Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Reminder That There Is So Much More To Come

Philippians 3:10
But our citizenship is in heaven. 
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was 16 when I heard the song by Petra,

"Not of This World"

We are envoys, we must tarry
With this message we must carry
There's so much to do before we leave
With so many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail
And the gates of hell will not prevail

We are strangers, we are aliens

We are not of this world

We had a singing group. 
We sang this song. 
The words penetrated my heart.

"Our mission here can never fail. 
The gates of hell will not prevail"

The lyrics played over and over in my mind. 
The seed planted.  
I longed for heaven. 
I longed to share the peace found in a life surrendered. 
My quest for more than 30 years. 
A choice to live; Separate; apart.
Digging deep through words that bring life.
Seeking joy that transcends thought.

Sharing the love of Christ. 
In all we do.
Being stewards of land provided. 
Cultivating a holy marriage, made to last. 
Raising children.
Trusting in the plentiful times and in seasons of deep want. 
It's been 15 months since I have called my boy by name. 
 Each day a longing.
A plan; not my own. 
A path that has to be walked. 
The guttural cries unearthed from deep within. 
Days have turned to months and then a year. 
Reminding myself that we are not of this world. 
There is much yet to come. 
When we hold on to hope we allow the supernatural to enter in. 
God is able to work his beautiful plan.
He holds the pain of our hearts in the palm of his hand.
I hold on to the hope given.
He gives strength to the weary.
My eyes are lifted heavenward.
My feet firmly planted.
My farmer keeps reminding me.
15 months is but a day.

The laundry is waiting.
The farmhouse is beginning to stir.

The day has begun.
I breathe deep.
This day will be about what needs to be done.
I will look for ways to share.
He will guide my steps.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We Danced The Dance Of Laughter

We danced the dance of laughter.
A strange sound echoing.

Snorts from the youngest of the bunch. 
Inability to sing grace. 
It doesn't happen often. 
But when it does it captures everyone. 
Sweeps them into a sea of giggles. 
For a time lost in sheer convulsions.
Holy laughter. 
It happened. 
 I am so grateful. 
An evening with everyone home. 
An intentional effort made, to be together. 
The deep journey of trying to live with something always not right.
But isn't that the way it really is?
Isn't there always something missing?
Weren't we created for more?

Romans 8:22-27
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

The whole of creation, waiting eagerly for Christs return.
The hope of ALL nations. 
The reminder, there is a greater purpose.
We can not always see the workings of God.
We can not understand His ways.
"We hope for that which we can not see."

We labor until that glorious day we are called heavenward.
Though the labor may be hard and tedious.
It is all beautiful.
Our peels of laughter echoing in this home is the direct connection with our living and Holy God.
It is the response to the rest we have in Him.
Our Hope that One day; all will be set right.
As our hearts ache, and we place one foot in front of the other, we look to the Father for wisdom.
We seek His face for each step.
We dig deep and search for Hope.
For joy.
For His will to be accomplished.
Grace meets us time and time again.

Won't you take a few minutes to listen to this version of
Chris Tomlin's,  I Will Rise? 
My friends,  the victory has been won.
Jesus has conquered death.
And one day we will be called home to that glorious kingdom.
And I will rise when He calls my name. 
This shows a picture for me of Elijah's soul rising to meet Christ when He called his name.

And as heart wrenching as it is, it is also filled with great hope.
Someday, I too will rise.
There will be no more sorrow, no more pain.
May you know that assurance.
Hold that gift. 
Standing on the solid ground today.

With eyes to see.
Look past the pain. 
Look toward the hope. 
Finding the strength to journey on.
Grabbing onto all that has been given.
May your soul find deep peace today in the power Christ made available for you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It Is In The Gentle Whisper. That He Speaks

He's cleaning out. . . his room. 
My farmer. 
Spending time in his son's room. 
Picking through the pieces of a life. 
I am left numb. 
Head gear for Wrestling. 
His uniform. 
Still here. 
A procrastinator; like me. 
Things we need to return. 
Dry Erase markers for his white board. 
His attempt to get organized. 
His belt.
I finger the holes.
One by one. 
I don't want this to be my walk.
The burning creeps toward  my heart. 
It feels like it is too much to ask. 
Too much to live this life without my son. 
Too great a request. 
The tears spill; trickle down my cheek. 
I can't stop them

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
 When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

I miss him. 
And no matter how hard I try. 
No matter how great our God is; the fact remains. 
It hurts. 
There is no way around the pain and the suffering. 
The walk is through the ache. 
It is in the midst of the grief that we can cry Holy, Holy. 
Holy is the Lord God Almighty. 
It is in the deep, raw places that we find rest. 

Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest

He is worthy of our praise. 
He is where I put my trust. 
He, will give us the rest.

I search through the pile my farmer has brought down.
I finger each item. 
A memory. 
That's all. 
I dread looking into his room. 
I breath deep. 
I know there is purpose. 
I cling to what I know. 
Because all else fails. 
There is nothing solid in this world but the One who spoke in a gentle whisper. 

I Kings 19:11
So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." 
And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. 
And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 
After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; 
and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it,
 he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. 

