically change my purse out for a different one.  Some time ago,  I was looking at the bin and thinking that when I bought another one,  I would have to get rid of one.  And I have some that I can get rid of.  But it’s really hard to do so.  I have a few that are worn,  they really don’t work as well as they used to and they are definitely older than ones I usually use.  But I have kept them even though their usefulness has worn out.  Probably because I have so many memories attached to that purse or those purses.  Purses to me are like stories,  stories of trips to Taiwan or cruises or tours through New York.  They remind me of struggles I have been through or victories I have wrought.  They remind me of tickets held or beautiful notes from loved ones slipped in to one of the pockets.    They are like pictures, memories if you will.  But all the same,  I have to let go if I want to add a beautiful, more useful purse; if I want to feel the delight of smelling new leather  and seeing shiny accessories hanging from the purse; if I want to feel my heart beating faster as I put the purse on my shoulder and feel the way it tunes in with my body as I walk.

And I think that our lives are like that sometimes.  Sometimes we let our lives get so full of what is not useful to us that we don’t allow those things in that will free us or make us happy.  Sometimes,  we need to let go of that hurt or that worry or that fear,  in order to free our mind for the better things of life.  Sometimes we need to let go of that job we hate in order to find the job we love.  Sometimes we need to let go of bitterness in order to leave room for the freedom to find a new home in our mind.

Maybe it’s not a bad thing that we need to let go.  But maybe we need to simplify or streamline something in our lives.  Maybe we  have to just simply to let go of the good to grab ahold of the best.

A few months ago, we sang a song  in Church.

"Only You"

Take my heart, I Lay it down

At the feet of you whose crowned

Take my life, I'm letting go

I lift it up to You who's throned

And I will worship You, Lord

Only You, Lord

And I will bow down before You

Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear

All I have, I'm leaving here

Be all my hopes, be all my dreams

Be all my delights, be my everything

And It's just you and me here now

Only you and me here now

You should see the view

When it's only You

Sometimes it is hard to let go.  Often it is painful.  That is our stuff.  Those are our memories.  Those are our dreams.   Those things are a part of our life.  But sometimes,  ever once in a while we need to let go so that we can make room for what really needs to be in our lives.

It’s risky to let  go.  It’s daring.  Maybe you will regret it.  Maybe it will lead to unfamiliar territory.  Maybe you will hurt.  Maybe you will find yourself in a broken place.  Letting go is messy.  It’s unpredictable.

  Maybe, just maybe...

There are so many questions; so many variables.

But we need to choose - with trembling hands,  to grab ahold of the courage that it takes to let go.  In 2014,  let’s leap into the new year,  without that which bogs us down,  without that which makes our lives more complicated than it ought.   Let’s give ourselves freedom to be what we need to be - to do what we need to do.  Let’s let go.

What do you need to leave behind in 2013? What do you need to let go of today?

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Did I Really Just Turn Fifty?

I don’t know if it’s because I just turned 50 recently.  I don’t know if it’s because my father in law who I was so close to,  passed away far too early and far too quickly.  Or maybe it is because of betrayals that I have felt so deeply or the shrinking church instead of the growing church or my growing body instead of a shrinking one.  But somewhere along the line,  I feel rattled.  I feel shaken.  Like the ground under my feet is not solid and I am trying to catch my balance.

The other day I sat staring at my computer screen for a long time.  I was supposed to write a resume.  What was I supposed to write?

Dear Whomever it May Concern,  I don’t know how to do anything.  I am not good with Microsoft Word.  I don’t really know anything about the computer.  I haven't done a cash register in years.   I epically fail at any type of directions.  I don’t learn fast and when I do I am certainly not guaranteed to have learned it forever because I may forget tomorrow.   You will need to provide me with lots and lots of paper and pens because I have to write absolutely everything down.  And I can’t for the life of me even know why you would hire me because there are so many out there who could learn so much faster and better than me.  But you could hire me because I really need a job.  And when everyone else around me was going to college and university to learn SOMETHING,  I was having children and raising them.  And when all the others started watching their children grow up so that they could start or continue their careers,  I had more children.  And in between that,  all I have ever done is ministry.  All I have ever done is tell people about Jesus and tell people about how to tell people about Jesus.  That’s been my life.  It's been my single passion.  But please,  oh please, oh please PICK ME!”  Not a very good resume is it?

