Sunday, September 28, 2014

Can You Stop And Turn? Do You Have What It Takes?

It's the 28th. 
14 months.

Months, days, weeks, moments of missing. 
Days of seeking who God is; who am I in Him. 

I wake again today to the fight to get up. 
My soul is heavy. 
I cry out to Jesus. 
I just want to burrow in. 
Sleep some more. 
My heart;
Needs to change
There was a double sleep over last night. 
Church to attend, a rehearsal for a performance. 
And it leaves me with tears pooling and a heart constricting. 
There is no milk.
The keys to the van are missing. 
The other car is not working right. 
I need to make breakfast.
We have places to be. 
And all I want to do is be quiet. 
Run. Hide. 
I had planned a fun day to be away from the farm. 
To be together with family and friends. 
It seems to be unraveling. 
And my response is tense and harsh. 
The hot, churning within. 
These are the moments when we need to seek the holy. 
Not when we're all dressed and looking pretty. 
Now; in the dirt and grim; in the hot and churning. 
With tears pooling and words spewing. 
It is in these moments when we remove our gaze from the circumstances. 
We're so entrenched in the war we can not see the victory beyond. 
Even in the turmoil and grit, we can seek the holy. 
It's when we should seek. 
A walk with Christ is not when you're perfect and without sin; when all is going well. 
It's for the sinners and the downcast. 
For the lost and seeking. 
The broken and hurting. 
We are a people in need. 
When I was a little girl I loved to read. 
I would easily get lost in a book. 
I wouldn't hear my mother's call. 
The world around me faded. 
The characters; real.
The adventures; mine

In my closet I created a space with a pillow and a blanket. 
A flashlight. A journal and a pen (just in case I needed to write)
There I would sit for hours reading by flashlight. 
Today I long for that quiet space; with pillows all around. 
The safety and holy.
The world is tipped on edge for me. 
And if I am not careful I will tip too. 
The chaos will not go away. 
Life begats life. 
And there is still much life. 
I turn to meet this attack boldly. 
I will face the chaos head on. 
I will look the pain in the eye. 
These circumstances will not change. 
But my response can. 
This is the work it takes. 

Isaiah 40:29
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

We need to consciously turn toward what God has for us. 

Websters definition ~
  turn-to cause (something or a side of something) to face an opposite or different direction

Psalm 119:57-64
I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. 
I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. 

Make an about face today. 
Take the time to turn. 
The breathtaking landscape around us is turning. 

It is shedding the old for the new; hope in Spring. 
We too can shed all that holds us. 
All that brings us down. 
Lay it all at the foot of the cross. 
And turn toward new life, new hope. 
In Christ. 
The struggle will end. 
It may not be this side of eternity. 
But we can meet the holy here. 
We can be filled and strengthened for the work that still needs to be done. 
We just need to turn. 

10th Avenue North. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are You Living In This Very Moment?

This is not my home.
No matter the beauty.

This is not where we belong.
My focus.
has to change.
Each morning.
A shift.
It's not about me.
God's plan is better. 
The missing overwhelming. 
My son.

I want him here. 
Why did God not stop the accident?
Why did he not save him?
Why was it fatal?

I fold laundry. 
His clothes. 
Worn by others. 
I breathe deep. 
It would be so easy to give up. 
To just let the darkness consume. 
The pain. The ache.

The work it takes. 
There is a hole; where he belongs. 
His classmates moving on. 
The pull of the world. 
I turn. 
Into the arms of the Father. 
I AM. . . holding on to you. 
I AM in the middle of the storm. 
I reach. 
He is there. 
I slow my breathing. 
I hold onto to the Ancient Word. 
There's no end to Amazing Grace. 
The peace fills me.
 His peace. 

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. 
Not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

No matter the struggle, the pain, the joy, the way. 
God is there. 
There is hope. 
There is peace for the journey. 
Living and waiting for 'life to get better'. 
Is not a choice. 
Being present in the moment.
This very moment.
Are you there? In the moment? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Even A Year Later My Grip Remains Strong

A year later we still are haying. The fire on to take the chill off the morning air. The desire of my heart to yield to the heavenly father. The pain still real, the missing still great. Longing to find our way in this world. Wanting to make a difference. Wanting hope to permeate all we do. Thoughts scratched out in the wee hours of the morning. Still ring true a year later. Yet, this is before cancer knocked on our door. It is before I knew what was to be. . .

