Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Love-Hate Relationship

So again, I'm still pondering the big things that happen in our lives, why they happen & when the heck it will stop! I've had a great week....truly, honestly it was a hard week, but I can also say that it has brought me some peace & clarity to my other days that weren't so great. I'm sure you're wondering now too, what is this love-hate relationship that this post is titled after...well, it's a love-hate relationship I have with death & dying. Odd eh? I'll come to accept me as I am. On one hand, death really sucks. It does! For those of us who have to endure the after effects of someone close dying, it's something you don't want to face, let alone feel. Jesus felt the pain of friends dying, listen to this: "When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 'Where have you laid him?' he asked. 'Come and see, Lord,' they replied. Jesus wept." (John 11:32-35) I know he knows our pain, our tears & the heartache one feels when someone leaves us here… Also, on the same thought, death is so uncertain. "Isaac said, 'I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death.'" (Genesis 27:2) Part of me likes to think that God knows I'm having a hard time, and wouldn't take my Grandma away right now, because it would basically kill me. But really, is that how death works? Can we control it? Can we find a "good time" for someone to die? Isaac knew this wasn't true, and even Solomon did when he writes..."In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) We cannot know what God's plan for us is...when we'll die or how. Alright, onto the Love this is why I love death: That is when we will be joined together with our Heavenly Father, to eternally praise & worship together as a family of Christ. We will walk alongside the river of life & bask in the light of God's glory. We will taste the fruits that were unknown to us & rejoice in the blessings God had poured on us during this earthly life. We will experience something not known to man, something so beautiful it is beyond our comprehension! My Grandpa is there, my friend Julie is there, the siblings I've never met are there, I believe my other friends & family too shall be there. In a sick & rather twisted way, I know that my Grandma would like to be finished with this torment, the pain and agony of each day passing without holding onto my Grandpa's hand...I do not want to be selfish & pray for her to stay here for me, because I know she's in pain....and wants to go.'s a love-hate relationship....while I hate the effects of death here on earth, I know that for those who have put their whole faith & trust in Christ Jesus as their Savior will rejoice the second they have departed us. For that, I say bring it on. (But Christ, I'm trusting in you to be there when it comes....for I will need you.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Frustrations & Faith

I can't speak, so I will let the thoughts in my head come out through the only truth I can grasp at this point. "Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say."--Job 23 (excerpts)I'm doing this today....feeling like "God, what is going on here?" You know me, and you know I'm a fixer, a thinker, an analyzing maniac .....what am I supposed to be learning through this? There is hope, I know that...I don't feel it right now, but I know there is....but where? What am I supposed to think, feel, grasp, say, etc.? "Lord, you have searched me and you know perceive my thoughts from hem me in--behind and before; Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."--Psalm 139:1-10 (excerpts) This gives me hope in knowing that no matter how frustrating or far I feel that I've gone, how deep my despair, He is still with me.....if I don't have words or emotions to express the way I feel or the things I'm thinking, He knows them & it's okay. When I don't even comprehend the thoughts & feelings flooding my eyes, He sees clearer than I ever will & understands."Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." --Romans 12:21Remembering the goodness of Christ, the grace He has given, gives me hope for tomorrow and peace for today. Despite the storms that rage against me, He alone is my rock & my salvation. With Him, what can come against me? Though I may stumble & fall, He will lift me up with his righteous right hand & guide me in the paths of righteousness. He will provide for me & comfort me. Say what you need to say

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just a Little Thing

Just thought I'd share today. This weekend, I went & visited a friend. I was all alone when I got there. It was peaceful, the breeze was slightly blowing & the smell of the sun drifted around me. As I sat down on the grass beside her, I started to cry. Not harsh tears, but silent & slow raindrops from within my soul. You see, my friend wasn't really there....just the shell, but I had a conversation despite the fact I was physically alone. It was one of the best conversations I had...and I joked that I probably spoke more in that conversation than I ever had with her! ;-) It's just a little thing, but sometimes voicing things out loud, saying what you need to say and doing it in the stillness of the setting afternoon, can cause you to release some of your loneliness, some of your grief. It's not like I'll hear a response, it's not like I'll get any opinions or feedback, but just saying stuff really felt good. I wish I could have this freedom with all of my friends, when they're still alive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Craziest Thing

It's a funny thing when people or situations around you just happen to turn out funny. It's nothing you can plan on or hope for....but somewhere deep down you always do! You can't plan on those things like choking on falafel cause you're laughing so hard and at that exact moment a Jewish midget happens to walk past your window! Or like when you're playing a game of Mexican Train with your grandpa who just had a stroke & as he's moving the train forward he says "tweet tweet"! These moments are priceless....funny, hysterical and worth so much in memories. Then there are those moments where you're laughing at this lady dancing her heart out to some crazy music and realize that she doesn't have a care in the world right now and you would LOVE to be in her shoes. Or moments when people you've never met come to you with a message they believe is from God...and they speak into what you'd been praying about all day but hadn't told a soul! But the craziest thing, is that tonight, after a day of secluding myself in silence (pretty much), I went home to watch the Bucket List. As I cried through the end of "The Bucket List," all I wanted was some water & maybe something sweet. SO I went to my kitchen, got a big glass of water & reached into my "stash" to get a piece of Dove chocolate. As is my custom, I always fully unwrap the chocolate before looking at the phrase beneath. And what was the message I found? "Make a list of your dreams." I laughed, I stared and then cried because somewhere deep inside I just needed to hear someone, something, anything encouraging at that moment. I just wanted to know someone was there & there He was....providing a little comfort & humor in the moment I needed it. A little reminder that God is in every moment of our lives....directing & navigating our path to His good will...and through His good sense of humor!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Be Still

Getting on with life is hard to do if you keep yourself busy. This is something I am very good at...keeping busy. Sometimes it is an effect of too much caffeine. Sometimes it is the effect of being a perfectionist. Sometimes it is an effect of too much grief.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

But I can’t be still, I keep moving, keep turning, keep looking, keep mourning, keep doing WHATEVER it is that puts itself in front of me to do, so that I don’t have to look to my right or left & watch my life unfold before my eyes.

But I don’t want to be still, I don’t want to sit down, stop talking, quit moving, leave my work unfinished so that I can take time to ponder what is happening around me.

I am afraid to be still, to quiet myself before His feet & weep uncontrollably for the anguish I feel. It scares me to become vulnerable and open, letting my true heart unravel in His hands so that He can restore it in a new way, a whole way, a complete way, that is mended by Him alone. Brokenness is not something I desire, not something I always strive for, but something my heart is aching for.

Can I be still & know that He is God? Listen to the words of a precious hymn that has given me perspective in other difficult times. Maybe it will touch you also.

Speak Lord in the stillness, While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen In expectancy.

Speak, O blessed Master, In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord, Feel Thy touch of power.

For the words Thou speakest, "They are life, indeed;
Living bread from heaven, Now my spirit feed."

All to Thee is yielded, I am not my own;
Blissful, glad surrender- I am Thine alone.