Before you start feeling sorry for me and for my self esteem,  I really really do know that anyone who hires me will not regret it. The truth is,  I have traveled the world - or a lot of it at least - speaking to churches and praying for individuals and linking arms with communities.  I have walked through muddy waters with people.  I have counselled those with crumbling marriages, abusive situations, those going through tremendous loss and grief.  I have walked with people as they watched their world falling apart around them.  Any employer would be privileged to have me as their employee.  I am conscientious, committed and caring.  I have amazing integrity and I would take a bullet for those that I care about or am entrusted to.  There are a million reasons to hire me and a thousand reasons why any person will be happy they did.  However,  I just don’t have that on a paper of any kind.

  And I am not good at selling myself.  Simply because I haven’t had to up to this point.  I have just lived life.  I am much better at PROVING to someone what an asset I am to the world - or to their world.  I have always been relatively comfortable in my own skin and confident with who I am.  But lately I have found myself completely out of a comfort zone that I have safely built around myself.

My whole married life,  I have supported my husband in what he has done in the ministry.  And I have been raising my children. And while I have not regretted or resented this,  I am terrified of the next step.

But now I look around me and I realize,  it’s time.  It’s time to turn the pages of my life.  It’s time for the next chapter.   In reality,  I am petrified of the unknown.  I hate change.  And although I have experienced it a lot - I also don’t like it a lot.  I am experiencing a lot of change in these days.   My church is changing.  My personal life is changing.  My work life is changing.  Everything around me is changing and I don’t feel ready.  But I know that I am because God says that I am.

I am reminded of a man named Moses who ran into the desert after killing someone.    He was tending his sheep when God came to him in the form of a burning bush and told him to do something that was really hard.   Really really hard.  God wanted him to go back to the place that he ran from, face the man that was trying to kill him and tell Pharaoh  to let his people have freedom.  Pretty crazy.  And Moses told God that he couldn’t possibly do it.  What was God’s response to him? It wasn’t  “Moses,   you can do it.  You have got this.  You have got the goods - the talent, the integrity,  the bravery.”  No,  this is what he said,  “But I will be with you.”

There was another man in the Bible and his name was Gideon.  God told Gideon to form an army and go after the Midianites. Gideon said,  " But God, My clan is the weakest and I am the least in my household."  From the outside with the natural mind, it seemed that Gideon was a really wrong choice.  It seemed crazy.  But do you know what God said?  He said, “But I will be with you.”

You see,  when it comes right down to it,  I don’t think that God needs me to have talent or strength or  credentials or the piece of paper in hand saying that I can do all of these things.   He  just wants me to be willing to step into the next adventure of my life.  He wants me to be willing to do the things he asks me  to do; to answer his call.  He will take care of the rest.

  If God is with me,  I can do really hard things.  If God is with me,  even if it looks silly and impossible and crazy and wild,  I can do it.  If God is with me it - whatever IT is -  will be okay.

When my body is weak at the loss and grief I feel,  I hear God whisper,  “But I will be with you.”  As I stumble into a business with resume in my trembling hands,  I hear God whisper,  “But I will be with you.”  And when my heart gets overwhelmed  with loneliness  I hear God whisper,  “But I will be with you.”

All I need to be is willing to do my best and as I stare out into the dark empty chasm of the unknown,  I can jump because I hear God whispering,  “But I will be with you.”

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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 toes.

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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Leaving My Baby Behind

Motion all around as I step into his classroom.  So much excitement - so much enthusiasm.  And I am leaving my baby behind.  All he wants to do is hug his teacher and get seated at his desk.  Expectancy pierces the air - anticipation wraps its arms around the classroom.  Smiles, squeals of delight, laughter.

I swallow the lump in my throat.  I am leaving my baby behind.  But he is not my baby anymore.  He isn't even a toddler.  He is a big boy now.  Remind me where the years have gone??? I thought it would be much easier by  now...

Hang his backpack up - say a few words to the teacher.

So many excited words are dancing in the air; worried parents are lingering behind.  He has hugged us now and runs off to meet some new friends.  He doesn't need us to stay any longer so we turn to leave.

But it is so hard to leave my baby behind...

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I am Not Ready

I feel like I am frantically running after summer, my arms flailing - screaming for it NOT to go;  pleading for it not to pass me by.  I am so not ready for it to be fall.  I am so not ready for Sean to go back to school.

I had so many hopes and plans for the summer; days of lazing in the sun; weekends away hiking up mountains and camping in tents underneath the starlit sky, nights of sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and making up schmores.  The truth is,  I didn't do any of it.   And it was not any ONE thing or reason - it was a combination of all kinds of reasons why the summer didn't look like the one we started out with in our hearts.

