Friday, November 29, 2013

For Last Night

Listening to Joni Mitchell's River.  A Christmas-y song, but sad, and it suits me tonight.  You do what you have to do in life, and for the blessing of this job, Dave has to go on to Washington before me.  Because of circumstances, I must remain until the end of Jan.  So in the funk that settled upon my heart with the sinking of the sun, my snowball is growing bigger and bigger.  

Rather than think about each issue that lies ahead with so many things, I will just let the sadness and loss wash over me.  Resistance makes one miserable and false happiness just looks ridiculous and is more for others than one's self.  

This is what surrender looks like.  A complete and utter realization that you just can't do what's required without help.  Especially during the holidays.  Every ad is targeting sales with glitz and noise, families that are blessed with relative peace are looking forward to the festivities.  And don't get me wrong, I adore Christmas, yes because we celebrate the birth of the One who is everything, but also because I become a child again and am filled with wonder at the sights and sounds around me.  But this Christmas will be different.  Winter has come to my soul.  I am feeling a frost and weakness i've not experienced heretofore.  

As some of you know, we were raised with John Wayne.  You just suck it up and go forward, and ultimately that is exactly what i'll do.  But tonight I just feel I can't.  I am humbly asking my Lord to carry me through the next few months.  So many things swirl through my mind and I get overwhelmed.  I am separated from a part of my heart for at least 2 more years and that is with me every single day.  Letters pleading for help I am unable to give right now.  But I digress, many, many have heartbreak in their lives at present and are handling it with far more grace than I.  

I guess my issue is the feeling that I am not up to the task.  There's a sense of urgency in this 59-year-old woman's heart that fears the best is not yet to come, but rather it's too late for it to happen at all.  There's the rub.  The loss, the loss.  Loss of youth, loss of trust years ago, loss of opportunities, loss of guts to get it done, loss of a spirit around me that could fill my heart with joy, who ultimately swallowed it up in darkness and despair.

Because I know how He operates, I await the change.  Some way, as if magical, the Spirit will gently, without my knowing really, take this sorrow and carry it for me and hope will begin to grow again.  I trust in this and cooperate fully, I go to Psalms and the healing begins.

But for tonight there is no instigation, only surrender.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Club No One Wants to Belong To

At thousands of tables today there are those absent.  If it's military, you honor their absence, if deceased you do the same.  Then there are those of us with children in prison.  What do you do with that?

There are some kids who were trouble their whole life and you just almost figured that's where they'd wind up.  Then there are those like my Josh.  A little troubled, but enough good that you hope they make it without having to go through that.  

But he didn't make it.  He chose to do something so horrible that society says, and rightfully so, that he must be kept away from the general public.  

On holidays I remember past ones spent with him.  He would show up all in black and edgy, tall and handsome, swagger in with that grin and everyone would welcome him and love on him.  And most of the hearts doing the welcoming were spending significant time in prayer for his life, his soul.  I will try to find and post a song that sounds as though it was written by someone who knew him.  

What to do with these lost people.  You see the potential, you see sparks of hope, and yet, they seem determined to self-destruct.  And the holidays come and the holidays go, leaving a part of you empty and sad.  That spirit, that presence, not here and not only not here, but in the most awful place you can imagine, especially for your beloved child.

I miss him more on this day than Christmas.  Thanksgiving is always so easy and everyone is so light-hearted, it suited him really.  My heart is so heavy for him these days.  I get letters and rejoice at the growth they seem to hold, I get letters that make me so angry I feel it is hopeless.

So I am thinking of all the moms in particular who look around their tables today and though they are with their families, cooking and preparing and celebrating the day, there is a secret place inside that is weeping over the empty chair in their heart.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Valley Walkers

I grew up in church, and i'm sure I was ignorant of a lot that went on behind the scenes.  Many who claim the name of Christ do things that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Bible, or do nothing.  