It's Early Morning

I rise while it is still dark.
Coffee is made.
We are having pancakes for breakfast.
I have turned the fire on to take off the chill. 

Though it is much warmer than the previous nights. 

It was hard to get up this morning.
I prayed for a long time, seeking strength for what lies before me today. 
I prayed for Gary. 
These hours are so long. 
I prayed for the yield on this hay crop to be wildly abundant.
We are so short on feed. 

This picture was taken the last day Elijah and I worked together.
The day he told his dad, "Hey dad, you know the best way to slow down wrapping bales? Is to have your wife come to the barn." 
 I was trying to help. 
I can be a liability sometimes. 
But I am glad I went. 
All that time spent with my boy. . .
Little did I know there would only be 2 more days that he would reside on this earth. 

I had planned to write a blog post on how we put up our round bales. 
Now these pictures are all I have left of his final days here. 
But the memories. 
Oh how I treasure that day.
 We laughed. 
I was so slow.

We'd been having trouble with the round bale plastic - it keeps tearing. . .
So, Elijah would have to get off the tractor and come and pull it so I could tuck it back in and get started. 
I am a little short, so getting a good grip to pull that plastic was not happening on my watch. .. 
unless I went and got a stool. Which is the story of my life. 
Someone needs to add variety to these boys' lives. 
After each bale is wrapped, it is marked with the date. 
It was beautiful out that day. 
I was happy to be with my boys and I would take the time to write on the bales. .. 
more than just the date. 
This also slowed the process down.
Guys don't think like we woman. 
I wanted there to be a legacy on those bales. 
So when the deep of winter came and they pulled those bales out there would be a reminder of the glorious day in July when we all worked together. 

On each bale I left a legacy. 
One we now treasure with all our hearts. 

Our hay situation has been a challenge this year.
The rains came in abundance and flooded many of our fields. 
This left debris and silt scattered across acres of land, virtually making all the hay unusable; when or if we could get on to the soggy meadows. 
This happened repeatedly throughout the summer. 
So on July 25, 2013,
When the warmth of the sun permeated everything, 
I wrote those praises on bales.
I prayed over each bale.
Asking our father to somehow fix this feed situation. 
To give us wisdom if we should stay in farming. 
3 days later I still praised the same God 
with a broken heart as he called my boy home

It was a beautiful night last night. 
I don't know what our future is here. 
I don't know where the Lord is leading us. 
So much has changed. 
Yet, we will still praise him. 

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
 Praise him with stambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord

And I am learning to say:  "It will be my joy,
your will, your way"

And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt. . .there is NO life apart from you LORD. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

What Preparations Do You Need To Make To Be Ready?

The frost wasn't too hard this morning.
We kept the house warm enough. 
My farmer turned the fire on before he left. 

I shudder to think how much propane we have used. 
We need to be prepared. 
As winter looms ahead. 
Wood needs to be cut. 
Air conditioners stored away for the heat of the summer day. 
Screens removed and the storm windows placed. 
All in preparation for winter. 
My freezer is partially full of summer's glow. 
Harvesting some of the bounty for later use. 
Still not quite there with all that needs to be done. 

Some steps; such an effort. 
Grateful for the gift of produce. 
It's like grace. 
A gift. 
Something we don't deserve. 
Our walk with Lord. 
Needing care and tending. 
Just as preparations for winter are imperative, so is the care for our souls. 
The intentional quiet before the Lord. 
Each morning. 
Spending time. 
In His presence. 
He doesn't need our fancy words. 
He needs us. 
Will you find that place today? 
Where the holy meets the harsh. 
Where God can breathe into your weary soul.
Where the striving ceases and grace infuses. 
Meet Him there. 
He's waiting. 

Psalm 46:10
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God;
 I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth."

Be still my soul. . . 
The Lord is on thy side. . . 
In every change - He faithful will remain. 
In you I rest. . . in you I find my hope. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

When There's An Early Frost And No Heat

The steam from the cooking apples warm the kitchen. 
Soon there will be applesauce. 
There is going to be another frost.
We have no heat in our home right now. 