In all honesty,  I am just not ready for all kinds of things that are currently happening in my life.

I am not ready to see my last child grow up.  I am not ready to see my parents aging or for my first grandchild to be so grown up;  I am certainly not ready to turn 50 in a few months.  I am so not ready.

There are so many things that I should have done by now.  There are so many things that I should have done this summer.

But I have found that it doesn't matter if I am not ready.  Time still comes and goes all too quickly.   It sizzles and dances and screeches past you and if you are not careful - if you are not really intentional with your life, you CAN miss it.  Or you can miss bits and pieces of it you wish that you hadn't. 

Days, weeks, months and even years soar by - boldly and unashamed - waiting for no one.  It's almost cruel actually.

Often I look at Sean who is seven and I have to pinch my arms and shake my head.  Where did those years go?  How did he grow up under my nose?  I remember it like it was just yesterday - holding this tiny human being in the crook of my arm - my heart so very full of gratitude.

I want to be intentional with my life.  I want to build memories and play and love life even in the pain, even in the really  hard parts of the journey,  because this day,  this moment will never be mine to live again.  It will never be mine to enjoy again.

I want to build my life - brick by brick and be proud of what I have built in the end.  I want my heart song to be that of hope and freedom and deliverance - even in the moments I feel hopeless and locked up.  Because those are the moments; those are the days I want to remember - the days I clung onto hope even when it looked bleak; the days I sang the song of triumph even when I felt my feet sinking.

I want to clear my mind of all the muckiness of negativity and worry and pain and anxiety that locks me into isolation.  I want to throw off every thought, every criticism, every insecurity that would bring  darkness to my day.  Those are all things that clutter up the mind;  make the day messy; inhibit me from capturing what I need to capture.   I want my heart clean and clear of all those things so that I can love deeply,  so that I can enjoy fully.

So,  I am not ready.  I am not ready for all of the changes going on around me but it's okay.  It's okay because I am going to put my head down and run as hard and fast and crazy as I can; I am going to run with purpose and intention and dignity.  And I am going to give this thing we call LIFE,  150%!

Ready or not...

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The Morning After

The morning after a large party I am always exhausted;  but it’s a good kind of exhaustion - the kind where you worked really hard and you were really successful.  So my back is stiff - my muscles are aching but my heart is full.  I have a smile on my face as I clean up the remains of a beautiful evening of sharing hearts and lives.  Potato chips still plopped in bowls and laid on the table,  strawberry creme soda with ice long melted in forgotten cups scattered around the four levels of my house,  crumpled and twisted napkins here and there, a lonely baby blanket that never found its way back to the toy box, chairs everywhere making room for more guests, more friends.

Three balloons hover shamelessly above the buffet table reminding me of a beautiful night with great friends and a lovely family.  It was a perfect evening. It was sweltering hot and the house seemed too tiny to fit the 50+ people that graced my house last night. But it was magical.  And I will tell you why.  It was magical because we shared a special evening and a special day with family and friends.   There were friends here that we get together with all the time currently and this season of our lives.  There were friends here that were in our lives deeply years ago and even though we don’t spend a lot of time together now,  even though our paths don’t cross often,  we always feel a bond when we get together with them.  We always feel a connection.

Last night I took a moment to look around.  So many stories behind each face I see.  Some have gone through some really tough waters, cruel waves that threatened to sweep them under - all at one time or another have clung tightly to the grace of God to get them through a tough day or a tough week or tough years.  I have so much to learn from these friends - so much to gain from walking hand in hand across the bumpy terrain;  the bumpy bits of life.  How blessed I am.

With all the memories that we have made over the years with these beautiful souls, with all the bits of our lives that we have shared with them, last night we added one more special day - my husbands 50th birthday.

I love the sound of laughter in a big group of people; I love the bumping into people when our house is too crowded; the shining eyes, the sharing of hearts and ideas and opinions and dreams and fears.

I want my home to be a place of safety; a place of shelter and peace from the storms of life - always ready to accept the messy people, the broken people as well as the beautiful and the whole.   I want my home to be that place where you are safe to walk through really tough times;  you are safe to bare your soul; you are free to be that person you are even if you haven’t become that person you long to be.  I want my heart to always be open.  Never closed and hiding and waiting for life to be perfect.  I want to my heart to always be searching for that person that needs me; that person that needs hope and that person that needs grace.  I want to be the bridge that brings them across to freedom; to being whole.  I want my heart to live there - right there helping people, right there rolling up my sleeves and ready to work, ready to be involved with the good and the bad, the unlovely and the gracious.