I ascend the stairs. 
I survey the room. 
It looks so good. 
Everything in it's place. 
It's a step. 
My farmer needed to spend time alone. 
Grieving is hard work. 
It is an intentional turn each day toward that which is Holy. 
To stand on ground that is firm. 
To hope in the future. 
A future held in the palm of the One who breathed life into this world. 
I can feel the gentle whisper. 
I push away all other thoughts. 
I want to listen for that whisper. 
I want to push away all other sounds and distractions. 
Push away all the lies and false messages coming through from this world. 
The gentle whisper speaks of hope and strength. 
Found only in Him.
I thank God for Elijah's life. 
The Elijah of the bible. 
The strength to step onward. 
I am thankful for the years of Wrestling and Lacrosse. 

I am grateful for hours of piano playing and drums. 

Though these remain silent; My heart sings the melodies. 
It's the part no one can take. 
There will be no more memories. 
But the gentle whisper will fill us with the strength to accomplish His will. 
Because it's all about Him. 
The cross is offensive to many, 
while bringing strength to those who believe. 

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What They Don't Tell You When You Say, "I Do"

What they don't tell you when you say, "I do."

In case you're wondering? Life isn't always a bed of roses after you're married. 
With in a year we had experienced the loss of our first child. 
We received much love and support. 
Words of encouragement and strength to journey on.
There was much hard work and little time for anything else. 
We made it work.
And then it happened. 
6 kids. 

Sleep deprivation. 
Body changes. 
Job changes. 
All take their toll. 
Date nights; gone by the wayside.
Romance; a thing of the past. 
You wake one morning to find there are no children in diapers. 
The car seats are gone. 
The house is occupied by living, breathing, opinionated, stubborn, hungry, always hungry, beings. 
Somewhere life has taken a turn and you're wondering how in the world you got here. 
Then life takes another turn.
You find yourself needing to care for ailing parents. 
The battle between your home and theirs ensues. 
Add plans for a wedding and you wonder where time has gone. 

You sit across the table from the one you said. "yes" to. 
You realize the only conversations you have is around the kids or the business. 
You attempt to go away with little success. 
Spending time together is hard. 
Then the unimaginable happens. 
You are woken in the middle of the night to find your first born son will never come home. 

He has taken his last ride. 
His home forever more is with the King of Kings. 

And the one you said, "yes" to begins a battle for his life as cancer digs in it's claws. 
All of life becomes unfamiliar. 
Your heart searches for stability. 
Together you commit to fight. 
And when 20 years rolls around it doesn't feel right. 
Nothing goes right and the surrender to grief and pain mar the celebration there should be. 
The birth of a grandchild in the middle of all the unpleasantness, a balm to our weary hearts. 

The joy of watching your step daughter and son in law move to the dance of 
 new life is grace heaped on grace. 
So when 21 rolls around.
 A new effort is made. 
The familiar has returned. The conversation rich and glorious. 
Matching the glowing colors of the landscape. 
What they don't tell you when you say I do is the beauty in staying together. 
The joy in working through the tough parts. 
The immeasurable peace in growing side by side together.  
We bow together in humble submission to the One who gave marriage as a gift. 
We ask for forgiveness. 
I vow to reign in this anxiety that threatens to permeate everything. 
We will continue to take steps. 
No matter how difficult. 
Hand in hand. 
On our knees. 
For better, for worse, for richer or poorer. 

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.

I know that "Years from now, I'll love you years from now."

Happy 21st Anniversary Gary. 
I long to do this life well. 
May all we do, point to Christ. 
May we live in grace and extend grace. 
And do much with what we have been given. 
Until death do us part. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Distracted To What

I think about my earlier post.
I am distracted so easily. 
I really am.
The Lyrics, "TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?" run through my head.
For me. . . it is "DISTRACTED TO WHAT?"
In some ways this is good.
The farming life is unpredictable and spontaneous.
I need to be flexible. . . able to change easily. 
Much of that I do not mind.

But what am I distracted from and what am I distracted to?
Our lives should be interruptible,
 so that God is able to direct our path; yet focused enough to bear fruit.

Live with intent.
With the plan that yields to the Father's will.
We piddle away time with the most trivial tasks.
We focus on vacations and time off, more than serving or giving.
I hear myself saying,
"I can't wait for the weekend."
(Which on the farm is the same as the week. But growing up with that view permeates all)
We have made steps on the farm to provide us with time off.
Yet each time we "have off" it's really not that great.
We don't know what to do with unstructured time.
We end up sleeping.
Or watching obscene amounts of television.
If our work is our worship.
And our work is in response to our gifts, then is it work at all?
Won't our free time look like our work?
Instead of watching TV we would be calling a friend we haven't seen.
Time spent in prayer for the kids and this world.
Writing encouraging notes to someone.
Our life becomes a prayer.
The phrase, I don't have enough time, is forever banished.
Because our time is directed by the father.
So when the vacation comes it is in response to rest.
A time away.