I keep the doors closed. 
I bring in the mums so they won't freeze. 
We pick the last of the tomatoes on my one plant. 
I'm such a gardener. 
The doors to the other end of the house are shut. 
We are hanging a quilt over the doorway to the hallway that goes upstairs. 
We need to conserve heat. 
The down part of a large home. 
It seems too early to have such a frost. 
A reminder of winters pull. 
In the morning I'll make hot chocolate, lots of coffee and 
cook something in the oven to warm the rooms. 
The kiddos will come clambering down to try to get warm. 
I will always be grateful for no heat upstairs and the pull of the warm kitchen. 
For now we'll head to bed. 
We'll add another blanket; find an extra pair of socks.

And make sure chopping wood rises to the top of the list. 
After haying, feeding animals, milking, repairs. . . etc. etc.
Good Night. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I Said Yes To , Until Death Do Us Part

The air was cool. 
Chores were done. 
We headed out. 
We dressed in layers. 
We drove almost 2 hours to a fair. 
Not just any fair. 
The Tunbridge World's Fair
A place where time stands still. 
Where cattle are milked. 
Displays of pumpkins and flowers line every building.
Equipment through the generations are scattered around the space. 
Where smells of roasting corn and fried dough permeate the air. 
The hum of the rides and the dazzling lights make this place a feast for the senses. 
We held hands and giggled. 
So fun to be together. 
He wanted to ride the ferris wheel. 
I didn't want to spend the money. 
We walked hand in hand. 
He asked if we could sit in the cattle barn. 
The bleachers empty. 
It was quiet. 
We sat next to each other. 
He looked at me. 
He asked if we could spend the rest of our lives getting
 to know each other and being best friends. 
I looked at him. 
He reached in his jacket pocket. 
He gave me his great grandmothers ring.
This kind, blue eyed man. 
To have and hold, until death do us part. 
I said yes. 
And this winter when the "in sickness and in health,
until death do you part" knocked on our door,
I thought back to that day. 
To all the days since. 
To heart ache and joy. 
To the pain of a child taken too soon. 
I thought through the years.

To gratitude.
To promises made. 
To promises kept. 
In sickness and in health. 
Until death do we part. 
I said yes. 
And I would say it again and again and again.

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
 I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Least of These My Brethren

He sits at my table. 
I feed him.
Physical nourishment. 
We feed him the Word. 
He; the downcast. 
Struggling with mental illness. 
Trying to find his way in this world. 
He sits at my table. 
I fight the thoughts that permeate my mind. 
My son. 
Buried deep beneath the earth. 
Not at my table; while this one lives. 
My son; a hard worker.
So young. 
A lover of God. 
And here. 
At my table the least of these. 

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you,
 whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
 you did for me.'

I feed him. 
I pray in my heart for the demons that fill him to be gone. 
To receive the medical help he needs. 
This young man.
Each day a struggle. 
The least of these my brethren. 
I bow to the Holy. 
These days belong to the Lord. 
His ways. 

Isaiah 55:9
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I relinquish my heartache and pain. 
I can not carry it. 
The longing too great. 
The pain crushing. 
I step into the work for today. 
Life on life. 
The gospel.
Life changing. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Letter To God

So much of my daily journey takes me back to last year. How I felt. So much I do not remember. So much is still stuck vividly in my mind. This post echoes the cry of my heart. This week I have felt weary and worn. But we are holding on. Clinging to the rock that is higher than I. 

Dear God,
     I find myself in a deep place today. My first thoughts are usually to bring praise and Glory to your name. It is the habit established for more than 20 years now. My first thoughts when my eyes flutter open are to praise you. . .no matter how I feel. Today. . .I opened my eyes and pushed through the raw grief; the weight that threatens to engulf. I look for you. It is rainy and dark out. I know this day will be a struggle. I cry for this all to not be. I am weary and worn.

         There are so many holding us up and we are so grateful for that. But some days are just going to be hard. And I look to you God. And I remember your  promises.

  Matthew 11:28-30 
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 
and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 
"For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

     So, I am laying my burdens down. I give you all my tears and sorrows because this burden is too much to carry. . .the weight is crushing. You have laid me bare with the loss of my flesh and blood. The child from my womb. Yet, I know from the beginning of creation you had numbered his days. 
Psalm 139:16 
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
 all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

    So take me LORD. Mold me into the vessel you need me to be. Smooth my rough edges. Help me to be more like you in all I do. I am tired and I am weary. My soul cries for your comfort. 

Isaiah 40:29
He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might, He increases power.

