Friday, February 28, 2014

When Yesterday Is 7 Months Gone

Dear Elijah,
It's been more than half a year since your feet have walked this earth; since time stood still and my heart broke in two. I can't believe that much time has passed. It feels like yesterday. 7 months of not my will, but thine. 7 months of learning to live a path I didn't ask for; death, cancer, treatments, grace.  We all miss you a ton. Each day dawns with thoughts of you and remembering you're not with us. We all feel so incomplete
without you here. It's hard to figure out how to do this walk. I miss your smile and the sound of your voice. I miss being your mom. I miss feeling whole. I am tired of my heart hurting.

Since you've been gone, daddy was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone radiation and chemotherapy. He has been amazing and tolerated all the treatments well. He is exhausted now and dealing with depression.  Everywhere he looks are projects that the two of you were working on and are unfinished. Missing you adds to his heartache. We are blessed to live in an age where help is available. We're loving on him and trying to get as much help as we can here for him.

This has also been 7 months of resting in who God is and how He orders our days. Because honestly Elijah, this walk without you here is really tough. Everywhere we look there are reminders of you. Reminders that your life here was incomplete; in our eyes. We long for you to be with us at the dinner table and everywhere. You were still living your life when you left us. And that is hard to live with.

You'd be proud of your siblings. This journey has been so hard with you gone and the uncertainty of daddy's illness. While it hasn't been perfect, everyone has really rallied to help. We have moments where everyone is cranky and out of sorts, and take their anger out on someone else. But really they have all been so intentional about trying to work out this tough walk.

I long for you to be here. But that is not the plan. I will keep stepping forward. Learning each day what it means to be in surrender to the God who called order out of chaos. We will continue to move away from "why" to "What is God's will and what does He want us to do next." We will talk about you and laugh. We
will lean into the remembering and not forget. I think that is part of the nightmare when you lose a child. You don't want to forget. Not for one minute. But how could we forget you. You were unforgettable. You were respected and loved. You lit up a room with your presence and loved to perfect your arguing skills.You loved the Lord, and didn't quite understand all that that meant. (Do any of us really completely understand?) But you wrestled and dug deeper and by faith walked.  An example for all of us. While I long for you to be here. I know you are in a better place. Your journey is complete and your work finished. I don't like this part and I never will. . . ever. But I will carry on with the journey God has for us here.

We will step forward in grace each day.
We do long for the day when we will be reunited. 
We long for the time when;
Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. 
There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's Not for The Faint Of Heart. . .Or Those Who Like Steady

We are running out of feed. 
Honestly, I can't wait for this winter to be over; yet I wonder what this coming year will hold.
We are heading into our dry time. 
We are micro-managing every penny spent and what needs to be bought. 
We want to turn everything around. 
We are so tired of struggling. 
Everything is a struggle. 
Nothing seems fun. 
It's not supposed to be like this. 
When did the fun stop? 
When did we begin this downward spiral?
 I don't think it has as much to do with finances than it does our attitude. 
It's not for the faint of heart or those who like steady. 
Farming is for the adventurous, incredibly stubborn and determined. 
They see hope where others see none. 
We are going to get back there. 
I want this farmer to remember why he loves what he does. 
Why I left my job to stay home.
We're going to remember. 

I took a walk today. 
(Btw it was freezing)
I looked at that mountain.  

I thought, only heaven can be more beautiful than this. 
I can't see the future. 
I can't pretend to make everything go away. 
But I can close my eyes; breathe deep and let God work his miracle. 
 He is bigger than everything we are going through. 
Even in this; we are right where we need to be. 
That is where I want to remain. 
Right where He wants me to be. 

Psalm 121:1-2
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

All Clutter Is Not Equal

My brother and his wife are coming for a visit. Now I have known they were coming. 
But it's not until the last minute that I decide to clean and make a plan. 
We are celebrating Christmas. 
I still haven't wrapped the presents. 
It's almost March. 
 I have wrapped some; but the rest still lie buried under piles of stuff in my room. 
What makes us all so different? 
How do some have such ordered and clean homes? 
Everything is fixed and nice and neat. 
Everything in its place. 
( My college room mate Carol, would continually encourage me with those words)
This is not a new issue for me. 
It's years of trying to decide where is that place supposed to be? 
I can cook for 50 people without batting an eyelash. 
I love people stopping over spontaneously for a visit. 
But I can't get the laundry done or keep the piles from accumulating. 