Luke 5:16
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

Even Jesus withdrew from the chaos.
From the need and urgent.
But He was interruptible. 
Not distracted. 
We can not neglect the need our souls have for quiet.
The need we have to commune with the Father on a regular basis.
We also can not ignore the fact that at times we need to withdraw.

 For the sake of regenerating.

A time of refreshing.
Where He pours in His Spirit.
To equip and encourage us.
We just need to be available. 
Not distracted.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Comfortable Quiet

The sun begins it's decline in the sky. 
The light casting shadows on the fields. 

The landscape ablaze in color. 
My favorite time of year
Zucchini cooks for lasagna. 
I have made a chocolate pie for small group. 
The kids are outside playing and it is unusually quiet. 
A  quiet that doesn't threaten. 
It feels peaceful. 
There is still chaos around in piles and clumps. 
Danger lurks when you walk. 
One must find their path through. 
Yet there is a peace that has settled. 
It wasn't there this morning. 
It wasn't there earlier this afternoon. 
Grief and longing permeated every thought. 
Visions of what once was and can be no more ran across the screen in a relentless string. 

But I sought to enter in. 
Choosing to step through the gate. 
The smell of dinner fills the home. 
The heat from cooking; a relief from the chill in the air. 
A refuge. 
A safe haven. 
I re-heat my coffee. 
Our home has been riddled with heart ache.
Filled with cancer and uncertainty. 
I have rebounded continually trying to be strong. 
Yet wanting to fall apart. 
The peace that transcends is heaven sent. 
It is on the wings of the Praises and the walk in Thanksgiving. 
It is the persistence in training. 
I place the Zucchini Lasagna in the oven to bake. 
There is still a comfortable quiet. 
These are the times when the holy touches earth. 
When we seek to be filled. 
Our Agenda set aside. 
An openness to be poured into. 
In the striving and the busy we forget. 
We lean into a false message of productivity satisfies the desire.
And we are left empty. 
It is when we choose the quiet and the surrender that the real work happens.
Push away the clamor for your time. 
Settle the churning of the tierney of the urgent. 
More will be accomplished in the quiet than in the rush of the "to do". 
I think I will sit at the feet of Jesus a little longer today. 

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Enter In

Enter in. 
Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving in your heart. 

Enter in. 
"used to indicate location or position within something"
A location. 
Enter in. 
The door is open. 
You need to walk through. 
Not when you're happy. 
Not when things are going swell. 
That's not what it says. 
Enter in.
Just as you are. 
When you're hurting. 
When life is overwhelming. 
When your weary soul aches with breathing in and out. 
Enter in. 
My heart hurts. 
The burning sensation returned. 
All the dreams and hopes; all these years. 

In a moment. 
Enter in. 
An invitation. 
Enter into His courts with Praise. 
Enter in with Thanksgiving in your heart. 
But I don't feel like it. 
Enter in. 

Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name.

The Praise comes. 
The Thanksgiving overflows. 
Enter in. 
It only takes one step. 

The glorious back light on the mountain tonight. 
The sound of the kids outside giggling and laughing.
Chicks, (Not really, but yes, really)
I have ears to hear the chicks. 
Resources to purchase and help the chicks to grow. 
My farmer. 
Lessons I am learning in the deep struggle.
Enter in. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Too Many Spoons

I put one back.

7 spoons.
It's a habit.
How do you "uncount"?
How do you break a habit.
They say it takes 30 days to create a habit.
It's been 14 months.
And setting 7 places at the table still seems natural.
I set one spoon back in the drawer.
I breath deep.
  I think of the habits I have established over the past 14 months.
My time in the Word is deep.
I search for meaning.
Help for this weary heart.
I want to know.
That it counts for something.
That the life given.
Somehow has meaning.
It's our search for significance.
We want to matter.
We need affirmation.
It comes in the form of friends.
Rides on the wings of grace.
We seek.
But it is only from above that the true sense of peace can come.
Only in the surrender.
When we reach the end of ourselves.
We do not possess the strength.
There is nothing within us to rise up. . .
We are strongest when we are weak.

2 Conrinthians
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is in our weakness that the work is done.
It is where God's strength renews and flows.
When the supernatural happens.
It can't be explained.
A promise.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

He Made Me Laugh

He made me laugh. 
That second born son. 
The one who shoulders the weight. 
The future. 
He made me laugh. 
He loves Christmas.

Always has. 
Little sleep. 
So excited. 
A bundle of joy. 
Complying with my request, for a cup of coffee, before presents, on Christmas morning;
 he will have one waiting. . . long before it is time to be awake. 
Sheer joy. 
Over presents.
Over a babe in a manger.
And at 15 that joy is still there. 
I walk into the dining room after my shower. . . and I can hear it. 
And deep down I can feel the joy. 
He has turned on the Christmas music. 
Not just any Christmas music. 
Gene Autrey. . .Brenda Lee. 
The songs stir within a plethora of emotions.

Too early you say? 
Is it? 
Is it too early to rejoice in a gift given?
To find joy amid deep pain.
To take the mundane and turn it around?
I don't think so. 
And when that man/boy plays the Christmas music.
I know deep within there is still a boy.
There is still the pure delight in the age old magic of that starlit night;
when the holy touched the earth.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;