I am worn. . .Let me know the struggle ends.  . .
that you can mend a heart that's frail and torn. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Importance Of Naming; remembering 9/11

She's been playing the cello for 3 years. 
She practices willingly. . . sometimes. 

This summer she didn't want to play. 
She said she was done with the cello. 
But she has music in her soul. 
She fought the entire process. 
I knew in my mommy's heart she will long to play someday. 
So we begin the fall lessons. 
She doesn't want to go. 
She is angry. 
We talk through trusting me on this one. 
That sometimes mommy's know things. 
She agree's to trust. 
This little 9 year old. 
Stepping in faith. 
A heart that has lost her brother. 
The little girl who watched her father as the effects of radiation and Chemo wracked his body. 
Now trusts. 
She goes to her lesson. 
I watch as she plays. 
Her instructor is a gem. 
She is able to get this little fire cracker to focus and produce sounds to soothe the angels. 
She plays a scale. 
One she knows. 
Something within her being clicks. 
The words her instructor says, her presence of mind, something. 
And she shouts I get it
The music, the notes, the steps.
It all makes sense to her. 
Tears well. 
Those "Aha" moments are priceless. 
Moments when there is clarity.
She has grown. 
This little 9 year old. 
My baby. 
No longer a baby. 
She needs a bigger sized cello. 
We head downtown. 
She is so excited. 
She hugs her "Lily" good bye. 
She gathers her new cello. 
When we get home. 
The first thing she wants to do is play. 

The  next thing is to name her cello. 
She had wanted to wait until she played it to name it. 
I couldn't help but think of the name of the Lord. 
What a strong tower. 

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; 
the righteous run to it and are safe

His name is wonderful. 
He is our rock and fortress. 
What a gift. 
I pray that as Ella grows in her faith she will soon have that "clarity" of knowing Jesus as her Savior. 
Oh, what a glorious moment when you realize the grace with which your soul has been ransomed. 
How glorious knowing your sins are forgiven. . .as far as the east is from the west. 
And that one day. All will be made right. 
And so she plays her cello. 
She says it sounds like a boy. 
I am naming him "Elijah."

Isaiah 43:1
But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

As we observe this day, September 11, 2014 and the terrible losses on that day. 
May we name those that have gone before us. 
Saying the names out loud.
Seeing them in writing or hearing them is a gift for those that grieve. 
Leave a name or your story in the comments. 
May we all remember today that evil exists. 
But there is One that is much greater. 
He has conquered the grave. 
God will return. 
One day all will be made right. 
Our task is to share the love of Jesus.
Be his hands and feet. 

Remembering today the families of all those lost loved one 13 years ago today. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A re-posting of: What You Are Unprepared For

These are words I typed out in the dark of the night this day last year. 
A heart longing for direction in the midst of grief. 
A heart that still longs to hear the voice of God. 
A heart still longing for the pieces to be placed back in the fragile shattered heart. 

September 10, 2013 What You Are Unprepared For

What do you do with the book you find;
given to Elijah from Nana on the event of Clarissa's birth?
For a moment your heart skips. . .and you are brought back to that day.
You can hear the sounds.
You can hear your moms voice.
You can see your sons excitement over a present.
He loved books.
Now they both call heaven their home.
Only 7 months apart.
And the ache is deep.
I am still mourning my mom. . .
And now I grieve the loss of our son. . .

Today was a tough day.
I miss my boy.
Yet it was beautiful out.
 I went for a walk.
  I met a friend on her way home from work and she stopped.
She understood.
 She gave me a hug and went on her way.
Sometimes all we need is a hug and a word of reassurance.
My journey needs to continue.
God left me here.
He didn't call me home.
My work is not done.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I find myself drawn to Elijah's grave.
I don't know why.
He's not there. 
But it is quiet. 
 I read my bible.

I read in I Chronicles about David having the Levites returning the Ark of the Covenant.
David inquired of the LORD how it was to be done.
 I am asking the LORD, how does this grieving happen?
How do we do this?

I Chronicles 16:10, says, 
" Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles and the judgments he pronounced. 

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 4
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun: a time to be born and a tine to die. . .a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. 

I know I need to trust with all my heart.
I need to remember what God has done.
He does what He says He will do. 
I need to be open to God's healing. And I need to remain in The Ancient Word
I will continue to do these things.
"Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
( 3 beats Elijah played. . .and I long to hear)
let me be singing when the evening comes."