When I moved to Oregon from California to be near my mom and brother, who was the pastor of Calvary Church of Grants Pass, I had no idea of the family that would adopt me as one of their own.  To his credit, my brother lives what he preaches and is beloved by many, and I was accepted and loved because of it.

Fast forward from 2003 to 2008, Dave & I got married.  Dave is a smart guy, holds an MBA, military, etc. but could not find work no matter how hard he tried.  He took temporary jobs when he could get them, would help friends, who were then kind enough to pay him for his help, etc.  But we have had virtually no income for all this time, save these temp jobs and the unemployment we could claim because of them.  There are miracles to tell of, and I intend to when settled in WA.

My point of this is to say that I stand in awe at the love we've been shown.  Through my brother's pastoring, to the new pastor, through the body of believers we have aligned ourselves with.  The constant love and support over a span of 6 or so years, has been incredible and never-changing.  We are pretty transparent and share whatever's happening and we were always asked how we were doing, what was happening, etc.  Time and again we have received literal financial help, but always, always love and concern.  These brothers and sisters have walked through the valley with us, unflinching, never avoiding us or throwing trite cliches our way.  We have been met with only true, sincere care and love.

The church, ever under a microscope, and allowed very little slack, is alive and well in Grants Pass.  We have lost saints over the years and we miss them all the time (think of you so often Georgie in particular), and our body seems to have an inordinate number of them.  So, through the personalities, occasional blunders (obviously including ourselves too), you have people that "get it."  When you look in their eyes as they speak with you, you see Christ.  The familiar looking back at you.  The love and questions genuine and pulling for you.  These people have meant everything to me during this time.  Some weeks they have been the thing that kept me going, and they didn't even know it.  But He knew it.  Our Lord who knows all and is in complete control.

When I look back, as far as 7 years ago, as recently as yesterday, this Family has meant the world to me.  They have lightened our load, made us feel loved and cared for, shared equally in our joys.  There just are no words to explain it or to express our gratitude.  All I can do is think of the faces and all we've been through with these precious people, and all they've been through as well, and ask our Lord to bless them for all they've done, for being our family.  The Lord spoke often about loving one another and they do. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unpopular Subject ~ Sin

As I read the daily devotion today by Anne Graham Lotz, experience the same thing.  At times I just feel dry, or that God is being silent...and sometimes He is, but this is not that.  This is a feeling that He is calling to me, but I just can't reach Him.  I read the Word, I pray, but all falls flat.  As I read her devotion, they are always short, but packed with wonderful inisghts, I realized those times are when I haven't confessed my sin and asked for forgiveness.

I think as a woman who's been a Christian most of my life, there probably isn't a lot of blatant outside sin and I am lulled into a kind of apathy about it.  But I know, more importantly, He knows, my thought life and my heart life, both can be chock-full of sinfulness.  When I ask Him to examine my heart, my motives, there are always issues to be looked at.  And leaving those "undone" for too long hinders my relationship with a God that is holy and cannot abide any kind of sin.  Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  So I read the Word, but miss, or worse, ignore its promptings to repent.  

I'm serious, it doesn't take longer than about 2 seconds to think of a thought or idea I had that was not pleasing to Him and not consistent with my walk.  By the above verse, I can rest in knowing He will always let me know when there is something in me that He wants to change.  Old ways of thinking and feeling, wrong ways, He wants to make right, in accordance with His Word, with who He is, and He is love.  (I John 4:8.)  

Far from being an angry father, ready to punish and withhold His love, He stands ready to forgive, arms open wide, ready to embrace and I can be awash in all this love and mercy, and beyond, all I have to do is ask.  Let me remember to do so a lot more often.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I have seen a few things on Facebook these days about the homeless and struggling.  The implication is that they are lazy, that's why they are in the state they're in.  While i'm certain this is true in some cases, here are some truths I also know firsthand.

