Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015.  I will never forget that day, ever,ever.  We got to Columbia River Correctional Institution about 6:35 in the morning.  Still dark, still quiet.  We could see movement in the building.  The rain had covered everything, but I found a dry spot on the outside bench and sat down by the gate where he would come out.  Dave paced as he does.  One other man was there to pick up his person.  We exchanged pleasantries, but then all fell silent again and my eyes were glued to the building.  Four years of being forcibly separated, four years of struggle, unfathomable agony on both our parts was about to come to a close.  Finally, after what seemed forever, I saw him.  He had chosen a set of sweats to exit with and he stuck out from all the rest, I knew it was my boy.  They walked slowly, the gate opened and there he was, we hugged and hugged and I could not control my sobbing.  When I was able, I let go and we turned to walk to the car, the man waiting for his person said, "There's no love like a mother's love."  I so appreciated that my love for him showed.  Because he couldn't come into Washington and return to Oregon, we just stayed in Oregon.  He changed into the clothes we brought him in the car, lol, then went to McDonald's, his first time in 4 years.  Then into Portland for some new Doc Marten's.  I knew I wanted to get him some, they are signature Josh, lol, so that was our contribution.  His sister and her husband helped, as have friends to at least have him a couple sets of clothes. 

For the first time in 4 years, my dream had come true.  Occasionally as I had gone to sleep during these 4 years, my mind would play every horrific scene from prison documentaries, or movies I had seen and it was too much, I learned to go immediately into prayer and trust God for his safety.  Now, that night, November 13, 2015, he was asleep, safe and sound across the hallway.  I slept soundly, aside from waking periodically in joy.  :)  It's been a whirlwind since, this is the first time i've had the time to write.

He is a different man, all because of Christ.  I hear worship songs being played on the guitar coming from his room, see him reading his Bible.  If I lived to be 100, there would not be time enough to thank and praise my God for this transformation.  From his lips, prison is horrible, but he counts it good because it brought him to a relationship with Christ.

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude, grace, love.  There are unbelievable hurdles ahead, financially and otherwise, but the Lord has promised to provide, so one day at a time. 

And then there's my love, my sweet husband who once again brought me to tears the other night.  Josh was asleep, and I thanked him for all he's done and is doing to help him, he said, "of course, he's my kid too."  I love this man.  Dave can seem grumpy at times, and is at times, but his heart never wavers, full of love and self-sacrifice for those he loves.  He and Josh went to the men's event last night which was helping a local business move some stuff, how wonderful.

Well, I could go on and on, and probably will, but enough for now.  My heart is full to overflowing.  I will simply enjoy the blessings.  Hopefully Autumn and the kids will be here for Thanksgiving.....won't that be wonderful!!!!

If you know me, you know the amount of miracles i've experienced, and i'm nobody, truly, what a God we serve and love who loves us so.  Once again, I haven't words to say what this all means.  One day I will see Him face to face and i'm sure we'll smile at the knowing.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Whispers in the Silence

What whisperings of new beginnings can you hear emerging from the silence of darkness?

This is the question attached to my daily Abbey of the Arts email today.  It is pregnant with possibilities.

We enter into this Autumn awaiting a prodigal's return.  He is coming home a new creature in Christ.  But as everyone knows, it takes time for reformation.  Seldom does the Lord transform us all at once.  And David and I are here to witness whatever comes, to partner in it really.

I read what I can about the difficulties in returning to society after prison and it can be scary.  Thankfully, Josh doesn't seem overly institutionalized.  He has fought against it, and I think that will help him.  He is excited...and a little get out and begin this new life with all the demands and expectations.  In the past, he's not done well with those.  But perhaps this new man will take them on and succeed, that is my prayer.

So my whisperings from the silence of darkness are that the Lord loves Josh, He loves us, He will make a way like He always does.  Josh truly belongs to Him now and wants to serve Him, so he now is held in loving, able hands.

It's been a rough week.  We needed the landlord's approval for him to stay here and the landlord wanted to think about it.  Time marched on, yesterday we took a letter and rental ap with Josh's information and as we talked....he signed the letter right then!  I must admit, and I hate it, I was pretty much a basket case.  There aren't enough words or pages to hold what has been in my heart since Josh went in.  I'm not sure I even understand it all myself.  But to turn him out in the cold, with nowhere to go....and no, they don't tell the inmates where to go, they simply release them and expect them to show up at the Corrections Officer's office on time, was more than I felt I could bear.  So my mama's heart was breaking at the thought of all this. 

Many pitfalls lie ahead and we will have to be more patient and loving than we've ever been with each other.  It's a big change for my love and I.  We are now used to living by ourselves and not having anyone else to consider.  We won't have the privacy we've had.  And Dave has been absolutely wonderful.  I was in such bad shape yesterday, he came home early to be with me until we could go to the landlord's.  He and Josh have had run-ins, though they generally get along well, but that's always in the back of my mind.  But this man, whose blood children are independent and self-sufficient, has had to be drawn into this drama of a confused and at the time, arrogant, young man who wound up in prison.  Never once has he made me feel that he resented it, and now he is opening our home to him.