I have done FLY lady, keep it simple, declutter your home in however many days. 
I have hired someone to clean my house hoping the gift of them coming would help with the clutter. 
But it doesn't. 
The clutter continues and consumes; if I let it. 
Sometimes I think we let too much clutter our minds.  I become obsessed with getting the house clean. 
Honestly, I become a raving lunatic. 
I harp on the kids to pick up and vacuum and the rant list goes on and on. 
(you can ask my kids, they will not hold back. They love to talk about me)
Now maybe I should have done that before. 
But what were the options? 
What would have been the sacrifice choice for the cleaner house? 
 Would I  have them  miss playing outside in the snow with their friends? 
Should they give up their barn chores? 
Would I give up the last few conversations with Elijah because the vacuum cleaner was more important? 
 We sat and read an extra chapter in our read aloud book; should cleaning have been a better choice? 
These are things I ponder. 
I know I can do things better. 
There is always a better way. 
But at what cost?
The clutter in my house should not reflect clutter in my heart. 
And you know what? It doesn't. 
My heart is at peace. 
My soul aches and is desperately needy. 
But there is room for the Holy Spirit to be there. 
I am open to God's leading. 
I breathe in His presence in my life. 
There is not an absence of pain or heartache. 
There is not an absence of trouble. 
But there is peace. There is hope. 

Psalm 62:5
 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

This is also a season. 
How I long for my house to be clean and ordered. I long for rooms without clutter.
So while it's not perfect; there it is. 
What I long for more though; is a farmhouse with it's doors flung wide open. 
It's not perfect. But it's real. 
We're finding our way in the imperfection to seek Jesus here. 
In the grit and grime. In the middle of the laundry piles and other pressing needs. 
Come visit.
 Step over the clutter, find the way to the table. 
There will be hot coffee.
 I am sure a baked good, because people have not left our side on this journey. 
And there will always be time. 
Time to stop and sit at the farm house table, where we will meet with Jesus and the clutter won't matter. 
Where what's on our hearts will be laid bare before the Father and we will seek his guidance. 
Where we will sit with God's word open and search for truth and direction and how to love as He first loved us. 
Isn't that what we want? 
Isn't that how it should be? 
I didn't say I was giving up Pinterest, or the desire for a cleaner house.
I will just keep plugging away, while keeping the clutter out of my heart as the first priority. 

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Partner That Brings Grace To Your Movements

Sometimes I just want off this road. I've said it before. To me it seems hard.
 At each door there is pain and heart ache.
 It's another journey to process and move through. There is a dance while moving through pain. 
The movements can be stiff and awkward. 
Or they can be smooth and graceful.

When you walk hand in hand with a partner skilled in guiding the way; the movements become fluid. 
I want things to be fluid. I long for movements that are graceful. 
What is it that creates the graceful out of the chaos?
Who called order into the cosmic disorder?
And don't we all long for order? Don't we long for things to be in its place?
(Ok. So it's a stretch for me to go that far)
But we long for there to be order. We want things to be nicely wrapped and organized.
 And when our dreams are shattered and life throws a curve ball we recoil. 
We question the chaffing and uncomfortable. 
Yet through these times the hand of the Lord is manifested the most. 
It is through these times that our character is refined.
We are taken through the fire. 

Our dross is removed.
We can't see the ultimate product but we know that it will be grace endowed.
What is this grace? Can we understand such a gift?
Philip Yancey in his book "What's so Amazing about Grace," says,
 “I would far rather convey grace than explain it.”
Are we open to receive such an extravagant offering?
I don't have answers. I am left with many questions.
Yancey also points out that,
"Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God's scheme ultimately leads back to the cross.” 
Even when there is this offering; many refuse the partner skilled in guiding the way.

I have chosen a life surrendered to the skilled partner. I lean into the difficult moves and twists and turns.
 I am unfamiliar with the routine and music.
 I have no choice but to let the master lead the way.
I hope when all is said and done; it will be a beautiful dance. 

We are promised dancing on the streets that are golden.
And what a joyous celebration that will be.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Musings: How To Really Get Your Heart's Desire

As the deer panteth for the water.

We sing it in church. The Youth are leading Worship. 

My soul longeth after you. 

I sigh as we start to sing. It's one of those over sung praise songs. 
And I think it's lost it's meaning; until we sing this next line. 