So today,  I don’t have a lot of money,  but my heart feels rich.  We don’t have a huge house but our lives are huge and deep and driven with precious memories and sacred times with lovely friends.  And last night was perfect.

Thank you my friends.

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Happy Birthday Jeremy!

It is my husbands 50 birthday today.  When he woke up I asked him how it felt to be 50 and he said that it didn't feel much differently than 49.  But I am a little bit anxious because I am coming up to my 50th birthday soon.  Fifty seem like the age where you should have it all together; where your ducks should be in a row for sure.  And I definitely still have quite a few roaming ducks who are not cooperating. I told him how I was feeling and he said,  "Well thank you for having a panic attack in my stead; feeling anxious about our age."  Because he wasn't feeling it.  He isn't anxious.  One thing I can say about Jer is that he ages gracefully.  I have seen so many things cross his path and so many obstacles come his way and he is as steady as steady can be.  He is the epitome of strength.  Not because he has felt pressured into it; not because he has felt that he didn't have permission to be weak, because I have seen those moments too.  But because he doesn't buy into the drama of life.  And what I mean by that is that he doesn't get carried away by the drama because there is always drama and certainly in our lives over the years we have seen our fair share of the difficult, painful, and very hard seasons.  But he doesn't get swept away.  He often reminds me that there is a bigger picture.  He often points me to the One who cares and who carries us.  And I can be panicked about something and completely torn apart and as soon as he walks in the room, I feel safe.  There is safety in his presence.  That's part of his authority - that safety that he will know what to do - he will know how to respond to this situation in a way that reveals grace and the bigger picture of our journey of life.

We have been through the storms of life and I am not sure what I would have done without him; without his steadfast faith in God and his overwhelming faithfulness to me and our marriage.

I always encourage women out there to wait for the man that will fulfill everything that God wants fulfilled in a marriage.  I always tell them to wait for Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now.  and it might take a little time and you might be lonely for a season but that's okay.  I read today that you can't learn how to rise above loneliness until you have truly learned the true beauty and worth of enjoying the alone times.

This is true and the reward for finding that soul mate, that person who will roll up his sleeves and walk every part of the journey with you is incredible. The reward is so worth it in every important way.

I applaud my husband today for being the man he is; for standing up for the passions in his heart; for being the steadfast strength that he is - not just to me but to so many; for being the example of what a husband, what a father, what a pastor, what a man should be.

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child oh so many years ago.  I was in the hospital a month before he was due because I was very ill with toxemia.  I had just found out from a nurse that I would probably have to have a c-section.  I was terrified.  I was alone when she told me and then she left.  She was gone and I was shaking and crying; not knowing what the future held or if my baby was truly ok or not.  I was beside myself.  I felt that I couldn't go through the next phase of life; I couldn't possibly do it and I knew that somehow the baby had to come out.  The nurse gave me a phone to locate my husband and I remember within minutes  he was running to my room with his guitar in his hands.   The minute that he walked through that door,  the minute I saw his face and his bright red curly hair,  my world was all right.  In that very moment,  I knew that I could do it.  I knew that with him by my side,  I could do it because he would be with me and he would make sure everything was just as it should be.  He sat by my bed, took out the guitar and sang to me until the nurses kicked him out long after visiting hours were over.

  When he left,  my roommates had tears in their eyes and they  mentioned how lovely, how peaceful his singing was and how fortunate I was to have married such a wonderful man.  But I already knew that.  I really did and 30 years later, I still do.

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!!

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Orange Elephants

The other day Dylan, my older son was talking to Sean, my seven year old son about the use of word association to remember important things. In trying to explain it, he said, " I was having this same conversation with Mom the other day. Do you remember that Mom?" He directed the question to me.

I looked at him blankly. No, I didn't remember at all. In fact I had no idea what he was talking about. He got a little frustrated. " Don't you remember? You HAVE to remember! We had a whole conversation about it and you were sitting on the couch and I was sitting on the chair." No. I didn't remember at all. I was pretty sure that it was someone else he had been talking to and it was HIM who had forgotten.

Then that night I was laying in bed and suddenly it hit me. But not everything. Only a little smidgen of the conversation and it being about word association to help aid your memory. I laid there for the longest time trying to remember the full conversation but couldn't. It just wouldn't surface in my mind. It was as if it was right there, but just got caught in amidst all the other thoughts jumbled in my head.