The thing that I am not proud of, disappointed in myself actually, is the lack of faith I had.  I know that the Lord could have a reason for wanting him in Corvallis, but all I could think of was how much better off it seemed for him to be with us and I let it get the better of me.  There are Christian women I admire, who seem to pass through crises fairly unruffled and full of faith.  That is my goal, but at 61, not there yet.  And then again, aside from faith that grows by hearing the Word of God, I am how He made me, those other women are how He made them.  I just struggle with this, have all my life.  I want never to disappoint the Lord.  How grateful I am for His love, mercy and grace.

So my darkness whispers to me that perhaps this will go better than we think, perhaps He will continue to make ways where there seem to be none, perhaps this scary, hard thing will turn out to be the sweet, healing thing.  Only He knows.  I, at least, am able to trust Him for what lies ahead today.  There are some other challenges, and who knows, I won't really believe all this until Josh walks through the front door, so many hoops to jump through, but it is true that God is good, and Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


I had intended this to be a completely different slant.  I was in prayer and as anyone who's walked with the Lord very long knows, tears often are a part of praise.  I was thinking they are drops of praise.  That each one holds the gratitude of a heart that had just about given up hope....but God.  And when words cannot accurately convey what is in the heart, tears, just tears to a God who understands and keeps those tears in a bottle.

But almost as soon as I was thinking about that, something took place that made me want to change, and acknowledge that most of the time tears are for when words won't do for sure.  Words weren't made to express the broken heart.  When one is so completely misunderstood by one so dearly loved.

My son called and what he proceeded to say so hurt that I could not continue the phone call.  He was calm and not on a rant, but explaining some things he took issue with.  And "those" kinds of tears fell.  They are teeming with pain and disbelief. 

What I am coming to realize that midst the process of aging with a disease I can't get a handle on, weariness from a 7-year wilderness journey, but the love of precious family and friends, and a man that so blesses me every single day, i'm getting off that train.  Disembarking.  I no longer have the strength to do battle over imaginings and the past.  I go forward now.  There is no reverse on this car.  ;) 

But when I come before my first Love, wounds are tended and hearts made full because He paid the price for all our imperfections and bad choices.  I come away having wept out praise once again.  He is in control and one very important difference now, He is in control of my boy's life too.  So though there be set-backs here and there, the path he is on is straight, finally.  Nothing but tears of praise for that!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I am so enjoying the sights and smells of one of my two favorite seasons!  I love Fall, it is the prelude, mysterious and adorned in radiant color.  Then follows Winter, quiet, serene, crystal cold.  Time to be cozy indoors and contemplative.

I noticed this morning when I blew out my Pumpkin Pie candle that the embers glowed for some time on the wicks, I blew gently and I would've sworn the fire would revive.  But of course, if I blew it out and left it, all would be cold soon.

It got me to thinking of sin like that.  Often times I get rid of it, but it only takes a slight re-visiting before it is ablaze again.  It seems so many battles are fought in the mind before they come to fruition in our lives.  If I take every thought captive, then nothing can get even the slightest grip to grow.  But I don't always do that.  I can rationalize or make excuses and before I know it, I am back, at the foot of the cross asking for forgiveness, mercy and grace....and I always receive it.

Christ is not like us, He does not make me re-hash it, rub it in that He told me so in His Word, He simply sees my repentant heart and forgives and then strengthens me.  The enemy would have me believe that He won't take me back, He won't forgive me that quick, if at all, he tells me I am not worthy of such love.  But I know better, I stake my life on it.

I am so thankful for a Savior who saves again and again.  Saves me from sin, from myself and from others.  When I stumble, He is faithful to catch me, when I knowingly wander, He disciplines and brings me back and loves me.  Everyday grace is what keeps me, I cannot thank Him enough.  My motto is "I'm so glad He knows my heart."  He knows when I am fooling myself, He knows when motives were misunderstood, He knows just how deep that hurt was, and He knows when I have been quick to judge and be unloving.  He comes to me, ministers to me and is all I need.  Yes, Eucharisteo in all things.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Like so many, my heart broke over this little refugee who lost his life.  And it drew my attention to all these refugees, looking for somewhere to just "be."  All of the clich'ed feelings come into play, gratitude for living in America, gratitude for safety and food and shelter.  But because Christ lives in me it went beyond that.  I was urged to really contemplate this and put myself as best I could imagine, in their shoes. 

I am grieved over the world's response to this whole scenario.  How does the whole world allow Isis and those like them to exist?  How can they be so elusive...I believe if the world united against them, there would be nowhere they could hide.  If such things were in America on the scale they are elsewhere, we might be more inclined to help.

I don't believe politics and God should be blended together.  So I don't see this really in any way as a political issue.  I see it as a God issue.   The Word says that God is love, it says that if we give a cup of water to someone in His name, it is the same as giving it to Him.  So I am praying that America and Canada will rise up and offer floods of compassionate help to these refugees.  Let the Christians and others be moved to do something.  For those of us without the funds to help, you can sign petitions and raise awareness.

Bottom line is, my heart hurts for all these people.  Most people just want to live in peace, this is not too much to ask.  I pray to the Lord that He answer the prayers of His people and intervene.  Meantime, may our hearts remain tender to those struggling just to survive, including those in the womb.