As most of you know, Dave has been unable to find permanent work for over 6 years.  He's very intelligent, has a great work ethic and holds an MBA.  Through the kindness of family and friends, above all, the Lord working through them, we have been able to stay in our little apartment, not forcing ourselves on family, or becoming homeless.  But this is what happens when you are on this path, I can't imagine traveling on it without the Lord.

When Dave got this job in Vancouver, I had some valid fears, though the Lord can take those away.  I feel as though I don't have the strength after all this time to do what is required.  I won't go through the litany of reasons, but it is entirely possible to be so overwhelmed by what's already happened in life that you become incapable of doing the next thing, even if it is your salvation, so to speak.  

The Lord will help me and I will get through this, He is ever faithful to us.  I intend to write a lot about that after we get settled.  But if I feel this way, in a comfortable, clean, warm (or cool as the season dictates) environment, how must those living on the street feel?  If they were to even get a job, where do they get cleaned up, how can they work on an empty stomach.  And some are addicts, granted that they have done this to themselves, are we to be without pity....but for the grace of God, as the saying goes, that could be me.  And yes, there are those that choose that lifestyle, not wanting the confines of accountability.  

We must leave each person to God's judgement, not our own.  We have no idea what led them to where they are, why they can't seem to function.  

So, I ask myself, what's my point?  I guess there are a few, one, even when someone receives what looks like the answer to their problems, they still need support and help to make the transitions involved.  We still need to not judge the homeless.  The missions do a remarkable job and at least supply the immediate needs to some.  The greater answer is the soul answer.  Only God can do the truly miraculous work that needs to take place in our hearts and minds.  Only He can deliver and provide.  

My heart will never not go out (bad writing there, lol) to the homeless.  No one really wants to be there, or at least didn't at one time.  As they say, "they" are someone's baby boy or baby girl.  Problem with that saying is, perhaps they weren't wanted, or cherished and have spent their lives searching for that acceptance in the wrong places.  Whatever the issues are, God knows and He knows each heart, loves each one and longs to embrace them and bring all that's needed.  

So, I bristle when I see these things on Facebook, but I realize there are many views.  God help those of us who claim His name to see with His eyes and feel with His heart.♥

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I do wish I was a better writer. I want to say the things I feel.” ~ Don Miller

Me too. That is the point for me, to precisely express the things I feel, or observations I make. Preferably with scalpel-like precision. My son does this, but uses words i've never heard of before and I lose interest for having to look them up. So, not like that, just finding the right words most of the time would do.

Lately, the thing that is breaking my heart are the situations I am aware of, where if those involved would completely surrender to Christ, their lives could be so much better than they are. So, the next question, which applies to me as well, why do we attempt to either hang on to control or stubbornly cling to old behaviors that never work anyway? To try to control would imply a lack of trust to the one surrendered to. So we're back to that age-old thing of not trusting God. What in the world! And this is a big one for me. We act we're in a game of wack-a-mole, guess who's the mole and guess who's God. Sheesh, the Lover of our soul, the One who sacrificed all, who suffered horrendously on our behalf, and we're afraid to let Him have the reigns??

For me, I think it is because I know He is all-powerful, He has the ability to change any circumstance, and yet beautiful Christian brothers and sisters die with cancer, or loving parents lose a child, etc., I mean, really? How can He be trusted? But having been where the rubber meets the road for the last few years, sometimes it is just a choice. There is a case to be made for either side. So I just have to decide what I'm going to believe. I choose Christ. Because even when my circumstances didn't change, for me, or for those I love, it was/is His presence that gets me through, and the thought of doing without Him is lunacy to me. When I awake in the night and my heart is gripped with fear, because my mind is working over-time thinking of what my son could be facing in a medium/maximum prison, I speak His name, “Jesus” and that's enough. The waves of fear disappear, the imaginings cease, and a super-natural peace flows through me and all I feel is love. I have no idea if my son will survive or find the truth while there, but I know that God is with me, to help me, whatever comes, sorrow, or joy.