You alone are my heart's desire

And I wonder, is He alone my heart's desire? Is He all I really want? 
I know the answer to the question. I keep on singing. 

And I long to worship thee.

You alone are my strength my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield. 
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

He's not all I want. I know it.  I am too distracted. I want my son back. I long for Gary to be healed and not be going through this cancer and now depression.  God is not my only desire. I shove wanting a clean house, pinterest and other things first. 

I love you more than any other
So much more than anything. 

Do I love him more than Elijah? More than my children? More than Gary? 
I am supposed to. God first; in everything. It's the lesson God taught me after I miscarried; before Elijah. He is all I need. 

I want you more than Gold or Silver
Only You can satisfy. 

These are things I know. Only God can satisfy. He is all we need. He is all we should want. Our only desire. You can spend your whole life looking. You can try to make more money. Have more kids. Buy a new house; a different car. Lose weight. Get a better job.
Not one thing will bring you the peace that you will find in Christ.
 I dare you to try it.
 I dare you to find something that will bring you a lifetime of peace, 
other than the LORD. 
When your only desire is God; everything else falls into place. It doesn't make it perfect. It doesn't take away all the pain. The funny thing is, when we put Him first, He becomes our only desire. He becomes all we need. Things begin to change. All His desires, become our desires. 
God can accomplish His will. 

I want Him to be my heart's desire. My first focus. 
We continue to sing. 

You alone are the real joy giver
and the apple of my eye.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Are You Able To Run The Race With Perseverance?

Miss you so much. Don't know if I can handle next year without you. #brother

This was Clarissa's face book post on June 20, 2013.
It's the picture of them on the first day of school; his Senior year. 

Elijah had gone on a trip the day after graduation.
We all missed him.
Boot camp was coming and we knew we weren't prepared.
He rarely left home.
His presence always here.
He wasn't one for sleepovers; preferring his bed to others.
Little did we know.

Clarissa and Thomas have devotions for Youth Group.  The topic; Perseverance. 
With the Olympics permeating much of our awake time; perseverance has been on the mind.
Story after story has been shared of an Olympian's challenging journey to reach the ultimate goal of the prestigious Olympic team; and ultimately a Gold medal.  

         As I listen to their thoughts and working through bible verses I think of how Clarissa has needed to persevere. She lives with a severe case of asthma and allergies. She has missed more and more school each year because her medicine is not adequate enough to keep her symptoms at bay. At the beginning of July her puppy was hit by car and died in my arms before she got home. 

It was heart wrenching for her. She had researched puppies that were safe for her and her asthma and saved her money to buy this little puppy. She had cared for and nurtured him since he was born. And now; in a moment he was gone. 

       Just weeks later she would endure the challenge of her life as I slowly climbed the stairs to wake her to tell her her beloved, older brother was called home to be with the King of Kings. Her brother, who was her mentor, friend and confidant. In a single sentence, I was shattering this young, precious girl's world. 

      Then came the diagnosis of cancer for her father, and I tell you, she was not surprised. 
She said she knew.
 Back when the growth became apparent. 
She would think; he needs to have that taken off. It's not a cyst. It's a tumor. 
She was a rock and asked specific questions. She rallied to this next blow. 
   Her face book continues to demonstrate where her strength comes from. She minces no words in expressing her feelings. Though sometimes I wonder at the bravado; and does she need a break? A break from the pain and the uncertainty. The pressure of honors and AP classes. Working, instrument practice, the demands of younger siblings and grief as her constant companion. 

  Thomas has lost one of his best friends. 
His dreams and hopes built together on mutual love for this country and the freedom to serve. 
A faith shared. 
An eternal bond.

So who better to speak on perseverance than Clarissa and Thomas.
 I applaud them for using their experiences to drive an important discussion. 

We may not be Olympians. But we are in a race. 
Time is ticking and life's journey continues. 

What is it that you need to persevere through? 
Are you equipped? 
What is in your tool box?
Most Olympians persevere through a course well marked out.
 Rehearsed, studied and ingrained.

Our course is well marked out. We just can't see the course. But there is One who does. 
And my trust is there. 
Elijah has stepped into eternity and he is now a part of that great 
Cloud of Witnesses spurring us on until that Great Day. 

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
 let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. 
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

May you know that you're not alone. 
He's waiting for you. Knocking at your door. 
Love will pull us together. 