The next day when I saw Dylan, I exclaimed, " Dylan I DO remember the conversation. Part of it. It was a color. I think it was blue. Something to do with blue monkeys maybe???"

Dylan shook his head and chuckled, " No, it wasn't blue monkeys. It was orange elephants!"

Suddenly it clicked!! It was!! It was orange elephants. When I thought of orange elephants it was supposed to make me remember what I was supposed to remember!!

" But what was I supposed to remember when I thought of orange elephants?" I asked Dylan.

" I have no idea" he said, " that was for YOUR memory; YOUR word association, not mine."

So now, I am wandering around, wracking my brain, trying to remember what orange elephants was supposed to be helping me remember. And I think it was mildly important.

Did I invite someone over?
Was it someone's name?
Was it to remember a password?
Was it to remember an invitation?
More importantly, did I already miss it or forget it or misplace it?

All I have running around in my brain is orange elephants and nothing else - it's blank, completely totally a blank. And it is honestly driving me wildly crazy.

I may be wrong but, I think that the word association trick is not a good fit for me. Haha.

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Tears are a Language

When I was really young,  about 7 years old,  I was at a school picnic.  The day was beautiful and everything seemed so happy around me and the air was clean and fresh and the weather was pristine  and then suddenly the day turned on me.    My “friend” decided to not be my friend anymore.  To this day,  I don’t know why except that at that age,  girls and kids in general can be really cruel and mean and this was that type of day.  She just announced that she wasn’t going to be my friend anymore and then my other friend decided that she would “follow” her instead of me because everyone has to pick sides you know at that age.  And then suddenly the innocent, fun game of running around on the grass,  pulling bits of grass and throwing it at each other got really mean and they started  throwing it in my hair and trying to pull my hair at the same time, or throwing it down my shirt and humiliating me.  It was one of those nightmare days that a 7 year old remembers for the rest of her life - or at least until she is my age.  I felt so utterly alone and depleted.  I felt like an outcast; like life would never again be the same for me. 

Hurt and raw and so full of sadness for the day,  I trudged home wearily,  feeling totally defeated.  The day wasn’t beautiful anymore.  In fact,  it was cruel.     I cried,  hot tears welling up inside of me and spilling down my cheeks.  I talked to God and sobbed some more.

 Suddenly, in the midst of the sobs came a song.   A song my Mom and sister used to sing as we traveled to churches.   It was called “Tears are a language God understands”.    More tears came; more sobbing  but this time,  because I knew in the very core of my being that Jesus understood.  He understood my tears,  he saved them in a bottle because he cared that much for me.  He understood rejection.  He understood the cares and pains of the world and ugliness and the meanness and the stabbing hurt that people inflict on others and he just calmed my spirit right then.  Right there,  I knew that it was going to be ok.  Because I had a God walking beside me - sort of like a big brother and that if he cared for me, if he loved me,  if he died for me,  it would be ok.  I could go through life rejected and scorned and unloved because he didn’t reject me.  He didn’t scorn me and he definitely loved me enough to die for me.

And today,  again,  I found myself crying.   I didn’t even know what to say to Jesus.  So much to be said but not enough words to articulate it.  Not enough ways to describe what my spirit is going through at times.  I just cried and in a little spot of my spirit,  I said a tiny prayer - not even audibly I don’t think.  “Help” is all I said.  And then I remembered again that beautiful little, powerful song that I remembered when I was little.  Tears are a language that  He understands.  So true. 

Maybe we don’t have the words to voice what is going on.  Maybe the pain is too deep, too raw even to put into words,  even to face that it is happening in your life right now.  Maybe it seems too hopeless and you seem utterly helpless in your situation.  Maybe,  just maybe you see no way out - you are stuck in a really sad corner of your world with no solution, or your loved one is,  and you just don’t know what to do.  I want to tell you that Jesus understands your pain.  He understands the deepest parts of your heart.  He understands everything about you and he understands what will get you unstuck and what will rescue you and what will bring that joy back in your life.

  I don’t mean the “hahaha” laughter,  I don’t mean the fleeting happiness - I mean the real, tangible gut filling joy even in the midst of really really hard moments in your life.  They are there.  I have felt them myself and even today reached up to grab it for my own spirit.

If He is there,  if He understands,   if He is walking beside me and behind me and ahead of me - I am ok.  I really am ok.

 And so will you be.  

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