We are facing some huge changes shortly. A move 4 hours north. I am excited to begin this new chapter, but I will miss family and friends. I don't make friends easily, and the ones I have are kind of because they loved my brother first so reached out to me. My brother won't be in Vancouver. We will be able to pay our bills, have health insurance, etc. Don't know if we can handle life without constant crisis,never have before. So I trust that He will help us in abundance as He has in need.

So, I find myself back to where I always do. All answers are Jesus Christ. For Him to live in me and flow through me. To worship Him, be surrendered to Him, that is the point. Because when we are surrendered to Him, He is not hindered by our egos or fears, He will overcome all and in the process, bring us fulfillment and lasting joy, which is what we struggle for anyhow.

Okay, I think that's what I meant to say.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ponderings Indeed

The days are growing more and more interesting with the nearing of "the job."  It is almost taking on a life of its own and pressing down on my spirit until the blessing almost becomes too much to deal with.  My mind swirls with thoughts....and fear.  Okay, everybody now, say it with me, "Perfect love..."  you know the rest by heart.  So now I have another issue, am I a bad Christian because I am fearful?!
I am here to say "no, no I am not."  I knew this and have mentioned it, but I really know it as each day comes and goes.  There are ways of thinking and scars that are present that He alone can heal and remedy, and will need to.  I can see that I am probably more comfortable being needy than entering back into society (so to speak) again. 

All the cliches are true.  You never know how much you don't need until you have almost nothing.  And there are good things from this experience that will gladly last a lifetime.  Knowing that God is your Provider and Portion, realizing that people are what matter most, your family and friends (really one and the same) and out from there.  And the older I get, it just seems silly to amass trinkets that will be tossed when i'm gone.  Why burden my kids with junk they don't care about it.  The few true earthly treasures we have are quite enough at present. 

Don't get me wrong, there are things i'd like to have, and maybe will now.  I have a positively lovely relationship with my computer and have no problem saying so.  People have teased, do I live on Facebook.....yes, yes I do live on Facebook.  ;)  I like perfume, some inexpensive, some very, I like nice clothes though I haven't been able to get any for a while, etc.  I think we all spend money differently, but I have learned some lessons that will stick.

So I have all that running through my brain daily.  Will I be able to handle being "normal" again?  We're at a different place in our lives than when we were younger.  That changes everything as well.

Today was an odd day.  Very pleasant in many ways, coffee with a dear friend, quiet day after that, our kids coming over for dinner, some job-related stuff got done...and then, when I didn't see it coming, some news about someone blind-sided my freshly scrubbed innocence and fear raged within me.  What if I am ill and it's too late and all this is just irrelevant?  What if we get moved and then one of us gets really ill?  All the what ifs that are stupid to entertain, yet I do.

Then, some reassurance from this amazing man i'm married to sets my heart at ease.  The din of the day dies down and He comes.  One thought of Jesus and my heart rate slows, muscles relax and I know that I know once again, even if it's not's okay, He's got me. 

So onward and upward, no time for a sniveling coward clinging to old ways of coping.  Take His hand, go forward fearlessly and see what lies ahead.  He will never leave or forsake.  There is my peace and it must remain there.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Own Brief Saturday Rant

Okay, following suit with a friend on Facebook, here's a Saturday rant. 

First, let's clarify.  I am a Christian, a Jesus-follower, however you want to describe someone that loves Christ and follows him, leave pre-conceived notions and judgments at the door please.  I am also speaking to the same.

I have been silent, but just gotta get this out.  I go to this person's page and that person's page and find New Age crap.  What the heck!  These are professing Christians and they have that junk all over their pages.  Did I miss something????  The Bible tells us we will suffer, not to be surprised by it, but that Jesus is with us and will go through it with us.  That goes directly against what most of these philosophies teach.

I love these people and it is scary that they have tried to combine New Age thinking with their Christianity.  Romans 1:25.  I have to say, the ones I know seem to not want to admit that life can be rotten sometimes and there's no way around it, only through it.  Just change your outlook, meditate on what you want and it will come.  Completely opposed to the Word.