I hope you can take a few moments to listen to this video of  "Hold us Together"
We miss our drummer.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This Year; I Don't Want To Read The Annual Report

Yeah;  that moment when the Town Annual Report comes.

And you remember being excited because in it was the birth of your child. You save it. 
You want to remember for all of forever how this important monumental event is captured in the Annals of human history for all to see. 
Your child; in bold letters was born. 
You horde extra copies like they are gold,
so that your son will know what went on in the town during that time. 
 But now. 
The Annual Report comes.
Your heart sinks; your hands shake; your legs give way.
 You go cold. 
It takes your breath away;
and you wonder for a moment how you're going to breathe the next breath.
 It holds that which I don't want to read. 
There it is,
 sandwiched in between a classmates father and an 81 year old.
 The average age nowhere near 17. 

And my heart breaks all over again. 
The memories of that night; stuck on repeat. 
The night; time stood still. 

Sometimes the missing is so bad. It feels like it will consume.
To reach out and touch him; to know how he is feeling; to hear his steps on the back porch.
To walk by his room and hear the deep, steady beat of his music.
 All these I long for. 
And I know I can't know the why?
But I want "what" to count. 
What do we do? 
What comes next? 
What can we do now? 
What do we stand for?
(yes, Elijah loved that song so much)

As time marches forward and we seek to answer these questions;
we stand firm on the solid ground that we know.
We get real because this is hard.
We get real because we don't want to get stuck.
We get real because no matter how we want to slow time; it is ever marching forward.
God wants us to be real.
The stuffing of the emotions and the fake platitude; he doesn't need.
Life is hard. It hurts. It can be overwhelming.
The difference is we stand on hope.
A day is coming; and it won't be long. When every tear is wiped away.
When all will be made right.
The dead in Christ will rise.
We will stand before the Lord himself.
What a day that will be.
Until then, we rest.
Rest in the grace given for this day.
Be real. 

 I will save this Annual Report marking his death. 
I will rejoice for those 17 years; even though I want more.
 Even though the remembering causes my heart to constrict and
I wonder if I will ever be whole again.
Will you step out in faith? Will you reach out and be real?

There is hope. There is peace. There is grace.

I have unanswered prayer, 
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away 

I am trying to understand, 
How to walk this weary land. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

When The Wind Howls, How Will Your Structure Stand?

The temperatures have warmed. 
The wind howls, creating a recipe for an icy landscape. 
With each gust, shutters pull from the house, the tin loosens on the barn's rafters. 

I wonder just how long it will be before they are torn from their structures. 
The constant berating; weakening the structure unless careful attention is taken. 
These needs have been set aside as flooding, death and cancer cry for the immediate. 
The effects of neglect apparent. 
Integrity of structure compromised. 
Sometimes the end doesn't seem in sight. 
It is the big picture that frightens and causes us to recoil. 
Yet somehow as the focus from the big picture shifts to smaller snapshots; 
life becomes more manageable. 

We map out the plan for the day. 
We approach it bathed in prayer, poised for battle and resting in Christ. 

Ephesians 6:10-12
 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Each day. 
Each step. 
All for the Father. Not for us. 

"I am, holding on to you. I am holding on to you
In the middle of the storm I am holding on 
I Am'"

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Looking Forward To Spring

There is tension as we step towards spring. 
Equipment needs to be greased and oiled; repairs completed.

Yet there is snow on the ground and the tease of spring seems ages away; 
though it rests just around the corner.
All the while the daily milking and chores continue. 
The longer days give way to cold nights. 
Warm days and crisp nights brings the flow of sap. 
All of creation knowing what role it plays.

The cows are making less milk each day. 
This is a journey we take every year. 
Each cow needs a wee vacation before she calves.

It's about 45-60 days; their dry time.
I call it their spa vacation. Really it is.
Their job is to soak up the sun (when it shines) and eat and drink.
(sound nice?)
This is a tricky time.
 It causes our income to virtually be non existent.
This takes careful planning ahead of time. 
Bills will still need to be paid.

This is much like our walk on this earth. 
We need to be prepared.
The unexpected may happen at any time.
We need to be protecting our faith. Fellowshipping with other believers.
Daily reading God's word; 
those precious words that breathe life into us.
Sometimes they chastise and correct us.
But it is all part of the journey to be more like Christ.

II Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, 
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

What steps do you need to take to be prepared? 

Each day will take careful planning. 
Expenses scrutinized. 
Anticipation mounting as calving time draws closer.