LORD, I want to be singing when the evening comes.
I want to see all your goodness.
And I long to serve you with  all I am.

Psalm 90:4
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, 
or like a watch in the night. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lessons Learned From The Pig Pen

Some days I just want to play all day. 
I want someone to feed me and take care of my basic needs. 
A little like the piggy, wiggies. 

 When the sun shines,  I will soak up the warmth with not a care in the world. 
When I am scared, I can crawl into a pig pile. 

I can feel the safety and security of those closest to me. 

Alas, I am not a pig. 
Though I dare say I live like one sometimes. 
My room is such a mess. 
But, I am not a pig. 
I do have responsibilities and burdens to carry; 
no matter how much I would like to play all day. 
Each day there is the tierney of the urgent. 
The pressing and the important. 
The immediate and the overdue. 
It is enough to want that pig pile each moment. 
But there is grace. 
Reaching for stability. 
Found not in ourselves. 
It is when we let go. 
When we reach for holiness, we are transformed. 
The cross our focus. 
A life.
A sacrifice.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The peace that passes all understanding is ours. 
The urgent and mundane remain. 
It is we who are transformed. 
Not our circumstances. 
We who walk in the power of the Almighty. 
Strength gained from the surrender. 
Assurance through the storm. 
Solid ground no matter how rough the way. 
Hope and strength; ours. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Here's To Mom's

Here's to moms who've lost a child. 
Whose hearts have teetered on the edge.
Whose world stopped for just a moment in time.

When the eternal met the sweet, earthly soul. 
The mom's that have shed a thousand tears. 
While piercing pain rips through their soul. 
Mom's who get up every morning. 
Put one foot in front of the other. 
Who press through the day and create a home
A home fractured and never the same. 
The mom's that stand by their child's bed.
With wracking sobs. 
Never to caress the forehead again.
The abdomen that swelled with life.
Now silenced.

The longing that sears. 
The ache; a gaping wound. 
Here's to the mom's that have bowed their knee to the ground in
 humble submission to the Savior and King of Kings. 
The same King who now holds their precious bundle. 
Here's to the moms who shed tears in private.

Who carry the ache. 
Who listen to words of "you'll heal" and "someday it won't hurt so much". 
All spoken by well meaning friends who have no idea. 
The mom's who smile and nod and ache inside.
Whose arms are empty.
Here's to the moms who go through this life always missing.
Who need an extra hug.
Who catch their breath at the what will never be's.
Here's to those moms.

Here's to the promise that will carry those moms through.
The life giving breath from a Savior on high.
The strength that will rise.
The hope of a reunion.
Pushing through the days until we meet again.
Remembering we are held. `

Jeremiah 31:3-4
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

His Song Is Different Now

The day is done. 
His birthday over.
There was no cake.
I couldn't.
But one of his friends sent me a picture of one she baked.
This mama's heart swelled with gratitude.
He is remembered. 
We tried to have a bonfire; but like last year, the rains came and the heaven's declared their majesty. 
The beat of the thunder kept cadence with the rain. 
We gathered on the front porch.

We stormed the throne of grace in prayer. 
Thanksgiving for being held. 
Strength for the future. 
Time together. 
I climbed the stairs to say good night to the crew. 
I paused in his doorway. 
I leaned into the frame.
I waited for the tears.
None came.
In some ways it's too hard to think about.
In some ways I need a break from the relentless missing.
I need to pick up this room.
I don't want to.
I want to change the course of the events of July 28, 2013.
But I can't.
My sister in law shared with me a nugget I am holding to tightly.
When we play chess.
We see one move at a time.
God sees the whole board. 
He knows all the moves.
Let God make the moves. 
As I sat on my bed I realized we hadn't sung happy birthday.
I started to sing myself.
The tears came.
I can't finish the song.
It doesn't seem right.
Happy Birthday is for the living.
For this life.
His song now, is different.
He sings, Holy, Holy is the lamb that was slain.

Revelation 5:13
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise
 and honor and glory and power, 
for ever and ever!"

Oh, what he sees.
Untold Joy.
So I stop singing.
And for just a moment.
I feel whole.
I stay in that place. 
Praising my Savior. 
Holding on to His Grace.

Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. 
Who was, and is, and is to come. 
Praise to the King of Kings. 
You are my everything.