Ah well, who am I anyway?  I do love them, and trust they love me.  I know i'm not a shining example all the time.  But does that mean that i'm to just overlook this stuff and say nothing?  The concern is the future.  What will happen when it all doesn't take place, when all the positive thinking in the world doesn't get rid of the cancer, or the death of a loved one, or the promised riches don't come?  There is such misery in life that it can take the wind right out of you and leave you wondering how to go on.  BUT there is also One who will carry you when you can't go on, who will heal your broken heart and walk with you through that final door.  He is where I want my energy to go, my time spent on, learning more of this God that transcends bad stuff and can fill our hearts with such joy in the midst of hell that our eyes are moved off ourselves and onto the eternal.

Short rant over.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Long Day

Today was long.  I never cease to be amazed at my own impatience and hatred of being inconvenienced.  Was sorta looking forward to time to myself while Dave was over at the kids' doggie-sitting their pup while they are on vacation for a few days.  First surprise, I sure missed him more than I thought I would.  Secondly, constant under-current of grouchiness due to no sugar diet that I MUST adhere to if I don't want to go on insulin for my diabetes.  I am angry with myself for letting it get to this point, I am frustrated at my utter addiction to sugar.  That is not to insinuate powerlessness over sugar, the choice is mine, and all too often I make the wrong one.  My mind swirls with knowing we must move end of Jan. and not sure where we will move to.  Overwhelming gratitude for the upcoming job, but all the details have my head spinning.  My head is filled with possible details that are unsettling to say the least.  Then my precious little Sadie-bug, so sick yesterday and today.  Finally had to take her to the vet, and tell them flat out we couldn't afford to bring her in.  But they insisted because of her condition, and thankfully, they had things in place for "people like us."  Quotes are mine, they said no such thing.  Just so weary of the lack of money.  If not for their kindness, Sadie would have no hope of improvement and who knows.  Even so, I am still waiting to see if the meds will work.  When she gets this sick, only happened one other time, I am a wreck.  I have never loved an animal like I love her.  She's my sweet little friend, so sensitive and intuitive where we are concerned.  Such a gift from God.  My heart breaks when she is like this.  Then paperwork for the job, detailed and confusing, internet stops working this evening for a while, till I figured out what could be wrong, seems okay now.  Mix in some misunderstandings with my beloved and there ya have it.

Because times have been so hard for so long, I work at keeping my days simple and love my solitude.  So today was a trial of sorts.  I am pleased that the Lord came to mind often, I am not pleased that I wasn't able to hang onto that. 

I have Pandora on, Mark Knopfler & Emmy Lou Harris.  Right now they're playing Tom Rush's River Song.  Perfection, I gotta get this know, when there's some money.  ;)  I feel like a wimp.  People all around me are dealing with some horrendous things....and, like, call the waaaambulance, i'm having a bad day.  But I think I should have grace for myself, as I would for someone else.  I will allow myself to lick my wounds, feel sorry for myself just a little, and then, as I should've done in the first place, think of all I have to be grateful for.  We just paid our rent, thanks to our sweet kids, were able to take our furry child to the vet, said furry child is with me tonight, car runs well, despite aforementioned diabetes, in reasonably good health, and best for earthly last.  I have a man that loves me, truly loves me as I am, doesn't try to change me and is going nowhere no matter what.  I used the word before, but I need to again, Dave loves me intuitively.  He seems to know what I need, at times even before I do, and loves me accordingly.  He takes good care of me and our pup, it's nice.  Being on my own for 18 years made me capable, strong, but I am eating up the care this man gives me.  I do fear he will think I take him for granted, never.  And of course the greatest gift of all, Jesus.  The One who never gets angry, who never misunderstands my motives, who has loved me since before time.  His arms are sure, His acceptance guaranteed because of who He is. 

Okay, think things are turned around a little.