As I reflect on the winter and my farmer's journey with cancer. 
We need to praise God for the timing. 
For the winter; gave rest. 
It wasn't without it's trials
 But as new life pushes through the veins of the ordered world. 
So is new life pulsing through my farmer; as he gains weight and his strength returns. 
We will make a plan. We will look forward to spring. 

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
 by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Do You Have A Hope And A Future?

We stopped at the Diner on the way home. 

I just love that place. 
2 different strangers, now friends, sent gift certificates so we could go. 
It seems to be a good place after the hospital. 
The booths bring comfort. The coffee;  hot and delicious. 
The food; just perfect.

We talk. We make plans. 
It's the we that is so exciting. Recently I have done most of the talking. 
(Ok, so, I usually do most of the talking)
But this time he shared too. It was wonderful. 
We talked about plans for the Spring. 
A plan.
Things that need to get done. 
A future. 
The needs for pasture as Spring is right around the corner. 

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

We hold on to that hope. 
We cling to the promises. 
We do not know what the future holds. 
But we know who holds the future
This journey is riddled with pain and uncertainty. 
I ache for it to be different. 
Yet we are equipped to walk every step of the way. 
One day with Christ is better than a thousand elsewhere. 

Through your pain; can you see hope? 
Through the joy; do you see the future? 
I hope so. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Joy Thief

The day dawns and the clutches of the joy thief grasp tighter. 
Basic decision making becomes a monumental task.
The world pales and darkness threatens to consume. 
Severe flooding, long hours, financial instability,
 the death of your son and cancer chase you to the brink. 
But even in that you do not fall. You call it by it's name. Out loud.
The joy thief.
A real and frightening path. 
Many lose their way walking through the darkness of depression. 
But you name the demon. 
And you call the doctor. 
You will climb the steep walls and do the hard work. 
I watch as you bow in humble submission to the God who lays another tough path before you. 
I watch as those who love you come to be by your side. 
You will not fall. You are held. You are kept. 
You are my farmer; and I love you. 

Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, 
and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Monday, February 17, 2014

At The Sound Of His Great Name

"Every fear; has no place; at the sound of your great name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of your great name"
~Natalie Grant

This journey is relentless. There is no escape. The weight of grief a daily struggle. 
I cry out. The enemy flees;at the sound of His great name
Our fears; have no place at the sound of His great name!
My anguish and my grief have been conquered. 
Do you know that power? 
Have you been washed in the blood? 
Can you stand on His promises?
When your world is shattered and your baby isn't ever coming home; when your mom has died of cancer and your husband now walks this uncertain journey
when depression creeps in; the joy thief~
Can you lift your hands high and praise the One who spoke; and order was created? 
I pray this for you.
 Because when life is tough; and the enemy crouches; there is but one place to go. 
This world is riddled with pain. 
Drug abuse is high, addictions soaring. Hurt abounds. 
But there is an enemy that will flee at the sound of "His Great Name."
Dig deep and fight off the demons that lie about your worth. 
Stand firm in the grace and mercy sent for you. 
You are loved. 
You were bought with a price. 
He meets you where you are and loves you enough to mold you into His child. 
Stand strong today on the promises given for you and me. 

The enemy flees; at the sound of His great Name. 
 Shout it. 
When you're discouraged call on His name. 
There is a battle. But we have the tools to overcome. 
We can stand strong in the face of adversity. 

All the weak; find their strength; At the sound of Your Great Name.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

When I Don't Measure Up. . . I Need To Remember What I Wrote Earlier In The Week

I fall short. I don't measure up. I head down a road of self destruction. 
It is so easy to do. The dishes aren't done. The floors need to be mopped. 
The phone rings and there are bills to pay. The laundry is backed up again. . .the kids need help.
(I didn't say they were helping. . .they need help)
The house is so cluttered. 
One of the hydraulic hoses on the case blew. There's a flat tire on the Swinger. 
The Valtra is at the shop. 
My farmer worries me. I miss my son. 
My heart hurts. I am worn. 
It all clambers for my attention. Every detail. 
And just for a moment I have lost sight. My vision blurred. 
There are too many I's and My's in those statements. 
And I remember my reflections earlier in the week. 

(click on the link to read)

Jude 1:1
To those who have been called, who are loved by God,
 the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.

We are kept by Christ
What a thing. 

It is time to rest. To be quiet before the Lord. 

How ever that looks to you.
 But be still. 
(Really. Shut off the radio, the fist pumping music, 
the delightful books on tape (or cd or whatever) and listen. . .)
Know that He is God.
 He will never leave us or forsake us. He is doing a mighty work. 

Psalm 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

We are kept through the storm. Through the fire. 
There is much mercy and grace. 
The trials of farming are overwhelming at times. 
 It is a reminder to persevere. 
Hoses and tires can be fixed.
And we are kept. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Disconnected Saturday Thoughts

My Valentine's comes in all shapes and sizes. His hour; 3 a.m. His palette; the visible yard. 
Years of hearts in the snow, on the clothes line or even in the house if the weather was too fierce. 
Life size painted Cardboard heart.
Heart stomped in the snow. 
All his quiet way. 
Few words. 
They speak volumes. 

Proverbs 12:23
The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, 
but a fool's heart blurts out folly.

The world is transformed with the new fallen snow. 

Peaceful and serene. 
I am sure to soon be broken when the sleep-over girls awake. 
But for now I will savor the quiet. 
I will let the Holy Spirit pour over my heart. 
I will soak in the Ancient Word as this new day unfolds. 

Here are a few gems to ponder:

  • A poem, also a children's book. Memorized through the years by our kids. How we love the imagery. 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
  •    A reminder of the selflessness of love:
  •   Finally since most people have experienced a snow day recently, you might enjoy this gem. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Don't We All Just Want To Be Loved?

My Youth Pastor spoke at our wedding. He performed the ceremony  in our field, over looking the beautiful, fall landscape and Mount Mansfield. He spoke on Love. (Big surprise! Right?) He quoted lyrics from secular songs. " I want to know what Love is", "Love; it never hurt so good". An entire society trying to figure out how to do love.

Well, I am adding my 2 cents today to the litany of love experts.

Love. It's not what you think. The romance and the chocolate. The flowers and the sex. It all has little to do with love. I know. Love has more to do with the sacrificing than the receiving. I saw real love in action. As cancer ravaged my mother's body and the memory thief knocked on my dad's door.  I saw. In sickness. . .He wouldn't leave her side. A man who never shed a tear in my presence but once. A man prone to forget the Anniversary but not the Football game. A man now desperately trying to find out why such a wonderful woman has to suffer. I saw him meet every need she had. I saw a tenderness I had never seen. I saw love.

Love. It's not what you think. It has little to do with money. (though really someday I wouldn't mind not having to scrimp every penny. But then I wouldn't know what I know) It has nothing to do with looks or the things thrown in our faces by media. I know. Because I have seen love. When my middle was swollen  beyond human imagination. In joy. . .When I am angry and bothered and want a vacation from myself. I have seen love. And when the unimaginable happens and the precious is torn from your life and you stand at your sons grave. In Sorrow. . .You see love. You feel love and you know love. And when the doctor returns your call and the diagnosis is cancer and you stare deep into each others eyes and everything you need to know is right there. That's love. And when the effects of chemo and radiation leave you barely able to stay awake or eat and you still go to the Diner because you know that's what she wants and you never complain. That's love.

I Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love. It's not what you think. I've received it. I've done nothing to earn it. He gave; the overwhelming grace sent by the Father. A love that transcends all. A life ransomed for mine. The assurance of eternal life. His life for mine. Love. What a thing. A love that will never let me go. . .ever.

Love has been demonstrated daily since our son was called home. Meals, financial support, hugs, flowers, letters, gifts, cards, acts of service, phone calls; the list goes on. The desire to help us stand when we can't find our way. The fruit of pure love.

Twila Paris~How beautiful, when humble hearts give, 
the fruit of pure love, so that others may live. How beautiful. . .Is the Body of Christ.

So if you're looking for love. I am sure "you're looking in all the wrong places". You'll find it when you lay to rest your son. You'll find it when toxic cocktails weave their way through your spouses veins. You'll find it when you give all you have to give and then some more. You'll find it when you take the "I need" out of your vocabulary. You'll find it best when the divine meets the sovereign and you hand over all that you are, all that you need, to the only One that will love you completely.

 I will take my hearts in the snow. Hearts on my clothesline and when the weather is too bad, strings of hearts in my living room. I will take the knowing looks. The graveyard visits and dates to the infusion center. I will remove the " I need, or I deserve" and seek to serve with all I have.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.